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Marianna Mercer

Dr. Cho

C&T 491

29 May 2017

Reflective Journal 1

It was my first week in Korea, as well as my first week in a foreign country, and I was

gladly incredulous at the abundance of new. New faces, new names, new cities, new food, new

currency, not to mention, a new language, everywhere. It is what I have never experienced; it is

simultaneously revelation of a surprising amount of similarity. The cappuccinos are just as

foamy, just as consoling, and just as valued (cafes on every corner), there are friendly smiles at

the convenience store, humor is shared between cultures incredibly readily, despite language

barriers, especially at the school I see the friendships of girls at Kyunghwa and I think of my

own in high school. I see small children playing tag and couples teasing each other in E-Mart and

it reminds me of home. These are small things I did not expect to affect me, but I think I am

learning from these the most. Perhaps, it is comforting to witness parallels in new faces, new

names, new cities, new food, new currency, in a new language. Moreover, the most striking

comfort is that, despite the overwhelming new, my ultimate purpose remains unchanging. It is

the students who have assured me most; their genuine acceptance and kindness is humbling in its

constancy. I am even more so resolved, now, to dedicate my undivided attention and energy to

the individual needs of the students their success is my first and foremost intent within these

six weeks. The new is beautifully overwhelming, but through it, my original purpose is only

magnified: aspiring to give all I can to every student.

Given my goal of student success, I am forced to intentionally and carefully consider

my teaching philosophy, one that I can begin to implement now. A primary concern is that of my

classroom environment, and if it is one of high respect, for all: staff, guests, and each student,

bearing in mind diversity of backgrounds, worldviews, and both expressed and unexpressed

opinions. Students should not feel safe merely because of rules or required standards, but

because the classroom serves as an impetus for magnanimity. Bullying will not be tolerated and

respect for all will be immediately demanded; kindness will be continuously encouraged through

accountability and positive reinforcement. In this environment, my hope is for students to

effectively and enthusiastically share in my passion for the English language.

My ideal of teaching preparation and style will certainly affect the impact of lessons

on students, and if my passion for my subject area will successfully be communicated. Striving

for creative lesson plans that will actively engage the students through relevance and group work

is priority. In addition, I want my lessons to be direct and clear, but inspire critical, abstract

thought for the formulation of individual opinions and conclusions. If the plan is relevant to a

students life, he or she can discover similarities that will add to retained information and

interest. This idea is especially true in TESOL, for with language as a barrier, it is vital that I

include practical comparisons for fuller comprehension. My goal, then, is to implement relevant

lesson plans through lectures that introduce, group work that reinforces, games and activities that

engage, and assessment that differentiates. Assessments can include not only tests, but

presentations, essays, journals, pop quizzes, debates, interviews, and skits, accommodating the

variety of learning styles in the classroom.

I am in awe of my change of surroundings: the roof of the high school building reveals

an overlook of the city of Gwangju, nestled into the mountains, apartments in the distance

interrupting the sky, filled with impending clouds, clouds that offer a glimpse of Kansas. Roses
are everywhere, vibrant against brightly colored walls, the cars dont stop for me, and I am

continuously reminding myself to not flush toilet paper. This is all very new, but I am content in

much of its unpredictability. However, an opportunity to observe and teach in an EFL classroom

is one that I intend to capitalize upon. I will work as hard as I can to predict and ensure that the

students are guided towards success by my teaching, and will therefore endeavor to align my

actions to my philosophies. It is one week in and my purpose is already strengthened by the

sincere smiles, curiosity, ambition, and unending enthusiasm of the girls at the school. I want

them to succeed, and I intend to give of my time and energy as much as possible, both to

personally connect with the students and confidently teach a class. In the end, however, I am

certain I will receive much more in return; my growth as a pre-service teacher, desiring to

instruct in ESL, is already unmatched.