That's right, I'm here for a third year. The contract arrived in the mail today and I signed it as soon as my co-teacher got it out of the envelope. Yes, I was jumping up and down for it. Signing it was even more exciting than last year because after an entire year on the Korean school calendar (March-July and August-December, basically) I now know of what's in store for next year. This past semester has not been perfect, but it's been the best one yet. Every semester gets better than the one before it. The role play and cultural lessons have paid dividends, so I'm going to continue with them. I'll also include some reworked writing lessons from last year as well. Staying a third year does come with some strings, for Gangwon EPIK's vacation days are being reduced from 35 to 18* and I will have to do a night class once or twice a week. Both of things are fine, for they're balanced out by a raise, a bonus, a week of extra vacation time, and the satisfaction that comes from teaching in Cheorwon.
To finish up this quick post, I'm reminded of something I read in a book about doing business in Korea. I'd read it when I was applying to teach here in summer 2011. An American businessman was talking about the difficulties in culture and said something like, "It took me a year to find my way around, a second year to learn names, and a third year to get anything done." The quote's stuck because it's come true in many ways:
- Year 1 was learning to read and write in Korean, adjusting to Korean culture, and finding my footing with teaching English to Koreans.
- By Year 2 the culture shock was long gone and I was expanding the Korean knowledge and applying the lessons learned in and out of school from Year 1.
- Year 3 will be spent on bringing more conversation and cultural activities to the students. It will also include more travels around the country. (I'm going on a quick train and bus trip next week, too)
* This is to bring Gangwon EPIK in line with the other provinces. Gangwon has had more vacation days than the other provinces, so the move makes logical sense. I will miss those extra days, though!
** For any Korean teachers who come across this blog and would like help with understanding some of my phrasing or figures of speech, feel free to email me.
And now, sleep...