The first few days in Daegu

Trip Start Sep 01, 2009
Trip End Sep 22, 2010

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

I finished training! I even passed! Training was so hard. I kept thinking, "what was I thinking coming to Korea!" and I even thought death would be better than this, because I thought I was going to fail and that would be really humiliating. But luckily, I'm not suicidal so I'm still here. I've learned when things suck, it usually goes up from there or at least I tell myself. Anyways, it's over and I was in Daegu, the city I will be teaching in, before I knew it. In fact I was really confused because the instructions said that the van driver who was going to take me to the train station was going to help me get a ticket to go to daegu, but he just left me at the train station so I was really frustrated because I didn't understand how the branch manager was going to know when I would be arriving in Daegu and I wasn't expecting to have to pay for the transportation, and I didn't have a phone to call and ask someone to verify anything, so i went ahead and purchased a ticket and got on the train. A really nice girl was sitting by me. She helped me put my huge bags in the storage on top. I looked at the instructions again, still really confused. Then I found a second paper and on it was a copy of my train ticket. It was for a later train. So, then I was angry that I wasted money, but happy that I could expect the school to pick me up at the time that the ticket in the folder said I would arrive. So, I read a book and then a driver came a few hours after I got to Daegu train station. He took me to the school and I met the Branch manager and she seemed nice. The school is nice. I will have my own classroom that no one else will be using so I should be able to personalize it and the desk that is inside it. The teacher that I am taking over is here for one week which is awesome for me because I can observe her classes and maybe other teacher's classes and relax this week and start teaching next week. The bad thing is I am working Monday through Saturday. It's like 130 hours a month I think! It's a heavier load than I was expecting, but I think some of the classes are the same so I can prep once for a few classes. It just takes me a while to prep, but after this week hopefully I will have the curriculum down better.
After stopping by the school when I arrived in Daegu, the driver took me to my apartment. He drove because I had my huge suit cases, but my apartment is like around the corner from the school. It's so awesome and I'm very satisfied with it. It has a washer, TV (cable even), microwave, along with other stuff you would expect. There also were dishes already here and they guys that were assisting me went and got blankets, pillow and some other stuff for me. There's even Internet that the school is providing for me. It's not a studio apartment. It's actually a living room/kitchen that are one room with a small laundry room attached (which is like a walk-in closet) and then the bedroom with the bathroom attached. It's way nicer than I expected!! This is the first apartment I've had alone! I'm so excited!
This morning I went to observe a class of the teacher I'm taking over. The kids were more well behaved than American students, and that was her worst class. I got to meet a lot of the other American teachers during the breaks. We only have 5 minute breaks, but they seem nice. I went to lunch with Rachel, the teacher who I'm taking over the classes when she leaves, and she was telling me how crazy the manager was. She said she went through a phase where she only hired beautiful people, but then realized that they were sometimes stupid. That makes me sort of nervous because when she met me the first thing she said "You don't look like you do in your picture." Which could mean one of many things. I don't want to know. She's very fashion conscious so I have to start dressing cute or something like that, lol. I also hear she decides one thing, like if you ask her a question and she gives you an answer and changes her mind later saying she didn't understand what the person said and it's obvious she's lying. Rachel never used her vacation days and she is supposed to have 10 paid vacation days for the year and the manager is refusing to pay her for it. Rachel wanted to stay until November, but she's leaving early because of that. Also, taking off is almost impossible. Another teacher's grandma died and he asked if he could have a few days off to mourn and she said no. It's pretty crazy. I have to talk to her within the next few days about going home for my sister's wedding....we'll see how that goes because I'm pretty sure that you're supposed to avoid taking off the first three and last three weeks of the semester, which December falls in the last few weeks and if you leave the country, you have to wait 9 days after you return before you can work around children, which means to go home I would need two weeks off which would be impossible to get off. I'm only allowed to have 10 days off for the year. I'm not sure how this is going to work. I'm hoping the Swine flu thing will die down and I won't have to wait nine days after returning to start working.
Anyways, I'm going to try to put pictures of my apartment and school up on fb if you're interested! Come visit me!
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