I was planning on writing a post about my classes today. I think I’ll put that on hold for a little bit and instead talk about another aspect on my work. Thus, here is the first installment of the A Day in My Life series, tales about my work as an English teacher.

So in addition to native-speaking English teachers, Chung Dahm also has counselors. The April Institute has native- Korean teachers, but CDI does not. For all eight of my classes, I have two different counselors. After working with them for three or four weeks (I had a different counselor when I was subbing my first week), I can’t say that I’ve developed a super awesome rapport with them. Or at least the guys at April and some of the other teachers at CDI seem to have better rapports with their counselors. But at least today the counselors called me by my name, which I don’t believe they’ve done before.

I have two major issues with my counselors. Issue One: we teachers (for both April and CDI) have to complete daily reports for all of our classes that basically explains whether the class went well or poorly and why. Then we present them to the counselors so they know what’s going on. The other teachers seem to discuss the classes a little with their counselors and the counselors ask them questions about the students etc. Mine… do not… I don’t really know if I’m not writing the correct information or what, but only once did they ask me about a student and they actually referred me to another counselor to talk about him. In recent days, this has gotten a little better because they’d told me “insider” information, if you will, about problem students and gave me suggestions for how to handle them. But there is still room for improvement. Today I wrote a message about one of my students doing very well and how she’s improved so much from when she started and I really expected my counselor to say something about that or ask me how she’s improved. She did not… Today’s Daily Report for the Counselors: my rapport with them is getting better, but it is room for improvement.

Issue Two: This one’s kind of a big one. The counselors come in and talk to the students during break, which isn’t a problem (although they do leave my door open so the class looses all it’s heat – my classroom is obscenely cold sometimes). However, they sometimes go over my head about the heating of the class. Basically, I have the crappiest heater in the building and 7 windows, which equals one of the coldest classrooms. The teacher before me would wear his jacket through the entire class because of the cold. About a week ago, I tried to turn up the heat… and the heater broke… I think one of the students told the counselor about how cold the class was and the counselor came in to check the heater. Then she told the students to move to another teacher’s classroom because that one was empty and had heat. She did not tell me this. So one minute I’m putting grades into the computer and then I look up and all my students are leaving. Uh… not cool. And the timing was awful because I had notes on the board that we needed to finish the rest of class, so basically the rest of the lesson for the day was screwed up because I had to change classrooms. In the future, they brought a space heater to my classroom so I could stay in the room (which is what they should have done the first time around).

The reason I decided to write this post was because issue two happened again today. There was construction outside my room today and I went to ask if anyone knew when they would stop, because it was really loud and would definitely be distracting to my students. When I got back, the room smelled a little smoky and I figured it was from the construction. But it wasn’t a bad small. My students start coming in and the counselor brings me the homework check sheet (oh! issue three – they sometimes don’t bring me the homework check sheet so I can’t check all the students’ homework… uh, okay… not good). She must have noticed the smell because she came back in with the other counselor and they started looking around my room and being a little strange. And then they turned off my heater. Without asking me if they can or telling me that they would.

I’m getting ready to start class when they come in with the space heater and Mr. Park. They tell me my heater was making my room smell and Mr. Park needs to work on it. I would have to move to my neighbor’s classroom because she doesn’t have class now. I tell them I can’t do that because she does have a 7 o’clock class and so do I. So they tell me to go to another classroom, and figuring that certainly this teacher doesn’t have any classes today, I grab all my things and go over there. Luckily this time I had enough time to get all my things together instead of just bolting after my class that it didn’t really screw me up.

UNFORTUNATELY, that room is used for tutoring at 7 o’clock so I had to scramble to get back to my other classroom – which now smells REALLY STRONGLY of some kind of floral thing (the students thought it was perfume – maybe if someone dumped an entire bottle of perfume in the class…). The smell was way worse than the little smoky smell the heater was letting off. We had to leave the windows open for 3o minutes to get rid of it… Not cool. But it was cold…

First of all, I need to start building a rapport with the counselors. Second of all, they need to start giving me the things they need to give me so I can check homework. Third of all, this heater stuff needs to get sorted out. Now.

And that is a Day in My Life: Working with the Counselors.