Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A pretty good description of what my life feels like now...

Although I don't believe with the "wanting to escape ourselves" part applies to my reasons for leaving my home country for an extended period of time, everything else about this reflection on ex-pat life is about right!

What Happens When You Live Abroad...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Very Korean Field Day

Really translated as "Sports Day," my high school's Field Day this past Tuesday was unlike anything I had ever attended in a high school. In a lot of ways, it reminded me of last fall's festival...Again, I was shown how creative and energetic these usually exhausted memorizing robots really are!

They were only allowed three sports (because the Principal doesn't like how much time it takes up): tug-of-war, something I don't know the name of (where they basically hop on one leg, the other one bent meant to jab into their opponents and knock them over-see picture below), and a few track activities (baton relay and single racing).

It lasted from 9am to 2pm. And there was a lot of cheering. I mean, A LOT OF CHEERING!!! And it was really quite lovely. All the teachers got into it as well, since the "teams" are the students' homerooms. So the teachers obviously wanted their homeroom to come out on top.

At the end there was a spirit award and of course first place to the team that had the best score in all the events. (That winning team is the team I'm closes to in the video above!)

Also, I should mention the third grade students did not participate. They were nowhere to be found...I think they got a day off, since later that week there was a practice 수능 (soo-neung; the Korean SAT).

In total, it was way cooler than American elementary school field day...More competitive, more creative, more spirit, and more fun!

Here are the links to view more pictures and some video I took:

http://youtu.be/dzKbLpFi8Po  -  A video of the second-grader (11th grade American high school) side cheering. Most of their cheers go along the lines of just shouting their homeroom number (1 - 10) in a rhythmic way!

http://youtu.be/WjEpmQghiDM  -  A video of the first-grader (10th grade) side cheering. The first class you see with the white shirts, red bows and black shorts won the spirit award with their unique cheers set to popular K-Pop songs! (same video as above)

And photos: https://plus.google.com/photos/109877387138596271167/albums/5744483790605102257?authkey=COXr7qyyjdKszQE


Sunday, March 4, 2012

A little update...

Hello All!

Yes, yes...I have been absent for far too long! But I have a few quick things to share!

First, please make your way over to my Facebook profile to view the pictures I added to the Cheongran album. These are all photos taken from my last days of teaching in 2011. The class which won the pizza party (for the best participation, attitude, etc...) had a great time doing classic "jump" pictures with me. I've seen only a few of these students since starting classes again last Friday. They are all mature second graders now, too cool to visit their old English teacher... ;)

Speaking of new classes, school has begun again. But no students yet. The first graders are doing orientation activities. So I'm just sitting in my classroom, waiting to hear from my coteacher about our schedule (which she says is coming soon, but I know better...it'll be another 3-4 days I'm betting!), and preparing for introductory lessons and my Spring Semester clubs.

Speaking of clubs...Since we did not have a Winter English Camp offered at my school, I have been required to do the hours (20) during this semester. At first, I was not happy about this extra work. BUT! Then I realized I could have full control over this club...autonomy and authority at last! So I've made a small 8-member advanced English Reading Club. Here's the new blog: www.letreadpoppy.blogspot.com.

We will be reading Avi's Poppy, a personal favorite of mine. I'm really looking forward to starting the club. Do take a look at the Important Documents tab to read the proposal, agreement, and projected syllabus. Really Excited about that. ^^

love from kimchi land,

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


So I had one of my brighter students break down on me today and give up when I pressed her on an answer...I thought, '"This is weird." Pulled her aside after class to figure out what's going on in her life to make her that upset. After some coaxing I got it out of her that she got a bad grade on a Korean writing assignment that she disagreed with. Amid tears and tissues, I explained to her that one bad grade does not make her a bad student. One bad grade does not mean her life is over. Yeah, today sucks but tomorrow and the next day and next day and when she's in a great college etc....she won't even remember this little grade. 

As a consequence, our relationship is better and I've probably taught her something that NO Korean high school teacher would ever have taught her.

There is a big debate right now among Koreans that foreign teachers are not helpful or needed, especially in high schools where students should just be focusing on the test that will make or break their lives. But don't tell me that Korean high school students don't need foreign teachers, even if our most important job is just to give them a dose of reality and teach them how to cope with their overly stressful lives.

In other words, this job is awesome and important despite my serious issues with my coteacher daily... And I've had a great day even though its only 11am. 


:) mlh

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cheongran School Festival!

So last Friday my school had their festival. Basically it was a giant excuse to party, dance, eat and go crazy in school and it was great!

Each class of the first and second grades (10th and 11th grade homerooms) made a theme for their room. There were cupcake cafes, face-painting bars, food vendors, movie rooms, horror houses, gaming rooms, massage rooms, and even DANCE CLUBS! All the teachers and students went around having fun. You had to pay entrance fees, food, or services...But most teachers got special discounts! ;) There were also lots of art pieces, student photography, and poetry on display throughout the school.

In the afternoon there was a big talent show sort-of thing: musicals, a little singing, and LOTS of dancing! I had been practising all last week for singing two songs. I was roped into singing with one of the English Clubs - but I'm glad I did it. We sang "True Colors" from GLEE because everyone is addicted to that show and "Don't Worry, Be Happy!" It went over really well.

Here's the photo album: Cheongran High School 2011 Festival

But after the show and the entire festival day, I couldn't help but think that these girls have so much energy and personality and creativity and talent...That is unfortunately stifled for these three years under the stress of studying like madwomen. But for one day they could let it shine. And it was brilliant.

I have lots of great videos from the whole thing...and I'll add them under here:

Yeah. So they were awesome. I have no idea when they practiced though...It's like they pulled all of this talent out of thin air!

Until later then...I've got a great album underway all about a stroll I took through Seoul. So look out for that soon too!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Walking Tour of My New Homestay: Take 2!

Here it is finally: the video of my new homestay! This apartment complex is one of the top (ie: nicest) ones in Daejeon. So it's very comfortable living. The Dunsan-dong area in general is considered the best area to live in...mostly because it is home to all the best hagwons.

So here it is! Sorry about the shaking...I'm no videographer.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My host sister's piano recital!

Just got back from my host sister's piano recital! She's been practicing for a while on the piano in her room since I've been here. So she goes to this piano and music hagwon (an after school academy) about twice a week.

And here's the result: The Entertainer. Enjoy!