Saturday, September 13, 2008

Gwanak-gu, Sillim-dong

I am sitting in my favorite cafe--"Caffe Good," appropriately enough--and reflecting on my first week in Seoul.

I have enjoyed my time at the public high school.  Samsung High School is a co-ed school with almost 1,000 students.  First through Third grade--equivalent to 10-12 grade in the U.S.  I will be teaching many, many 50 minute sections for all First and Second Graders.  I believe that I have something like 22 sections and 800 students.  I am busy, but I really wouldn't have it any other way.  My life has revolved around teaching and writing, and studying, since 1999.  I don't see why my time in Seoul should be any different.

My co-teachers--5 Korean, English teachers--are very accommodating.  My students are very affectionate.  I am the first foreign teacher to work at Samsung High School; I am sure this fact explains my (at times, spectacularly) warm reception. 

Because I experienced two months of consistent delays in my Visa application process, I arrived two weeks late and missed both orientation weeks that the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE) scheduled for new teachers.  Consequently, I am in Seoul with no native English-speaking acquaintances to speak of.  Though, I do have three friends in Seoul working for hagwons.  I am independent enough to handle the awkward realities involving my temporary illiteracy and more than tenacious enough to insist I get what I need from impatient cab drivers and annoyed clerks, but I do wish I had the opportunity to meet others working in public schools, if for nothing more than acquiring an instant social community within which to share my inevitable frustrations.

I am off to meet a new friend.  Only my second social engagement since arriving.  I'll be watching rugby in Itaewon with Kevin and an unknown, sarcastic Australian.  My kind of Saturday afternoon.

Koreans are celebrating Chusok this weekend.  I don't teach again until Wedensday.  I am going to explore Seoul as much as posisble.

I feel great about my choice to come to Seoul, and happy to finally get this blog going.  I will post often.  Enjoy and comment and, if in Seoul, let's meet.

1 comment:

gina said...

Excited to see the new blog and I'm glad to see you are doing well/happy with your decision to go to Korea!