Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Sad Day....

Today was the first day of a new schedule at SLP. Older students moved to later times, small classes combined with others and my schedule has completely changed. I lost my big beautiful 2 hour break on Tues/Thurs, but I did get one... 40 min. break on Mon/Wed/Fri. It's a rather bittersweet day, because I'm getting some new classes and loosing some. I lost 4 classes, but two of them I didn't particularly care for, they were my two least favorite classes.

I did loose my favorite class though too. They were a class of five 4th grade boys who had been at our hagwon since they were in preschool. These boys were totally troublemakers. But they were so darn smart and crazy I couldn't help but like them. I would bribe them to be good by buying them ddukbokki or sundaegochi or kimbab at the food stall in the lemon mart downstairs. Never thought I would spend my money on my kids, but I liked them so much I didn't even mind.

During the last month, three of the 5 boys dropped, and I was left with the two smartest. With the reorganization of classes, there is no way to justify teaching a class for only two students, so they were combined into our most advanced class... a class with a bunch of 1st and 2nd year middle school students (7th and 8th grade US). I'm a little sad for them, because they probably won't fit in in that class. Their speaking and vocabulary will be much too advanced for the other students. Not to mention they're going to loose that incredible classroom dynamic that they had as 5 boys who had been together for 5 years. I doubt they'll last much longer at SLP.

Kids seem to be leaving in droves. My supervisor said it's probably the economy.. and that might have something to do with it, though most kids that tell me they are dropping, usually tell me that it's because they are going to a different... better hagwon. On the 4th floor of our building (one floor up) there is a huge hagwon that not only has English classes, but also math and science too. It caters more to the older students. Our school is good for preschool, and it has a decent program for elementary school age students, but as far as older classes are concerned, our classes are not the best quality. Olympiad upstairs can offer the older students much more I suspect. Not only that, but a new hagwon is opening around the corner from us, and we may loose a lot of students to that school, since they advertise that they have only foreign teachers. Sounds like a terrible idea to me, but that's just me.

And, just to show that the economy is even affecting the job market here too for English teachers, at the end of this month, 5 of our foreign teachers' contacts end. Only 4 teachers will come and replace them, because there just aren't as many classes as there used to be.

One plus side of my sad day of class changes though, was one of my third grade students came back after being away for two months. He is pretty annoying and totally the class clown... but he makes me laugh. I missed him a lot.

Now I have to look forward to Thursday's class changes. No more breaks during the day. I'm picking up 4 completely new classes, and another class with 3 new students added. I forgot how hard it is to learn students' names.....

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