I had my first day at my school today. The place is ghetto. It's an old run-down building with dirty floors, dirty walls, and dirty classrooms. The students are underprivileged and are very poor at English. There are over 1500 kids.
But like every school in Seoul, each classroom has a giant TV connected to a computer with high speed internet. They even have a school TV channel where they have a short program every Monday. I'm going to be featured on this week upcoming episode, live and uncut.
Each classroom also has a phone that is used as an intercom so you can contact anyone in the building at any instant.
I was quite discouraged when I was told about my school but once I got there it wasn't bad at all. The place has character. Lots of character.
I met all of my co-teachers and one of them is a 25 year old Korean guy and it was his first day at the school too. He plays guitar and speaks decent English. I'm quite happy about having a Korean friend and he lives relatively close to me, in Seoul terms.
I showed up at the school with nothing but a few bananas in my bag. I had some forms to fill out that required my passport and banking info so the vice-principal gave me a ride to my apartment to grab the stuff. The principal was also very friendly and so was the rest of the staff, although none of them speak English.
I think my year is gonna be a challenge but I have a really good feeling about it for some reason. There's something really cool about being in a crappy school although I can't really explain why I feel this way. I think I'm gonna be able to get along with the kids and although they'll probably be a bit of trouble, I really feel that I will be remembered long after I'm finished at the school.
The school has a big kitchen and staff that serves lunch to the students and teachers. The meal I had today was at least a million times better than anything I ate during my orientation and I got to sit at the VIP end of the table with the principal. I'm the man.
I walked home after school with Hong Mi, one of my female co-teachers. She had the school credit card and we bought a few more things for my apartment. I was told at the orientation that each school has 2 million Won to spend on the teachers to get them set up (although the teachers weren't supposed to know this). That's a full months salary and I intend to spend every bit of it.
While at the store, a lady approached me and asked me if I was an English teacher. I told her I was and she wants me to do some private lessons with her child. When a teacher comes to Korea it is illegal for them to do any work outside of the school so I told the lady that my co-teacher was with me and to go to the next isle. I sneaked to another isle and wrote out my e-mail address and walked by the interested party. She pointed at her cart and I dropped the e-mail address in there. Sneaky.
It's only my second day here and I already have a private. I hope it continues to be this easy. Now I just gotta decide what I'm gonna charge her for the lesson.
Being the nice guy I am, I'll probably underprice myself because there's no way she could afford to actually pay me what I'm worth.