Today I woke up around 6:30am in plenty of time to get ready and figure out how to get to my school. I got to the bus stop a little early and ran into Ivan, Angela, and Jared from orientation. I easily boarded my bus (918!), and began my journey to school. It was painless, and I got there in about a half hour. I went to the “English office” where my desk and computer are, but it was locked. I was there a little early, so I just stood outside the door and watched the students all running down the halls. They were so cute with their “Hello!” and “Hi!” and fits of giggles. One of the teachers in the hallway asked me who I was so I told him I was the new English teacher. He showed me into the teacher room next door and made me some tea. Confession, I really hate tea and coffee, but people keep giving it to me at school and I don’t want to be rude or make a bad impression so I just drink it trying not to gag. I wish I could just like it! Maybe if it is forced on me enough I will start to like it.
A few minutes later, I went back to the office and it was open. I wasn’t sure what to do so I just sat there until my main CT arrived. She was surprised I got there so early. I like to be on time! So I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be doing. I asked her if I could prepare anything for the classes and she just pointed at my computer and said “Free time!” Okay, so this is the “deskwarming” I’ve heard SO much about. Then, around 9:30 she said “Come with me!” and she takes me to a room called “Studio” which was a visual media room. I was told I was going to give a speech about myself. Soon, the principal and vice principal and about 15 other teachers came in to the room. When the video announcements started, each teacher was introduced and one by one we all went in front of the camera and bowed. That part was fine, but then they told me to stay after and make my speech. Ah! Another guy went first, and then it was my turn. I said a few sentences about myself and then started to walk off and then behind me I could hear the vice principal saying “Bow! Bow!” So I very awkwardly bowed then ran away back to the office. Yikes!
The rest of the morning I spent on facebook, emailing, paying bills, etc. Then around 12:30 my CT said it was time to go to lunch. I followed her to the cafeteria and just copied everything she did. We sat at a table full of teachers. They served soup, rice, kimchi, bulgogi, potatoes, and some green sprouts or something. It wasn’t too bad and the principal even complimented me on my chop stick skills (they really are getting better!). The best part was all the kids in the cafeteria pointing at me, waving, saying “hello!” and giggling. They were so cute.
Then it was back to the office for another few hours of deskwarming. I did meet my other 2 co-teachers today and they can’t really speak English either. Toward the end of the day my main CT asked me to speak English and ask questions to the other teachers in the office, so of course I obliged. Two of them have children in the US, in Alabama and San Francisco. At 4:30 I packed my stuff and headed for the bus. Most of the students were gone, but the few lingering ones on the street all said “Hello!” with big smiles and sometimes bows. I can’t wait to meet the classes next week. I talked my main CT into letting me make a powerpoint, or bring pictures to tell about myself so I’m excited about that!