We are very excited this year to be working at public schools where we are given summer and winter vacation days. July 23rd started the summer vacation and our classes are finished until August 18th. However, the Korean public school system does their vacation a bit differently than back home.
In our contracts, we are given 8 days of vacation for the summer. These are the only days we are excused from coming into work. So even though it is “summer vacation” we must still come in and be in our offices from 9 – 5. We don’t have any classes, but we still need to be there. This is commonly referred to as “Desk Warming” and we use this time for lesson planning for the upcoming fall semester.
We also are responsible for teaching 20 hours of summer English Camp. I teach two hours of summer camp for 10 days. Only a small number of students sign up for the camp, so it is a good way to have fun with your students and get to know them a bit better. We do creative projects, play games, and just have a lot of fun.
The school during this time is pretty much empty save for a couple of administrative workers and the principal. Our school grounds are really big, so walking around and seeing no one and hearing only silence is rather eerie. We took this time to take a few pictures of the empty hallways and classrooms.
My school is a bit different from other high schools. The 1st and 2nd year students (sophomores/juniors) have off an entire week from school. The 3rd year students (seniors) only have 3 days. The rest of the “summer vacation” they come in and study, all day, from 8am – 5pm. They are preparing for their college entrance exams and my school is highly competitive in academics.
The sophomore building at my school
Ryan works at a vocational high school. His students all have majors such as tourism and hospitality, culinary arts, graphic design, interior design, and robotics. These students are likely to graduate from high school and go directly into their careers instead of going to college. They still have the same summer vacation and Ryan still has to teach 20 hours of English camp, but most students are not required to come in and study during the break.
We hope this gives you a better idea of what our teaching life is like. Hurray for 8 days of vacation! We can’t wait to share some of our travel stories with you later on.