15.11.2009 25 °C
I got my Advancd Open Water diving certificate last week so I'm over the moon !
To date I've logged thirty dives and I'm going to be doing many more. The next certification will be the Master diver which'll take about five weeks. I'll be starting that in April next year. Until then I'm going to do all the study required.
Last week I did a night dive which was amazing ! It's pitch black down below and all you have to light up around you is your torch. It's totally different to a day dive because a lot of marine life that you don't see during the day come out at night like the octupus which we saw hunting, kaledioscopic squid gliding by us in schools, hundreds of hermit crabs foraging the sea floor, huge schools of anchovies darting around us even hitting us ! It was awesome and I'm going to definetly do some more night dives !
It is getting chillier here now though so I'm reducing the amount of dives I do per month to two rather than six until the weather warms up which'll be in March. Last week it was rainy and windy and temperatures have dropped to 8 degrees celcius due to cold winds blowing down from Siberia ! As a result, shorts, T-shirts and sandals have gone back into the drawers and now we're all wrapped up in our warm winter gear ! At home we're really warm. The "ondol" floor heating system here which was invented in North Korea to fend off the biting cold up there works marvellously. Everytime we come home we have to strip off all of our winter layers and wear lighter clothing it's so warm. Outside might be winter but inside it's summer ! lol
What I miss about Sang-Ju where we used to live is the bonds I had formed with my students and my colleagues and the Korean friends I had made there. Here I'm starting all over again and although the relationship with my students is evolvign here from merely a student to teacher one to also that of friend to friend one (despite the langauge barrier !) which helps make learning and teaching more efficient the same cannot be said with my colleagues. One of the main problems is the language barrier and the fact that we live on totally different sides of the island !
I really do miss those afternoons I used to play tennis after school with my colleagues in Sang-Ju and our occasional nights out at restarants or trips into the countryside. I also miss my Korean friends back in Sang-Ju who deepened my knowledge of Korea and made me feel by their hospitality so much a part of Korea.
Thinking back though I recall that I was pretty much in the same position I am in now when I was in Sang-Ju after a few months so with time maybe bonds will form with my fellow Korean colleagues here in Jeju too. I hope so. TO help myself and Barbara are making more efforts to learn Korean. I have a little more time on my hands now than I did the last couple of years so I hope to imporve my korean more and maybe that'll facilitate more contact with the Jeju people.
Teaching is totally different here to what it was like back on the mainland principally because I have twice as many students per class ! Back in Sang-Ju my average class size was fifteen but here it's thirty !
This hasn't dismayed me though. I do recycle my lessons but I do have to tailor them and I keep track of my progress with my students by logging in entries on my "Tefl diary" on the British Council and BBC blog I've got up and a running.
It helps do so because although there is much progress and on the whole I feel that my lessons with my students are more and more rewarding for me and my students there are some flaws I have to iron out.
Rather than see these setbacks as a regression I see them as something to be learned from and I rectify my teaching accordingly. There have been several rectifications made since I began here on Jeju on 1st September and now I feel I'm on the right track and I can detect more enthusiasm and enjoyment in my students when they particpate in my lessons even in the students who were the most recalcitrant only a few weeks ago !