August brought so many changes to Connexus and our community!
Annie and Anna both finished their years teaching and returned home to the U.S. We also welcomed three new teachers - Anna, Heather and Michael! Now we are the complete second generation (so no more goodbyes for a long time, thank goodness). I could not ask for better people to work, live, and experience Korea with!
For the first couple weeks of the month, a few of my students took off from Connexus as it was their school vacation. Now all have returned, with the addition of twin girls in my highest class - Monica and Michelle. Directly after their first class, the girls' parents wanted to have a meeting about their (very high) academic expectations of their daughters, Connexus and me. Our hagwon, or academy, has characteristics very different from the others here. Our main emphasis being conversational English, we focus on developing grammar knowledge, expanding vocabulary, growing comprehension skills and building healthy, peace-filled relationships. I was really pleased with how our conversation went, and left feeling confident of what our academy stands for (whether they will allow their daughters to remain with us or not). But this class holds a special place in my heart - four girls ages 11-13...now is such an important time in their lives and I am looking forward to how I might be used in it!
For monitoring classroom behavior, we use a basic three-stamp system. Each student begins class with three stamps and will end class with those stamps if they fulfill their expected responsibilities of turning in homework on time, speaking English only (especially for higher level students) and maintaining good behavior. Well, this week I was talking to my students in class, and lo and behold - a Korean word slipped out. Then they irrupted: "KATE TEACHER!!!!" Laughing almost hysterically, they ran to the white board, added my name under their names, gave me three stamps with the marker, then dramatically wiped one stamp away saying "Teacher spoke Korean!!!" It was kind of embarrassing, but the best bonding moment yet had with that particular class. (Should I mention the next day, it happened AGAIN? Now, they write my name and give me stamps everyday, eagerly awaiting another slip of the tongue.) hahaha
For weeks I have delayed blogging as more and more stories and experiences were piling up. Even now it is so hard to post this knowing I've left out so many important things. haha But, at least this is a step in the right direction of being a more faithful blogger...