Categorized | ESL

A Day in the Life

Twice a year when the kids here are on summer or winter break, they come to my school even more. We call these ‘intensive’ periods, and this week is the last of the summer intensives. Normally a student will come to my school for 3 periods which total 2 hours and 20 minutes. During the intensive periods the students come for a total of 5 classes and 3 hours and 30 minutes.

I thought you might like to know what my day looks like during these intensive periods. So here it goes.

8:00 am

My alarm goes off, and I am quick to hit the snooze button.  I have to be at work at 9, but since I am not a morning person I am in no hurry to get out of bed.  I hit snooze a few times then crawl out of bed and into the shower.  I leave myself just enough time to take a shower, get dressed and out the door.  Breakfast is usually a bagel and coffee from Dunkin Donuts which is a short walk away.


I usually get to work a few minutes early so I can check my email and eat my breakfast.  Then work gets going.  After work starts at 9am, I have 40 minutes till my first class.  This time is spent making sure all necessary copies of worksheets are make and ready for class.  I prep my classes on days prior so the rest of the time is spent either drinking my coffee to wake up or reviewing what the classes are over that day.


My first class of the day starts, and I am really not awake yet.  The kids quickly change this with their energy, and we dive into the material.  Today our reading story was over computer hackers.  During the first 10 minutes of class the students take their daily vocabulary test.  Usually if they fail this (meaning they miss more than 5) they will have detention.  However, with the longer intensive schedules there is no detention.  The rest of the class is spent going over vocabulary, reading a story, and doing exercises testing them over their reading comprehension.


Class number 2 of the day starts.  Another reading class that is the same as the first.  Same level and same story but the kids are much louder and at times uncontrollable.  The too know the semester ends this week, and they are ready to move on.


Class number 3 of the day but this time a writing class.  This is the last time I see this class so I have them write a short essay in class.  They write an essay each week for homework, but they do their best work in class.  We do a brainstorm together on traveling around the world, and they come up with some great stuff.


Class number 4 of the day and the first intensive class.  These classes are shorter than the others (35 minutes instead of 45 or 50).  By this time of the day the kids are normally going home.  So making them stay a little longer only winds them up more.  These intensive classes are short, but they are pretty difficult to keep control of the class without playing a game.  The kids bring snacks because they are in class for such a long time and this only winds them up even more.  We get through a short lesson and end with a game of pictionary or more affectionately called “the drawing game” here.


Time for the 2nd intensive class of the day.  By now the kids have been in class for about 3 hours and they are restless.  They want to get out and go home.  Again we go over a short lesson (today it is on Sacagawea).  Some of the kids try to participate while the rest have just had enough and want to go home.


The kids who got here around 9:30 are now free to go home.  They have been here for 4 hours and in class for 3 and a half.  Not only are they ready to go home, but I am ready for a break as well.


The teachers head to lunch.  We have a rotation of restaurants that we eat at each week.  Some of the places we really never get tired of and we mix in a few others each week for a little bit of variety.  Today it is one of our favorites.  We have no idea what the real name of the place is, but there is a picture of the owner with him green like Shrek so we call it Shreks.


It’s meeting time.  Today we talk about the new semester starting next week.  We all have new classes with new books so we are preparing for next week.


The second round of classes begin.  I have a lower level reading class to start.  I really enjoy this class.  They are a lot of fun and I really like teaching them.  Today our story is Fishing with Grandpa. We talk about fishing, grandparents, and other random topics as we read the story and go through the exercises.


Another reading class today.  Again I have them write about traveling around the world, and again they do so much better in class than they do on their homework essays.  This is a fun class.  They come up with some great stories about where to travel and why they want to go there.  We end the class with a rousing rendition of the drawing game.


I have a free period at this point of the day.  I typically use this time to plan for the following day, but today I am a little lazy.  I catch up on some blog reading and think of some ideas for my blogs.  It’s nice to have some free time even if I usually have to use it to do work.


This is the first intensive period of the 2nd session, but I have another free period.  It’s really nice to have back to back free periods because it doesn’t happen often.


My last class of the day.  It’s a short intensive class with some really great kids.  We talk about random topics and then on to our story of the day about Stonehenge.  It’s a great class and we spend the last 5 minutes playing the drawing game to end the day.


Classes are now over and the kids are getting ready to board the bus to go home.  It’s been a long day but a good one.  There are no real problems with any class which is usually the case.  But it’s been a long day and I am ready to head home.


Quitting time.  We are allowed to leave at this time and usually do within the next 10 minutes.  Today I decide to grab some dinner and head home to work on a few things.  Sometimes a few of us go to dinner which usually is BBQ.  Today I opt for some chicken and I head home to eat and watch the last few innings of the baseball game.

8:00 pm – 12:00 am

I usually spend this time working on articles for my blogs, guest articles I am writing for other sites, and reading a ton of other sites I keep track of on a daily basis.  I am constantly working on new ideas and tonight I am busy.  I enjoy what I am doing so it doesn’t seem like work.

12:00 am

Time for bed.  I know I have to get up in 8 hours, and usually by now I am very tired.  Speaking of which, it is almost that time now.  So I want to say good night and see you tomorrow.

About Eric Bynum
I taught ESL for three years in South Korea and now I am looking to set out on a new journey after just finishing my teaching certification in the US. I hope to continue teaching and traveling and you can follow his journeys here.

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5 Responses to “A Day in the Life”

  1. Eric, that’s a l-o-o-n-g day. And that’s before you get to your blog. At least, it looks as if you’re mostly having fun with your students. I look forward to some of those new ideas you’re working on. Russ

  2. Candice says:

    Whoooa, what Russell said, loooong day! But you seem to enjoy it, so yay!

  3. admin says:

    Yeah it is a long day, but I enjoy my job. Plus the intensives only run for 2 months of the year. The rest of the time I work 2-10pm and the schedule is much easier.

  4. admin says:

    I really do enjoy it. So when are you coming to SK? Is that Busan I hear calling your name?


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