Day 31, 32, 33: New Teacher


As I sat down to write, I thought: nothing much has happened, but actually a lot has happened.

First off, I've now had two days with my new teacher, which had been interesting, but I will get to that in a bit, first let me tell you about what else has been happening.

We've been out shopping in Dongdaemun, and I actually bought three soft sweaters. But that's without much consequence. Well there is a direct consequence, which means that I'm not quite as pressed to wash clothes... Moving on to more exciting news though...

Some of you may remember me mentioning that my roommate wants a tattoo and that she has a tattooer that she had been following for a while and whose style she really likes. Well there has been some development on that front. Yesterday, we contacted the tattoo artist and he took on the job. We're meeting him tomorrow at his studio to hand him the reservation fee and then we will grab a date for her to have it done.

This all happened during class. We had prepared the first few messages the day before, so in the morning as we went to class my roommate sent them off to him. During the first break, she bursts into my classroom and waves me out.

There was a reply for him.

My roommate is level 1 so I handled the conversation and it was a good test of my korean skills. I know I made a few mistakes, but that's okay, the conversation went smoothly anyways and we got the right information passed on.

I admit that this guy's style is really cool so it will be really interesting to see what design he comes up from what we talked about, but first we're meeting him tomorrow and that will be an interesting experience too. We're both pretty nervous, but now is the time.

I will be there with my roommate from the beginning to the end, both for moral support, but also to translate and make sure everyone is being understood and everyone is happy, so I feel like a lot rests on my shoulders in this situation, but it'll be interesting. And, it's an excuse that will get us to Suwon at least twice more, and I absolutely loved our first trip to Suwon.

Okay, back to the new teacher situation.

You may have heard me rave about the teacher in charge of my class a few time, because he is very fun and makes classes fly by with fun and games, so having to accept a new teacher coming in twice a week instead of him took some convincing.

Normally here at Ewha we have two teachers. One teacher who teaches on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and another teacher who teaches on Tuesdays and Thursdays. However for some reason during our first few weeks we only had one teacher and was waiting for our second teacher.

Tuesday was our first day with this teacher, and today was our second day.

While the material they teach is the same, teaching styles vary huge amounts from teacher to teacher. I'm thankful that both my original teacher and my new teacher are passionate about their jobs though. You can feel the passion that they carry for their profession and they both seem really happy in their job.

As a student however there are other things that count too.

I now have one male teacher, who is the teacher I have had here since day one, and a female teacher, who is my new teacher on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I shall call them Mr. Teacher and Miss Teacher from now on. Just because I can.

I must admit that the first lesson with Miss Teacher was difficult because I was so used to Mr. Teacher's way of doing things that it seemed strange. On our first day with Miss Teacher, we had to do a debate and presentation. This is something that we have to do once a week.

On my level we get through one chapter in our main learning book in about four days. It usually goes like this:

Day 1: Two new grammar rules (corresponds to two pages in the book)

Homework: Catching up on last week's homework.

Day 2: One new grammar rule + One conversation practiced and to be performed in front of the class (corresponds to four pages in the book). Also reading and writing exercises in another book (about 2-4 pages in that).

Homework: writing down the conversation created with a classmate in class (1-2 pages)

Day 3: One listening exercise + One debate + Transforming the debate time into a presentation for the class (corresponds to three pages in the book)

Homework: Writing a text (1-2 pages) about the day's debate results

Day 4: One reading exercise + One essay writing talk and preparation session + Learning three new expressions (corresponds to six pages in the book)

Homework: Writing an Essay (2-4 pages) + Learning the 40 new words learnt during the week for a test the following morning + Finish a chapter in the workbook (about ten pages)

This means that by the time we reach day three with the debate, we're trying to get ahead on homework for Day 4 where we get hit with the big hammer that our teacher calls: "being rich in homework".

The debate can be a little nerve wrecking. We get split up into smaller teams of three to four people and have to discuss among ourselves and prepare for a class presentation.

Picking teams, for me, is usually a big part of this day. Mr. Teacher has a magic blue pouch with jenga blocks inside it with numbers on them. He goes around the classroom holding this magic blue pouch and asks us to pick a block. He always says: "좋은 친구" (good friend) to make us wish to meet a good classmate in this game of luck that divides us into teams.

I don't know why, but on Tuesday, when Miss Teacher was handling the debate class I found myself utterly disappointed that I wouldn't get to play the game of luck, as she assigned us into teams instead of leaving it up to luck. It's not that I was unhappy with my team, I like all of my classmates a lot and I was in a team with two very sweet people. I was just disappointed that the magic blue pouch was gone.

Miss Teacher also uses the tv and computer a lot more actively than Mr. Teacher. She will write notes on the computer (which is displayed on the TV screen), and will correct answers to questions in the book this way too. Mr. Teacher uses the white board instead.

The lack of the blue magic pouch was a huge minus point for me as a student. But today, I warmed up to the new teacher. She joked a few times. Not in the way that Mr. Teacher does, but in her own style, and that was cool and fun, and after about two hours of lessons, I looked down at my book and saw that it was full of notes that I had taken, even though the grammar that we learnt today was simple. It made me realise that she is a great teacher too, even if her style is very different from Mr. Teacher.

I have now come to the realisation that on learning days 2 and 3 I like Mr. Teacher best (because that's when the magic blue pouch comes out) but on day 1 of learning I definitely like Miss Teacher a lot too. I wonder what the essay writing classes will be like with her, but I guess I will find out soon.

I have to confess. I am meant to write an essay for monday, but this essay is pretty difficult so I'm procrastinating by writing here instead... I have done the base work, but for once I worry that the essay won't be quite long enough, or that it won't be complicated enough (I usually worry that it'll be too complicated or long, so this is a first for me). I think it'll take me longer than usual and I'm worried if I'll be able to memorise it for the mid-terms which are coming up in two weeks.

I don't have classes tomorrow. All of those of higher level are attending a speaking contest that takes place once a year at our language school. There will also be a talent show where students perform singing and dancing, and two students from our class are doing that, so it will be really interesting and fun to watch.

Okay, okay, Essay, I hear you calling me...

#Seoul #SouthKorea #Ewha

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Thilde Kold Holdt

I am a novelist by profession, currently working an epic fantasy series about 7th century Korea. My epic fantasy trilogy about Vikings, the Hanged God, is currently being published. I have lived

enough different places that the most difficult question to answer is: "where are you from?" I am, quite simply, from the planet Earth, for I have yet to set foot on Mars. Someday, though...

© Thilde Kold Holdt