Thursday, October 28: I teach at Byeokjin Elementary School in Seongju two days a week, on Wednesdays and Thursdays. I love teaching at Byeokjin more than at my other school, Chojeon Elementary School, because a number of the Korean teachers here speak excellent English; two of them end up becoming close friends. I enjoy a heated and air-conditioned classroom, which I don’t have at Chojeon. I am generally left alone to do my lesson planning and I genuinely like most of the teachers here, except for Mr. O.
I teach grades 1, 2, 5 & 6, something I have never done in my life. My earlier teaching experiences were with high school students in the United States.
Seongju County (Seongju-gun) is a county in North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea. This largely agricultural area is located immediately west of Daegu (Wikipedia: Seongju County).
Here are a few pictures of the drive through Seongju, Gyeongsangbukdo, which is the main region for growing the chamoe melon; in this area, 70% of the production is harvested. The estimated annual production of Seongju chamoe melon is 134,500 tons worth KRW 350 billion in sales (USD$ 296,595,034). The chamoe melon has been growing in Seongju province, where there is favorable weather and rich and fruitful soil, for almost 50 years. (Fresh Plaza: Korean chamoe melon attracts more Japanese consumers)
Almost every piece of flat land in Seongju is covered in vinyl greenhouses for growing the chamoe melon.
Byeokjin is a very small town in the rural county and the school is typical of most Korean elementary schools. This school only has about 60 students in total.
The boy students are quite lively and goofy; they love to dance and play football and all kinds of sports.
I teach Kim Dong Hee’s first grade class once a week. She has assigned them all animal names, which I think is quite adorable (see doggies and zebras and sharks, oh my!).
Mr. O has only seven second graders. I teach them once a week as well.
The third and fourth grade classes are taught by Julie Moon, an excellent Korean English teacher.
Here is my 5th grade class. The teacher, Young, is such a tiny Korean young woman, she almost looks like a student herself.
My 6th grade class is quite smart and lively. Overall, my students at Byeokjin Elementary have a higher level of English-speaking ability than my Chojeon students.
My days at Byeokjin are quite enjoyable and a lot less stressful overall than my days at Chojeon. Chojeon is a larger school, with maybe 150 students. In addition, my commute from Daegu to Byeokjin is shorter (only 1 1/2 hours each way), whereas on the nights coming home from Chojeon, I have a 2 hour commute because of cumbersome and poorly-coordinated bus schedules.