Yesterday I observed the Storybook lessons, which are vastly more easy to teach than the Backpack lessons, because they follow the same format every time. I also was able to look more closely at the lesson plans for Storybook and see exactly what I'll be doing. I'm feeling less nervous about those classes now. Today one of the other teachers will show me how to work with the lesson plans for the Backpack series, and then I'll begin planning everything for Monday! I already have copied a bunch of things, so the main thing to accomplish today is to write a script for my first Phonics 1 class.
Because the Phonics one class is the very lowest level we have, they will not understand anything really, so it is really important to use the same phrases all the time for things like classroom commands. So if I say "open your books to page such and such" next time I shouldn't say "Let's look at page such and such." That sort of variety in language won't be something that is helpful until they are much more advanced. So, I need to script myself until I remember which phrases I've used without having to read off the paper, so that they learn those commands really well.
It's kind of like when you're learning the lines for a play; until you learn your lines perfectly and some of the other actor's lines who speak before and after you, it can be hard to do any kind of improv, because you don't know where the scene is supposed to be heading. Same basic idea.
Some exciting things are coming up too! Tomorrow I will go and visit the other teacher's apartment building for lunch, and after I'm going with them to Chuncheon, and area in Seoul where my host family goes to church. I believe we are going to do some bike riding thing, though I'm not sure exactly what it is. Basically I'm trying to seize every opportunity I have to get to know everybody better.
On June 6, there is a national holiday, so we have the day off. One of the student's mother's invited all the teachers to go have a tour of a folk village, so I will do that as well, which is something that I really wanted to do while I was here.
Last night Imo was late because she was working on mediating a reconciliation meeting between some students...it took almost 8 hours to come to a conclusion that both parties agreed to, and she finally arrived at about 10 pm. She works so hard! Anyway, because she was doing that and wasn't able to make dinner, Imobu took me to eat samgyupsal! It is basically like very thick bacon and is the best thing I've eaten here so far...oh my word so delicious. It was so fun to eat at a samgyupsal place too, since I've seen them in all the dramas I've watched. It was a little surreal.
When we came back from samgyupsal we had some watermelon, and I worked a little on some online flashcards for Korean. Yoonhyun was watching, so I decided to pull out my Korean vocab sketchbook where I had been writing words and drawing pictures to accompany them. She loved that, and turned into a little teacher, correcting all my spelling. Imobu liked it too, and said I should copy the pages if I could. I think I'll bring the book to Connexus today and see if it's all right if I do that.
I don't have as much to write today, so I'll include a little from my Language Learning Journal that I kept before I came to Korea. It's just kind of a documentation of what it was like to be learning a language and my experiences with it. Here's a little snippet from it:
"Learning Korean is different from the other language learning experiences I’ve had, mostly because of the difference in alphabet. Even when I was learning French, it didn’t feel so awfully “different” from English. They both used the roman alphabet, there were words had that similarities, words that were even the same. The grammar was different of course, but it was moving in the same direction, Subject Verb Object or sometimes Subject Object Verb.
As for Korean, the alphabet didn’t take long to learn, a few days of casual study. So, soon on I could, for the most part, slowly sound out Korean words, even if I didn’t understand them....
Reflecting on what it is like to learn a language so different from my mother tongue, I feel like it is the closest I am going to get to learning language in general for the first time again. The alphabet, the sounds, the grammar, all of them were unfamiliar, new. After studying a year, these things are not quite so foreign anymore. Sometimes I feel like a baby, frustrated with how familiar things sound yet I can’t make out the meaning; feeling stifled when I sit down to write a journal entry in Korean because I don’t know the words I want and naver.com feels like an unwanted training wheel. But then I watch a drama and realize that though I looked away from the screen for a moment and missed the subtitles, I understood everything the character just said. Perhaps the next sentence is completely unintelligible, but that brief moment spurs me on."