I'm tired. I'm stressed. And I'm insanely lucky.
I've been go-go-going the last two weeks (hence the infrequency of blog posts) because I started teaching Korean English teachers at a training facility on Palgong Mountain. Though the teaching part is not too demanding (4-5 50 minute classes each day), two factors have this workshop severely impairing my ability to get a decent night's sleep.
First, it's about an hour and a half to two hour bus ride away from my house. So I'm averaging about 3.5 hours commuting time. It is difficult to sleep on buses (it usually just makes me more tired). I'm lucky that I can read most of the time, so I've also finished all four books in the Twilight series now (it definitely got better as it went on. The last book was actually quite well done--thanks, Sarah!). This is very draining, so until last night I hadn't recovered the energy to go to taekwondo. However, the center is beautifully situated with gorgeous mountain scenery out every window. I will bring my camera next week.
The second part is a hell of my own making. We were allowed to choose what topic we wanted to teach (there are six native teachers and the students rotate through each of our workshops so that we see each set of 9 students 6 times each). Of course I picked writing. I love writing, and I love teaching writing. However, the aspect of teaching writing I do not always enjoy is the volume of student writing you have to read and thoughtfully respond to. This was my main cause of stress as a teacher back in the U.S. I actually really enjoy reading and responding to student writing, it's just stressful when you have a time deadline and lots of students (here 54; in America I usually had 150-170). To understate it, this grading has been time-consuming.
I have tried doing some grading on the bus (you know, kill two birds with one stone), but it's difficult. Writing more quickly makes me nauseous than reading, so I have to move at a snail's pace. And I can get easily distracted. And it makes riding the bus an even more energy-draining experience.
All this aside, having now adjusted to the stress of it (of course with just two days next week remaining in the workshop), I'm really enjoying it. Most of the teachers are young and enthusiastic. Their level of English is generally very high. They are excited to try writing because it is the most-neglected area of English study in Korea (many English majors never had to write more than a handful of essays in English during university). Some of them are exceptionally thoughtful, creative, and intelligent. It is a pleasure to teach this kind of student. They are also very grateful for my comments (unlike kids in the U.S. and their parents). It's exactly what teaching should be.
I hope to do it again next year!