Ok...I suppose I'll tell you all about MY teaching experiences thus far.
I was not lucky enough to be given the 2 week grace period to observe and get my feet wet. I was instead given 1 week and then had to dive in head first. It took awhile at my primary school (Dongbu Elementary) to fully understand my role since only one of my co-teachers speaks any conversational English. As nice as the other two are, it's very difficult for us to talk, much less lesson plan. And so, I end up being a talking parrot for 3rd and 4th grades. My schedule looks like this:
M: 6th grade--5th grade--3rd grade--2 hour English camp
T: 3 3rd grade classes--3 4th grade classes--2 hour teacher course
W: 4th grade (I like Wednesday)
Th: 5th grade--4th grade--2 hour English camp--2 hour teaching course
F: 6th grade--1 hour English camp (Friday's nice too)
I was told that they wanted me teaching the teacher training course on Tuesdays and Thursdays because I was the most qualified foreigner to teach a college level course. (Pat on the back) As nice as that is, though, it also makes Tuesday and Thursday an absolute nightmare.
Anyway, back to the kids. I teach 6th and 5th grade with Hyeun Bum, my main co-teacher who speaks nearly fluent English. We have a lot of fun, use a lot of activities outside of the textbook, and I really believe we get through to those kids every time.
4th grade is taught alongside Mrs. Lee, who is a joy to watch, even if she doesn't speak much English. I've never seen a group of students respect their teacher more--anywhere. Recently, Mrs. Lee worked out that on Wednesday we would teach the textbook lesson and on Thursday I could do whatever I wanted. (SWEET)
3rd grade is cute, but the kids just plain don't know much. I am there basically so they can hear a native speaker of English. It's hard to teach them much, but they're just so darn cute that I love the class anyway.
Youngnam Elementary on Tuesdays is both a blessing and absolute hell. Since I'm only there one day a week, the rockstar image will be hard to shed. I am followed everywhere by a gaggle of girls who all but sit on my lap when I'm at the computer. It's nice to be such a spectacle, but a moment's peace away from the screaming 9-year-olds would be nice. Plus, 6 straight classes is a little taxing.
The students are all at different levels, like Sara has said, but most of them can answer basic questions. At Youngnam last week, I was asking a 35+ student class how they felt that day. I asked a few students in the front row and got responses of "I'm fine," "Ok," and "vely good-uh." At the end of the row was a tiny, squirrely looking girl who I assumed didn't know what was going on. In my attempt to teach EVERY student at least something, I wanted to ask her. So I walked over to her, squatted down next to her desk and said, "How are you today?"
She looked at me for a moment before quietly squeaking out in perfect English, "I'm alright, but I have a cold."
It's times like that when I know it's all worth it.