This is our last weekend in Seoul. In nine days, I would board a plane at Incheon airport to take me back home. Two months sounds like quite a long time, but in the blink of an eye, there’s only a week or so left to my journey in Korea.
This week at Woorideul School, we taught on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. By this time, we now have a strong grasp of our student’s English proficiency and have catered our lesson plans to their abilities. I’ve realized that my reading group has the lowest English level of all students, which gave me quite the struggle in preparing materials. As the initial readings stunned them with difficulty, I was forced to change the lessons entirely to learning pronunciation. I taught them how to pronounce simple three letter words, as well as English-specific sounds such as “th” in “three” and “br” in “brain”. By the end of the week, I gave them a little quiz to test what they learned. To my surprise, one of my student was able to pronounce complex words such as “thalamus”. Although he had no idea what it meant, the fact that he was able to read it meant I’ve accomplished the goal I set for this week.
In the classrooms, we’ve shifted more to game-based teaching this week. We introduced a variety of games, but a game of “guess the price” especially caught their interest. During the week, one of our topics was money. We introduced to them how to read numbers and the American money system. After having a few practice rounds of how to use words such as “hundred”, “thousand”, “million”, “dollars and cents” and “quarters” etc., we played a game where Brock would look up items to purchase online. We grouped the students into four teams and each team had to guess the price of the item in English. The team with the closest guess would receive a point. The items ranged from diamond rings to motorcycles to garden statues to a loaf of bread. There were lots of laughter in the classroom and even the sleepy students took interest in the game. Back in Jiguchon school, playing games with the children was the easiest way to get them engaged. However, it’s quite a different story when you have students the same age as you or even older than you. Therefore, I was really glad that we were able to find a fun activity to engage the classroom while using English at the same time.
Next week will be my last week teaching at Woorideul School. It will also conclude my DukeEngage South Korea journey. It hasn’t quite hit me yet that I will soon say goodbye to this city. At this point, two months away from home means a lot of fatigue and homesickness, which does make teaching harder, but all we have to do is push through. We’re almost there.