A new month and a new Avalon semester have dawned. Avalon, the lovely hagwon chain for which I work, splits the year into 12-week semesters, so unlike my previous Korea gig, at this job my schedule changes regularly. At my old job, it worked like this: we stuck with the same kids unless they had to combine a class (usually due to attrition) or they changed things around when a new class of first day "Hello-my-name-is" beginners was added, or unless the kids reached the end of their progression through the 12 levels. At that point, though, some of them would invariably stick around and join a "special class" in the evenings, so the teacher might still have them as students. Here, at this current job, we have much the same drill of youngest kids first, later elementary age in the afternooons, middle school after that, and the most advanced English speakers in evening special classes, but here everyone's schedule changes every 12 weeks. And every class is on the same 12-week schedule, not staggered like at my old job, so here everyone is in oral tests at the same time, and final written tests at the same time, etc.
Anyway, all this is just to say that my schedule changed today and out of my three schedules I have had since working at Avalon, this one is my third best. Yeah. The main thing is that where we all used to have one (and, occasionally, two) free periods during the elementary school onslaught from 4p-7p, now neither Brian nor I has that break. We just teach the 40-minute classes back to back, with 5 minute breaks in between. My prep period is before that, and before that I teach my youngest kids in the "Pre-" class (they are first graders). I start teaching at 2:35pm, whereas in prior semesters I didn't start until 3:15. And, I also have four evening classes instead of three this time around. The evening classes are in longer blocks, and most of them meet twice a week.
No one is really interested in all this minutiae, I'm sure, but it's what my brain apparently wanted to spew forth onto the blog. My first semester here at Avalon was downright leisurely. Now, I still don't think of it as running me as ragged as The Bad Ones (the bad hagwon jobs, of which there are many), but I am just not exactly thrilled about the next 12 weeks. Ah well, in those 12 weeks we have two, count 'em, two three-day weekends, plus we will have a summer vacation of one week, turning the 12 weeks into 13 weeks, if that makes any sense.
Kids are always coming and going from this place, much more often than some other schools. Kids drop out all the time, probably finding cheaper English instruction elsewhere, to be honest. So the numbers are in flux, but we also just had one of our foreign co-teachers, a lass from Scotland, depart at the end of the semester, and we went from four native-English-speaking teachers to three. We probably won't get another one for this semester based on the looks of the schedule.
Let's see, what else is happening? Our boss took us to Munkyeong Saejae this past weekend, which is a mountain hamlet up in the north central hills. The weekend event was the 16th annual Barefoot Festival (exact name translation unknown, but something like that) where people walk barefoot up a mountain trail, or in shoes, whichever suits your fancy. We walked up the trail in shoes and saw mountain streams, stone walls, and the gate that served as a gate between Gyeongsangbuk-do (our province) and Seoul back in the day. There was also a concert and a raffle and we ate and drank. There is generally eating and drinking to be had whenever and wherever in Korea.
June! Summer! I am ready for some excitement! I am not ready for the vast amounts of students who will be keeping me away from said excitement.
A trip to China is the next item on my hoped-for agenda.