SLP Open Class/Open House

There are ups and downs with any job. If there was such a thing as a perfect job no one would even bother attempting to work for all the imperfect ones. So when I told people that I would be going to teach English in South Korea people automatically thought that I was taking the easy road. I mean, how hard can teaching be? Especially teaching a subject you were born into knowing. Think about it, you've studied nothing else longer than you have English if it is your first language except maybe the art of walking.

And for the most part - those people were right. It is easy. I work in a school where the curriculum is pretty set across the board, I can just come in and make a billion photocopies of something to keep the kids busy, and at the end of the day I've worked a pretty gratifying 8 or so hours. Sometimes if I feel like entertaining myself I'll put more effort into a game or something. And really its just using some creativity to get the kids to speak up. I use stickers or candy as bribery, for example, and it works better than you'd think.

But make no mistake, there are some really horrible parts of the job. Amongst the common complaints - misbehaving children, kids that have no desire to be learning what they're learning, the amount of germs that are floating around a school because kids are just insanely messy and care little for their hygiene, annoying school policies that don't seem to make any sense, micromanaging parents, etc etc.

But possibly one of the worst aspects of this job I'm currently in is the Open Class that occurs 2-3 times in a year. SLP is the only school that does this (and it is a trend that is catching onto other schools/chains). My school has a camera/microphone in every classroom so if the parents come they can sit in the lobby area and just watch the goings on in the classroom. The kids usually don't know they're there, the teacher doesn't know, and everyone's happy. However, in an Open Class, the parents come directly into the classroom. So you're already small room becomes 10x smaller as there is now a row of adults sitting in the back staring at you menacingly making sure that they are getting exactly what they pay for.

I've spoken in front of thousands before. I've been public speaking since I was 15 years old, and I've spoken pretty confidently on a number of topics. I've conducted seminars at national leadership conferences, I once gave a condom demonstration in front of 1600 college students during a drag show that I organized, and I've taught classes to juvenile delinquents in detention facilities that at any moment probably could have stabbed me with a shiv. But sitting in a room with 10 mothers who barely speak English, critiquing my every move, and my decisions, will probably go down as one of the most nerve wracking experiences of my life.

I've had two of these so far, and 8 to go. The first two were for my preschool kids and the first one went great. Just make sure the kids speak a lot more than usual. These kids were trying to show off (they're my smart ones). BUT my second one was a crash and burn (the kids clammed up, and they're my not-so-bright ones). Luckily I only had two criticisms from these parents - something about bigger flashcards and yelling at them more to sit down. Meh. I should have had a 3rd but the parents didn't show up. Darn.

It really isn't anywhere near as bad as I make it out to be, but it is a completely unnecessary distraction being that there are cameras in the classroom. If you're really concerned about your child's behavior/development you should watch him in a natural state - not in a fake one where they are trying to impress you OR they're too shy to do anything because they don't want to disappoint you.

However, as I work for a business that prioritizes money before education, I will do as I'm told and teach like the paid monkey teacher that I am ;)
Jenn PeddeIntermediate Korea