And here are the pictures of our school! I am going to take some pictures of the hallways in our building going in to the school because it is nothing that you would expect. We share the second floor with three restaurants, a nail salon, veterinarian clinic, golf shop, and a bar. Walking down the hallway there are neon lights and open shop doors everywhere.
It was our co-worker Lainy's birthday last week. Everyone chipped in 2,000 won (about $1.75) and we got her a fabulous cake, sushi, pears, apples, orange juice, and diet Pepsi. The cake was amazing - it had whipped frosting, and loads of fresh fruits on the top. The fruit consisted of kiwis, apples, grapes, strawberries, oranges, and melon. After surprising her and singing Happy Birthday, we sat down to eat - with nothing but chopsticks!
In this picture is Gina, Tony, and Sunny. Three Korean teachers. I share most of my classes with Gina (weird, I know) and Tony comes in to most of Andrew and my classes to assist. He is our translating tool when the kids just can't get it. He also helps lay down the law when they are being rowdy.
This is the teacher's room. My desk is the second from the right.
That's Lainy by her desk. Andrew's desk is the one with the orange jacket on the back.
That wall there was not there when we first started. They put it up to block the sink and refrigerator from the surveillance cameras. Apparently it is rude to have your sink in sight of guests (aka: parents).
This is one of the two hallways. The glass room on the right is the meeting room. Parents and teachers meet in there.
This is looking the other way from the same spot. That is the front desk. The office that is in the middle near that orange strip is the office of what we would probably call the principle. The glass room on the left is part of the meeting room, and the computer lab.
The door on the left is the Teacher's room door. The door on the right is the Auditorium.
These pictures are the epitome of our logo and branding. Our school basically has a magical imaginary fantasy land with different characters. They are branded throughout the school. They are on the website, papers, book reports, banners, signs, worksheets, stickers, backpacks, etc. Our logo is the boy's hat. It is a Columbus hat (one of our class names is Columbus). The boy's name is Lang. The unicorn in the corner's name is Con. I think the little rabbit thing in the left corner's name is Cong. And i believe the girl's name is Ssang. (Kind of counterproductive on the English if you ask me).
We have stickers that we are supposed to give the kids if they are good. They have a sticker bank book that looks like a checking account register. They build up stickers and depending on how many stickers they have they can buy different prizes. Well the kids are usually shouting "I WANT CON!" or "I WANT SSANG!" for the stickers... I have yet to figure out which characters are which names for sure.
Also, another funny thing... all students get matching backpacks. On the first day of school we had to hand out LanGCon backpacks with their books inside. It is kind of nice, actually. Most students go to two or three, even four schools. This way they know they need to bring this backpack to LanGCon and don't mix up their books.
The way Korean schools are structured is they wake up at about 6:30. They go to elementry/middle/high school at 7:30/8:00 - 1:00pm. Then they go to a private academy (like our school) to learn English. They will then go to another academy after ours to learn something else; maybe another language or a sport. Some students will even go to a fourth school in the evening, maybe for music or art? It is not uncommon to be walking around at 10:30 pm and see children getting off of the bus from school. They then stay up until 1am or 2am doing homework, just to start it all over again the next day.
It's not my idea of fun... but that's why Asians have a stereotype for being very smart... but they definitely work hard at it! We would definitely think it sucks, but if that's all you've ever known to be normal, it doesn't seem odd.
This is the front desk. Notice the plasma TV on the wall on the left. All of our classes/hallways/ teacher's room are on constant surveillance. Parents will sit out in the lobby during their kid's class and watch what is going on. I'm glad I don't know what my student's parents look like... or I'd be nervous if I saw them staring at the screen during my classes!
That back wall is glass so you are looking through our glass doors. The back wall is actually a veterinarian clinic. We often see really cute puppies in the hallway.
This is one of the classrooms. There are 9 rooms in total. All of the rooms have different slap-you-in-the-face color schemes. This one is yellow, pink, and bright orange. The tables hold a maximum of 12 students.
This is another angle of the front lobby. The front desk is on the left. The tree is a reading tree. Kids that read a lot get their pictures on the tree. The cubbies on the wall is actually our "library". It is hard to see, but right next to the library is a table with coffee and tea for parents (and teachers) for when the parents watch our classes.
The kid in this picture is wearing what a lot of kids wear. A lot of schools have uniforms. This one is a gym outfit. They are often all yellow sweatpants. He might have had gym in elementary
school this day, or sometimes a student wearing something like this might have just come from a soccer academy.
This is the door going in to the auditorium. Our teacher's room is on the left. A classroom is on the right.
This is the auditorium.
The auditorium and the copy machines where we spend a lot of time. A projector screen comes down to play movies. That white wall is also a giant white board.
Another picture of the glass rooms... The left side is a meeting room for parents and principles/teachers. We also give the students speaking tests in there. It is hard to see it on the right, but that is the computer lab.
This is the shelf where you can find all of our teaching materials/attendance sheets/books/games/papers/materials/anything else.
This is the blocked off area in the teacher's room. It is kind of ridiculous because the wall gets completely in the way... but that's cultural differences for you! That's also another (mini)fridge and sink, microwave, a toilet paper dispenser (purpose unknown), and stacks of teaching materials.
Another view of the teacher's room. This is where we spend most of our working day. Andrew's desk is the one with the orange jacket on it. Mine is in the bottom left corner.