Monday, July 7, 2014

Third Time's The Charm

Third time's the charm!  Many have heard this saying from time to time and today was no different.

Today was the last day that we got to teach our micro-lesson.  It was a bittersweet moment, mainly because it means that we will be heading home soon to our family and friends, but also sad that we are leaving this wonderful country and the friends that we have made.

The last school that we visited was the Yeoju Agricultural High School which was established in 1945 with currently 450 students and 84 teachers on staff.   The school is compromised of 99 hectares (246 acres) with the school having its own processing factories for sausage, beef, yogurt and cheese.  On the school you will find 180 cattle with a robotic milking parlor, 32,000 organic chickens, 2,800 hogs and several horses and dogs.  Yeoju High School has a store on campus where they sell their products and also provide some of the food in the school's cafeteria and surrounding schools.

Yeoju High School feed mill for animals.  
After touring and hearing about the great opportunities that students have at Yeoju, the time came for us to teach our final lesson.  The materials were all gathered, the Powerpoint was tweaked and the nervous jitters that we experienced during the first teaching day were gone.  We were a well oiled machine.  There was no more anxious nerves of what could go wrong.  No more awkward  pauses of wondering who was going to say what, our roles where defined and we owned it.

Yeoju High School students figuring out the problem
of who started the disease in the biosecurity  lesson
As a teacher it was great to see my Penn State pre-service teacher, Stacia, and SNU student Neungsoo grow as teachers each time the lesson was taught. I could not be more proud of the pre-service teachers that I worked with.  For many, they never even taught a lesson in an English-speaking high school and here they were teaching students whose second language was English.     It speaks volumes of what type of teachers these young aspiring agriculture teachers will be!

During our time after the lesson we reflected on the lesson of the day.  Things that the group learned as a whole were:   technology will always fail and it is good to have a plan B or even a plan C; using extrinsic motivation is good sometimes, but is not practical everyday; a rowdy class does not mean that they are not learning; even with a language barrier deeper level learning can occur; and a little bit of rivalry is sometimes a good thing.

As teachers, we have our good and bad days, week or even a year, but we need to take what we learned and grow as an educator.  "Good teachers are made, not born." - a quote by Dr. Foster.  Instead a good teacher reflects, learn from their mistakes and improve for the next time.
Stacia, Neungsoo and students from Yeoju.  
Though it is sad that our time is done as "teachers" in Korea, it was a great experience.   Dr. Barrick said it best when he said that "Learning was occurring in the classroom."   I think learning was occurring for the students as much as it was for us as teachers.    

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