I know my usual Aclipse blog posts may make it seem like I barely work, but surprise! I am still a Chungdahm employee, and after eleven months of teaching in Korea, I have come to learn the ins and outs of teaching both April and Chungdahm programs. For those of you that are new to reading the Aclipse blogs, Chungdahm Learning is split into two programs. April, is lower level and encompasses kindergarten, those that are learning the ABC's, up until Junior Master, the highest April level that prepares students for Chungdahm. Chungdahm itself has around 14 levels (each branch offers all or a selection of all levels depending on demand). I have had the unique experience of teaching both Chungdahm and April classes, as my branch runs both programs in the same building. Initially I was intimidated at the thought of working both programs, however it took almost no time at all to get used to both. Now prepping for classes is a seamless process, and I am thankful for my diverse experiences here in Korea, both professionally and personally. This blog aims to give you a glimpse at a regular work day for me.
The April program is designed to be taught in accordance with a Korean co-teacher. At my branch, there are two groups of children, Monday-Wednesday-Friday students, and Tuesday-Thursday. The Tuesday-Thursday students spend more time at school during those two days. Typically, the first two days of the week are two lessons, which vary by level, and the last day (Friday, or the last class on Tuesday-Thursday) is a project based class called CTP- Creative Thinking Project.
Prepping for classes is a relatively simple process. The above picture shows what an average April teaching day looks like. I simply click on the class I am teaching that day, and prepare through the April Gate computer program. Before classes begin, attendance is taken and I check the children's "Chunk Book" homework, which is their vocabulary homework to be completed prior to each lesson to help them prepare for the day. Each class then has a warm up activity, known as Knowledge Activation, that usually involves some sort of media and is designed to hook students. This is followed by a story that varies by level. After the story there are discussion questions, that encourage critical thinking and help students relate and generate further interest in the lesson. After the story and discussion, the students take out their practice books, while the TV displays an interactive version of what the children are seeing in their practice books.
For the April program, each class lasts 45 minutes or less, after which I will swap classes with my Korean co-teacher and teach the second part of the lesson. For most April levels, the second half focuses more on speaking and group work, followed by a small writing assignment, or paragraph writing. My favorite classes to teach are CTP days. The Creative Thinking Project is either an independent or group project that kids work on throughout the class, and then present at the end. About 2 times a term, April teachers are required to film the students presenting their projects, and upload them online for the parents to view. I film using my Chungdahm tablet, that I use to teach my evening middle school classes. While recording students can be challenging, getting an entire class to sit quietly while you film is no easy task, CTP recordings are rewarding for both the instructor and student. It's fun for them to present the work they've completed, and a nice moment each week to see how my students have managed to apply what they've learned!
After having taught both in the April and Chungdahm programs, my preference is towards April. Simply because I enjoy working with lower level students and enjoy faster paced classes. However, comparing the two, I would definitely say that a full day of teaching April requires much more energy and stamina. I'm quite pleased with my current schedule, which is primarily April, but still includes one middle school Bridge class. It's nice to have experience teaching a range of students, and I enjoy the challenge. For more information about teaching for Chungdahm in Korea, make sure to check out the Aclipse website.