You’ll never guess what happened to me on the subway this morning. This guy was smiling at me and he took my class binder from me and he was being reeeeal friendly. And I think he might have thought that I was – But wait! I’ll get to that later!

So today was our first day of real, nitty-gritty training. We were bused to the training center again and broken up into groups according to what levels we’ll be teaching. I’m teaching Eagle level, which is the 3rd highest. There are 2 other people in my reading class and 1 more in the listening class. The other groups seem to have more people, except for the group that’s learning to teach the lowest level (E-Chip), which only has two people. There are a ton of people for April English, which is the school for the very beginning students, but they’re on a completely different track than us and have their own leveling system. There are a lot of levels in Chung Dahm.

Classes were pretty straight forward. In the reading class, we were introduced to the reading class curriculum and shown how to teach the first hour of it. In the listening class, we were introduced to the listening class curriculum and shown how to teach the first hour. They went over a lot of information and honestly I should probably be preparing for tomorrow instead of writing this blog, but I wanted to have some fun time before I got back to serious work. Tomorrow we have to present mock teaching sessions based on the chapters they provided us in our training manuals and we need to prepare for the mock teaching tonight. One of our teachers said we should expect to prepare for at least 7 hours… Which is crazy because if we started now, we’d basically be up passed midnight. Crazy.

But now for the fun part of the day.

We had directions on how to take the Seoul subway back to the hotel but unfortunately the group of us that was going back together got on the train going the wrong direction (a rookie mistake!). So we got all kinds of confused and turned around for a few minutes, but it ended up being fine. We just got off a couple stops later and got back on.

About one stop from our station, this elderly couple got on the train and the man sits in the empty seat beside me. I had been sitting down, so I gave my seat to the woman. And as I’m standing there in front of them, the man reaches out and takes my binder, with all my class material in it, and my subway map. He was kind of smiling about it so I thought maybe it was some kind of joke. By this time, everyone else is watching because not only does he not give it back but he places it very carefully under the shopping bag he was carrying and he half-bows to me. Which was very confusing. I started looking around at the others on what to do but everyone was just kind of like ‘Whaaaa?’ Luckily, one person knew what was up. She said that it’s polite to hold the things of people who are standing if you’re sitting. Which was just so very nice of the elderly man. And we all very enthusiastically chorused him with 감 사 합 니 다 (gamsahamnida -thank you) when we got off.