Friday, March 3, 2017

Photo Friday: Our Hagwon

In Korean, it's called a hagwon, a private learning institution. An academy.

학원

My first day was a bit of a bust, where most of my morning students didn't arrive or they arrived and didn't stay. We just met, greeted one another, got to know a bit, and then promised to take up again on the next day.

I basically had the day off, until the afternoon, when the kids' classes picked up. I had two classes with young, rambunctious boys and girls, and I spent most of the class trying to keep them quiet and in control while we introduced each other.

One of the secretaries, who overheard the mayhem, had to come in and chew the most hyperactive kids out.

It was exhausting, considering I was still suffering jet lag.

DW fared better, with more adult classes, but she still had some kids to keep in line.

It took a week to get familiar with the schedules and what was expected of us, but DW and I were quick studies. Our director, Mr. Kwon, made a brief appearance on the Friday, long enough to take us and the rest of the staff out for lunch, and he was gone before we could address the apartment mixup. That wouldn't get sorted for more than another week, when a single teacher, who was occupying the one-room apartment, gave it up.

Linda was invaluable in getting us familiar with the city, introducing us to other foreigners, and bringing us to a popular ex-pat bar, SE (pronounced say).

The stage was set for our first year, filled with ups and downs, challenges and rewards. We made friends, encountered adversaries.

But more than anything, DW and I learned more about ourselves than we had in all our years before then.

I'll never forget that hagwon, or the teachers and staff that started it all.

L-R: Miss Kang, me, DW, Mrs. Jung, Emily, Linda, Miss Kim

Happy Friday!

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