Monday, October 12, 2009

Training Week and Quarantine!

Sept. 21st through the 25th

This is the week that we start our training to become English teachers! This is like Finals week all over again...learning a lot of information, cramming for tests, and doing presentations. I thought that I was finally done with all of that, but I guess not!!

MISSION: To pass tests and presentations throughout the week to become an English teacher so that I can stay in Korea.

The two areas that I trained in were Reading and Listening. Both of these classes were aimed for the Par or Bridge level students.

Levels of Chung Dahm Institute:
April English (for the beginners, Kinder-3rd)
English Chip (1,2,3,4) (Meet 2x's a week for 3 hrs. a day)
Memory (Mega, Giga, & Tera) (Meet 2x's a week for 3 hrs. a day)
Bridge (Meet 1x a week for 3 hrs. a day)
Reading and/or Listening (Par, Birdie, Eagle, Albatross, Alba +) (Meet 1x a week for 3 hrs. a day)

They gave us a specific set of Methodology for how they wanted us to present the material and teach our classes. They also gave us class structures of what all needs to be covered with in a specific time limit, and they broke it down into class periods for us as well. Each class is three hours long, but there is always a 5 min. break at the end of each hour.

Presentations: for the first half of the week our instructor would give us an example mock of a small section of something that we would actually have to present in our soon to be classes. Then he would ask us to come up to the front and mock the lesson in front of the other trainers. After our mock we would get feedback to help fix problems or just to help us in front of a real class of students. Our final presentations were to mock one of the larger sections of the lesson, utilizing all of the information and feedback. We also had to work on bringing energy into the classroom and how to deal with certain kinds of students.
Throughout the week we were also in quarantine. We still had to wear our masks not only while we were testing and studying, but we were also required to wear our masks while we presented! These masks were not fun! It was really hard to breath in them, and when I was nervous this became an even bigger problem for me! haha, When I get nervous, I tend to need more oxygen and I almost felt like I was hyperventilating each time I was required to present. With the mask over your face and nose, it almost gives you a feeling of breathing into a paper bag...not pleasant!
We would leave the hotel at 8:30AM each morning. Our training started at 9:00, where I was in Reading Par-level with my instructor Tah-Wei. Then we would generally get a break at about 1PM for lunch. After lunch I would change trainers and go to Listening Par-level with Kenny. We would be finished with training by 5PM. Then we would take the Subway back to the hotel....This whole week really made it feel like I was going to school all over again! A lot of new information, homework every night, late nights studying with early mornings to go back to school, then of course all of the tests and presentations....BLAHHHHH!!!

By Thursday I had already passed my Listening class so I no longer had to prep for it. So, I focused every thing on studying for my reading class...

On Friday Evening I was informed that I passed my tests and passed training!

Then I signed my OFFICIAL CONTRACT with CDI and was rushed out the door to the taxi with Nicole, and Austin (b/c we were all going to the same place) We made it to the train station just in time for Austin to catch his train to Daegu and then Nicole and I man handled our suitcases up to the train station second floor then attempted to send them down the escalator to get to our train.....ALL along, there was an elevator about 30 meters from where we were standing! lol! But it was pretty funny watching us try to get all of that luggage down there by ourselves....and using the escalator none the less!!! lol! But we finally made it to the train and thankfully it was a pretty short trip by the KTX train....then we once again manhandled our stuff out of the train, but this time we saw the elevator! lol! We were greated by a very sweet Korean woman named Erica. She failed to mention to us that she was our boss's wife!!!!! lol! at least we didn't make fools of ourselves!!! When we got to the school we got introduced to all of the teachers and then they took us to the apartments to drop off our stuff. I like the apartment. It works wonderfully for me, and it has plenty of space for me! It has a washing machine and fridge, and a small bed inside, and the school says that they will get me a microwave. However, I will miss not having an oven.....and.....a SHOWER!!!!! lol! My shower is actually just a hose connected to my sink with a shower head on the end! lol! and my bathroom is a 3ft by 3ft box!!! lol! it looks like when I get washed, so will the rest of the room!!! Haha! OY! Then after I dropped off my stuff our Head Instructor (H.I.), Melissa Taylor, walked Nicole and I back up to a place near the school where they bought us dinner, it was Galbi (Korean BBQ). They were all very kind and I had fun getting to know them. Then on Sat. and Sunday they let us rest and relax before we start work on Monday!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

My First Weekend in Korea

New Foods:

New Woman's toilets????

Different means of Public Transportation:

Sept. 18th

Orientation is today but we don't need to meet with our trainer until 4:30. So, we are going to go down to the market...I don't know what the name of the market is but this should be a big one!

On the way to the market I tried out the Subway system with the group. Poor Nicole's card decided that it didn't want to work, so she jumped the little gate! lol. Then, when we were getting onto one of our first lines the doors closed on her (I don't think that the subway liked her today). None of us can read Korean and there are about 30 or more subway lines that run through Seoul...we spent a good portion of our time just trying to figure out if this line would take us to the next and then from the next to the was soooooooo confusing! Nothing like the subway systems that I have used before! But thankfully a Korean couple who spoke some english approached our group and helped us find the right transfer line to go to and we finally made it to the market. The market was enormous! I have to say that it was the biggest that I have EVER seen! Immediately as we walked out of the subway tunnel we were surrounded by booths on all sides of the street....This market was so large that they actually had a map to show us where different sections were...such as clothing, luggage/purses, make-up, food, meat mkt, fish mkt....etc....SOOOO BIG!!!! And everything was just crammed inside these little shops that were all crammed together...It was a sensory overload! We walked around for several hours then decided to get some lunch before we left. We wound up going to one of the little food places in the market. This place was a good choice too! It was just noodles, but it was a huge bowl of noodles, all of the traditional Korean side dishes and it was all really good/a lot of food! PLUS, it was only 4,000 won (>$4). I'm up for that any day!

We made it back to the hotel in time to go change and catch the shuttle to Chungdahm Headquarters for Orientation. At Orientation we ran into Nate from the medical center. We all went up to the 4th floor and waited for the trainers to come in. Kenny was our trainer, he had actually just finished training another group about 2 mins before he walked through the door. When he walked in we found out that Nate was not with our group, they were separating him...he actually wasn't supposed to of even spoken to us because of the Swine Influenza incident. lol...whoops.
What was the Swine Influenza incident? Apparently back in May or April a girl had
come to CDI Training sick with S. I. When she arrived she was sick, but it wasn't bad yet, then when she kept getting worse they sent her to be checked. However she did not know that it was S. I. until the Saturday AFTER TRAINING because the results took so long to get back. During this time they didn't split up the training groups, she was training with ~ 60 other teachers. WELL, by Saturday after training, everyone had already split up to go to the different sections of Korea to teach. Results: they had to call everyone who trained back to Seoul and test everyone and quarantine everyone. 20 others that the girl trained with had contracted S.I. and some infected some of the other people at the new schools....Overall result: Chungdahm closed its doors throughout all of Korea for two weeks. This cost the school close to $2 million.
But since that incident they are taking extra precautions by splitting us up into smaller groups and also having us wear face masks when we're at the Institute. So, this will be an interesting week...we all look really awesome in our cool masks!!! hahaha! At least I am starting out the week on a pretty good start, we had to take our first tests at the orientation...Culture, Policies, Grammar, and Reading. I aced the Policies test, passed the grammar and reading tests, but I failed the culture on Monday.
After we left the training center we thought that we should treat ourselves to some sushi. The was a sushi place right around the corner from the hotel...It was pretty tasty, and the waitors and the manager were really nice. At the end of our meal the manager gave the whole table of us a plate full of california rolls for free! I'm soo thankful for people that are willing to stop and help lost people and people that are very giving!

Sept. 19th

Did you know that Dunkin Donuts makes a garlic glazed donut, a kimchi filled donut, or an olive donut??? I didn't either. lol.

Today we went to the opposite end of town to the electronics market....We were on a mission to find alarm clocks and converters....The electronics market was all inside of buildings that were close to eachother, each building had about 5 different floors all filled with electronics of some sort...could we find what we were looking for? NO, :-( Also, everything was soooo expensive in there....I thought that I would possibly buy a new laptop while I was here, but they were more than the ones in the states! I was surprised!!! Maybe when I take a visit to Japan I can find cheaper ones there!?! One thing that I did find at the market was a straightening iron. it was originally 49,000 won...but I haggled it down to 20,000 won....I'm good! lol. After we left there, we ate at a place called Lotteria (we were looking for something just quick and cheap, well we got it, and it was gross! don't go there! lol)