We have been in Seongju now for over a week and what a ride it has been so far! But this is not a blog post about Seongju, this is a blog post about orientation, and filling you guys in since we last were able to blog 🙂
To say that orientation was a journey is putting it mildly. It was a full and intense program, made all the more hectic because there were nearly 300 EPIK teachers taking part. As you can imagine there was little quiet time and even less space! Chris and I enjoyed our early morning walks in the forest, but to be honest, by the time we arrived in Seongju last week Monday we just wanted to wrap up in our cosy bed and read quietly for a year or two. However, even the last day of orientation was not simple, as we had to travel to our POE, meet our new co-teachers, get to our town, get shown around our schools, and try to figure out exactly what to buy to make an empty flat seem like home with 200 000 won (around $200). (Side note: You need more teaspoons then you think.)
Our second to last day at orientation also involved giving a mock lesson to external examiners and getting feedback on our teaching before wondering off into the world of TEFL. It was quite a stressful experience for me as a perfectionist, but I had the most amazing team which made our process so much easier. It boggles my mind that for some of the EPIK teachers there, this would have been their first teaching experience, albeit a 15 minute mock lesson experience. I take my hat off to anybody who does not have a teaching background and comes into EPIK, you have guts and determination!
There is so much to be said about the amazing EPIK orientation team. With 10 days and 300 people, not one event started or finished late, no one went hungry, and no one got lost. I have never seen a more efficient team of people. The program was of a consistently high standard, and I feel like a better teacher for participating. So now, after teaching my third graders for the first time, I will sit down and reflect a bit on what I have learnt, what I still need to learn, and the coffee I need to get there.
Here are some pics of our Taekwondo class at orientation. It was a super necessary stress reliever, and yes, we all punched the hell out of some wooden blocks 🙂