Tuesday, March 24, 2009

ECC- A Hogwan in Korea

I know everyone has been curious to see not only what we have been up to, but where we work. Here it is. We work at ECC Foreign Language Institute. It is a well established school which is known for being the #1 English academy in the area.Korea has many private academies or after school programs called hogwans. After children finish the morning at public school they are bussed to hogwans to study music, art, tae kwon-do, English, science, math, computers, and much more. Children often attend these academies until 9:00 to 10:00 at night. They then return home to do homework. Weekends are for playing. Right? Not here. The majority of children often attend a some sort of Saturday schooling as well. Poor kids. This is why we don't give them homework very often.

These are the young ladies which keep the front desk functioning. They are very helpful and are quick to furnish you with any school supplies or teachers supplies that you may need.
We teach a broad age and skill range of students. The school has about 800 children which attend throughout the week. They come as young as 5 and as old as 14. We both have classes which are very young and brand new to the English language, and we both have advanced classes which are fully conversational.
Chelsie gives a beautiful smile from her desk buried in the teachers room. There are six foreign teachers and 7 Korean teachers. We are well supplied with tons of curriculum, lesson plans, and supplemental materials. This has been absolutely wonderful and has made the process of becoming a teacher very easy.
The children attend on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule or a Tuesday Thursday schedule. The classes are 40 minutes each with about a 7 minute bathroom and water break inbetween. A "native English speaking" foreign teacher will work with the children on reading, writing, and listening, for one class peroid, and then a Korean teacher, who also speaks in English, will work on grammar, phonics, and vocabulary. We teach eight classed back to back on MWF and then on TR we teach five.
You have to love the ornery ones. "Willie! Get your pencil off the floor, get your book out of your backpack, sit down and write!!!" Willie is an awesome writer for his age and he has lots of energy.
One of the best things about teaching at a private academy is the class size. We never have more than 12 students per class. This really gives us a chance to converse with each one and be able to monitor their ability and speed of learning.

We have to be at school by 2:30 in the afternoon so we can do some prep for class before the kiddos show up. On MWF we are out of the building by 9:00 and then on TR we are gone by 7:30. We figure we are teaching about 28 hours a week and are at school about 34. Not to rough.
Juliet is also an A+ student. "What! Your finished with that page? Hmm? Go on the the next."
The children love the interaction that they get with the foreign teachers. The little, little ones are very cute and fun to work with, but the more advanced kiddos are fun to converse and joke with as well. Coming in we thought that we would enjoy one age group over the other, but we have found that there are benefits to teaching all ages and ability levels.
ECC provides a kindergarten program giving children a jump start on their English. It has been very successful. These are the best kids to end up with later because they are so smart, fun, and cute.

We can't honestly say we dreamed of being teachers. Coming to teach has been a great opportunity so far which has allowed us to travel as well as have a good paying job. The school has been very generous and treats us very well. We are very happy to have ended up at ECC.


Robin Dodds Lang said...

Hi Chelsea and Jesse! It sounds like you two are having a great time in your new home and new jobs. Those kids are so cute! Well, I just wanted to say 'hi' and that I'm glad you came by to visit Paul and me last month.
~cousin Robin
(If you have a minute, I'd love to hear from you: robindodds@yahoo.com)

Jeff said...

It does look as if you've landed in a great spot. I've come to a realization about teaching English in a foreign land not unlike the one about my career as a jet pilot. It'll never happen. I would get vertigo and crash my first jet. And nobody would want me to teach their kids English. Although my NY accent is mostly gone, I still have sloppy speech habits. ECC has clearly gone for well-raised Midwest speakers. A wise choice. Also, I'm an impatient photographer, and there's no way I could keep up with a blog like this. My pictures would be blurry, pointless images, like hip '70s photography. Keep posting. Even if it's just pictures of Willie.

Jeff said...

Also, the young ladies at the front desk make a friendly welcome. The taller one reminds me very much of a friend, except that my friend is blond and Norwegian. What's that all about? And the other young woman looks sweet and innocent, except for the claw, which puts me in mind of the Kill Bill movies. So watch your back.

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