Lest anyone think the 10 minutes of freedom the students enjoy between classes constitutes a bad thing, consider the things a teacher can do during that time:
Make copies / Prepare extra copies
Go to the bathroom without having to sprint there and back
Look out the window and stare at the mountains
Make a cup of coffee / Get another Mocha Gold fix
Update the lesson plan
Escape the chaos and hide in the sanctity of the back office
Hold surprise meetings with other teachers
Ambush students in the hallway
Sometimes I’ll wander around during passing time and start talking to different students about stuff. It’s like a pop quiz; they never see it coming and I can spot-check their English. Most of the time it’s standard stuff like “How’s it going,” but sometimes it’s stuff about math or the weather. I figure this is an easy way to catch them off-guard and in a spot where the pressure to speak perfectly (ie, the classroom) doesn’t exist. It works well. The added bonus of randomly talking to students is that other teachers hear them talking and thus know that something’s indeed happening in my classes. It’s a small thing, but it gets noticed.
The 10 minutes between classes beats the 6 I had in Milwaukee and certainly crushes the 4-5 I had as a student. While US teachers barely have time to walk out of the classroom before the next wave of students rushes in, teachers in Korea enjoy some time to actually do something instead of count the seconds until class begins.
10 minutes of freedom – Office edition
This is when the office goes from near-quiet to rush-hour crazy with phone calls and a seeming revolving door of students coming and going for various things. Some get scoldings some get accolades, and some have burning questions. This also marks the time when teachers hold their impromptu conferences with other teachers about whatever mission-critical issue arose in the past 45 minutes. At times like these I do one of two things: crank up the music in the headphones and plow on with work; or extricate myself from the fracas by strolling outside. Going outside’s growing in attractiveness thanks to the rising Spring temperatures and abundant sunlight that’s been happening lately.