Teaching an open class in Korea

A few weeks ago I was told I would be teaching an open class with my co-teacher Mrs Yang at Sunchang Boys Middle School. It was to be in front of our supervisor and the head of our education office as well as a number of other middle school teachers from the area. I think there were about 10-15 people watching in total (I don’t think I gained eye contact with a single one of them choosing to try and ignore that they were there!) Thankfully it wasn’t in front of the EPIK co-ordinator or other EPIK teachers as one of our friends had to do. I didn’t envy him that but he did a great job. Luckily they had engineered it so that it was easily the best class in the school that we would be teaching.

My co-teacher asked me if I had any ideas on what lesson we could do so I suggested one that I had made the week before. Stolen directly from A Question of Sport from home I’d planned a What Happened Next? lesson where I made a presentation that played videos, would stop them at crucial moments and then in teams they’d guess from multiple choice answers what happened next. Simple.

Now, usually this is easily my best co-teacher. I lead the lesson and she translates into Korean if necessary. I showed her the lesson with another class earlier in the week and it went great. Probably not exactly the Presentation Practise Production as they constantly want us to do but I had them talking English all class so mission accomplished in my eyes.

Mrs Yang, about two days before the lesson, gave me a lesson plan that she’d made which she’d obviously spent a lot of time on. I was concerned that she’d put far too much into the lesson and told her that, but she didn’t seem too fussed so we went with it. The lesson came and strangely I wasn’t too nervous. She’d given me a 20 minute slot in the lesson for the WHN activity, but as suspected each activity ran over leaving me very short on time for my part (which usually takes up most of the lesson). What didn’t help was that I’d been given about two hours before to sit and “prepare” but there was nothing for me to do. What should one do in this situation? Well, play games of course. Unfortunately I ran the laptop battery down so much that it ran out during the lesson and I spent a couple of minutes fumbling around trying to find a plug socket. I hope the EPIK co-ordinator isn’t reading this!

I think I’ve made out that it was a bit of a shambles, but it wasn’t as bad as it sounds I swear! We had lots of compliments after the lesson which was reassuring. I’m pretty sure there’ll be another open lesson next term. Perhaps I’ll prepare a little more, or at least not play games before it starts.

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One Response to “Teaching an open class in Korea”

  1. Paula Oyedele-Caleb says:

    I stumbled upon yall’s blog a couple of days ago when I was searching for ideas that were best suitable for teaching an open class for middle school boys in Korea. I would’ve happy if all I found was something that just had a middle school lesson plan, but then I clicked the link that brought me to this post and I’m FLOORED! Not only did you offer the insight on what it’ll feel like to teach an open class, but then you said boys school’s…and then you mentioned Sunchang. That’s where I paused. I re-read your article again because I’m thinking “no…way, Sunchang is not popular, it can’t possibly be the same school”. So naturally, I creep all along your blog and needless to say, I’m so surprised. Not only did you offer the type of lesson plan I might do, and give advice on what to expect for teaching an open class…but it turns out, I’m doing an open class for the exact same Sunchang Boys school in the little, beautiful county of Sunchang myself! My co-teacher is now Ms. Lee, and she doesn’t really give much input on my lesson plans. When I looked at further blog posts, I saw that you had a picture of Dongsan Elementry, another one of my school’s. Instead of 6 schools (SHEESH! THAT’S A LOT!) We each have 4 (and it’s pretty much). I imagine Sunchang has changed much since you last saw it, but if you ever wanted an update, I’d be glad to share it!
    PS- I think I’m going to use the Brainiac Lesson plan since the boys like to move around more in class. I’ll let you know it goes. All the best!

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