Ready for School

After a short walk, we arrived at one of the schools where Austin teaches English.

Austin teaches English here

After taking off our shoes at the door and donning slides, we went up a couple of flights of stairs and entered the classroom. I was struck by the amount of technology in the room: a huge touchscreen tv, computer connections everywhere, and more. Several of the students were cleaning up the room: sweeping, picking up trash. Austin explained that there were no janitors to perform this duty. When the students started arriving, they immediately noticed me in the back of the room and started talking about me among themselves.

cleaning up

Classroom with students

I should mention that as we passed through the school, Austin was frequently hailed in English by some of the students; this was apparently typical and continued all week. The way class worked out with me present was Austin would greet the students in English, ask them how they were, the weather, and other subjects;the students would answer in English. He would then introduce me and I would answer questions. The students were particularly curious about my hair, eyes, age, job, hobbies, tastes in food, sports and other subjects. They would come up to me after class, touch the hair on my arms, say goodbye or ask more questions. Their enthusiasm and energy was touching and inspiring. After a few classes and a break, it was time for lunch. I went through the lunch line with Austin and his co-teacher. It was a fascinating menu: rice, cooked vegetables, kimchee, seafood egg squares, beef soup, and rice soup. Most of it was spicy and flavorful, except for the rice soup, which tasted like warm dishwater. The food was served on metal trays, bowls and chopsticks, and the kids bussed their own dishes, taking care to throw all the food out before dumping the metal stuff. There were no napkins or drinks of any kind; there was a water machine at the doorway for those wanting liquid refreshment. No dessert either.

Korean School Lunch

After lunch, we went back to class, but after a short time Austin’s co-teachers generously allowed him to leave early to spend more time with me. From there, it was back to the room and later meet Austin and Emily for a hike up a mountain with a temple on top.