This is all about my EPIK teaching adventures in Korea!
After about 6 months of tireless paperwork, hundred-dollar packages to Korea and the anxiety waiting for a placement, we are actually here in Korea and finally settled in. We arrived at the Seoul Airport on February 20th after 3 sweltering vacation days in Thailand. It was a long walk to the very end of the airport terminal and we saw 10-15 other EPIK-ers sitting with their luggage waiting to register with the staff at the counter. As time went on, more and more teachers piled in.
We all hopped on a bus down to the Resource Training Center in Daejeon. Daejeon isn’t the most scenic city. Although the drive there was pretty cool. Mountains on both sides of the road, the random river and a lot of fields. We stayed at the Training Center for a week, taking classes about lesson planning, classroom management, Korean lessons and more importantly… Taekwando! This is also where we were introduced to the Korean idea of saving energy. Their schools do not have the luxuries of heat. Well, they do… they just don’t turn it on. In addition to that, windows are always open. Why these buildings even have a roof, I’m not sure, because it’s even colder inside these buildings than outside. I later asked my Korean Co-teacher why they did this and her response was, “Korean people like fresh air”. How they can handle the cold better than this Canadian, I have no clue.
At the end of our training, we were all required to perform a lesson demonstration in front of our class. In the end, I’m just glad it didn’t result in me passing out. Pheww!
On our first day of orientation we actually had an amazing taekwando performance… flips, breaking wooden boards, flips while breaking wooden boards! It was wildly amusing, and instantly I wanted to take up Taekwondo. One of the last days of orientation, Scott and my class participated in a Taekwondo class. We did an hour of stretches and partner stretches (which were the weirdest but most satisfying stretches I’ve ever done). Then we practiced punches, kicks and demonstrating our ninja skills on one of the instructors. Lastly, everyonewas shown how to break a wood board in half… YES! This is exactly what I signed up for! We wound up, 1, 2, 3 and WHAM! I have a wooden freaking board chopped in half by my own hand. I never knew that was on my bucket list, but it now is, and now I can say I’ve done it.
We stayed in dorm rooms, which consisted of two single beds, two desks and a bathroom. Thisbathroom however is no ordinary bathroom. Yes, there was a toilet. And yes there was a shower. The sink was on the outside of the bathroom in a little cubby. Inside the bathroom there is a small drain on the floor and a shower nozzle attached to the wall. Thats right, the bathroom IS the shower. There are pros and cons to this. Pro- you have infinite room to dance in the shower all you want. Con- If you’d like to pee without getting a wet bum, that just wont happen. Pro- No more falling over trying to shave in a tiny limited tub space. Con- any hanging T.P from the dispenser is just not the same after getting soggy. Another con- the trash bin is in the bathroom as well, and accumulates a lot of water. I left that for the cleaning crew when weleft. Problem solved.
I challenge you to guess which side of the dorm room was mine…