Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Training really begins

Today we had our first real day of training and it was a doozy. We went from 9:30-3:30, but there's just so much information to process and tonight we're supposed to have about 7 hours of homework. While there are 15 of us doing training this week, we have all been split up depending on which program we're doing. There are the "April Institute" trainees who will be teaching the tiny tots, the trainees doing elementary and middle school, and then those of us doing middle and high school. I found out today that I'll be teaching the advanced group, which means that the material itself is pretty tough. (Funny side note: Koreans are obsessed with golf; there are golf stores, virtual golf places, and even golfing games in gyms everywhere. It may come as no surprise, therefore, that the class levels at Chung Dahm are split up into golf terms, so the beginners are "Par," next up is "Birdie," then "Eagle," which is the level I'll be teaching, and the highest levels are Albatross and Albatross+ which have nothing to do with golf but I suppose they couldn't exactly call them "Hole in One" and "Hole in One+").

Cool Korean Cultural Facts learned today:

1. It is customary for someone sitting (say, on the subway) to hold the belongings of someone standing. While we were taking the subway back from the training center, an elderly man sitting in one of the seats took my friend Alisa's binder from her hands and put it on his lap. We all stared incredulously wondering what the heck he was doing, but apparently he was just being polite. It's actually really sweet when you think about it.

2. You are never supposed to pour your own drink...let's say, water, because it makes you seem lonely. We've been practicing this whenever we go out and try to pour each other's....water.

So we have two more days of training and then on Friday is the big test. We have to pass two class structure tests and then do a mock lesson in front of our small classes, the trainers, and CCTV where our supervisors will be watching from behind a camera. Creepy? Yep.

After (if?) I pass on Friday, I will be told to which location I shall be headed in Seoul and then I'll go there. This is the only part of this whole deal that has worried me because many people already know where they are going, but a few of us are still unsure. None of us know exactly how we're supposed to get to our locations either, so Friday will be a nerve-wracking day.

Let's see, it's almost 6 PM, so if we start studying now we should be done by 1 AM. Ugh. Good night.

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