Teaching MATH in English When I’m Sick

Ten Saturdays per semester I am part of a new EPIK program called SAM (Science, Art, and Math in English).  It’s a very new program since the removal of standard Saturday classes in Korea.  For SAM, I happen to work with elementary school kids so it’s a bit of a change for me – I teach all girl’s middle school regularly.  This is only the second semester since inception, so the Office of Education has been making visits to each school to check on progress.  This was perfect timing for me because I had just come down with a burning sinus infection.

The classes are taught solo, which means there’s no coteacher present to help translate or keep kids in line.  If you’ve taught in another country you’ll understand the frustration.  I used to think that raising my voice when telling them to sit down or be quiet would do the trick.  But that’s just a louder version of mumbo jumbo to those who have limited English skills.  Actually, it’s really translated as, “this teacher is louder than normal, so I need to talk to my friend even louder now”.

This is great when the teacher has an unbearable sore throat and sounds like a frog.  Now I’m not sure if the Art teacher was handing out sugar tablets before my class or what, but the students came in like they were starting a revolution.  What a perfect combination today was.  The good news is that the supervisor for the Office of Education never made it into any of my three classes.  A bit of relief – they probably overheard the noise and ruckus and thought it was a productive fun-filled math session.  If they only knew…

Peace out!


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