Archive for category Teaching

Wrap-Up

This blog should have been written months ago, but maybe I’ve needed some time to process…

Traveling in South East Asia was amazing.  Words do not capture the beauty I have seen in Thailand and Cambodia.  I never imagined myself going to either of these countries, or even Korea for that matter, but I am very glad I got to experience them with Seth.  I am forever changed.

One year in Korea and it feels like a dream.  That’s the only way to describe my time there.  I have been home for several months now and when I speak of Korea, it feels like some wild amusement park ride.  That “thing” I did last year.  It doesn’t feel like real life to me for some reason.

Here in the States there are responsibilities and commitments.  I have to pay soo much money to have a phone, computer access and gas for my car.  The few responsibilities I had in Korea were minor and without serious consequences.  That was a major change from my life prior to moving to Korea.  I learned how to relax and chill out, finally.

I am happy to be able to shop for clothes and shoes again.  That part is nice.  I also enjoy having a full kitchen again with the ability to cook just about anything I want to eat.  Most of all, I’m happy that I get to see my nephew and the rest of my family.  It’s difficult to be away from the people I love.

People ask me if I would recommend moving to Korea and teaching for a year… I say, Go for it!  The money is great and you might get lucky to meet some fantastic people in the process.  Just keep an open mind and be willing to try new things.  Before Korea I had never eaten fish with the head and tail still attached, I had never eaten soo much cabbage in my life (and if I ever eat cabbage again, it’ll be too soon), and I had never seen soo many men wearing pink sparkle ties.

The world is a giant place and I think it’s wonderful to experience as much as possible.

Peace

I will be teaching Science at my Alma Mater!  Life goes on and I’m excited about my next adventure.  I’m also working on a food blog.  Since I won’t be traveling the globe eating exotic cuisine, I decided to write about my own culinary masterpieces.

Thanks for following along on my journey.  It’s been a wild and wonderful ride.

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Leaving Korea

Things you should know when leaving Korea after a year of teaching…

I did alot of research about leaving Korea and things that needed to be taken care of or completed before making the final plane voyage out of Kimchistan.  Most of what I found was conflicting information or outdated.

I can tell you that the date on your Alien Registration Card (ARC) is very important.

We were told that we had a week or so after our final working day to leave Korea without a penalty.  This is wrong!  You must be at the airport by midnight of the ending date on your ARC.  This date will vary from your actual Visa dates, but they will go by the date on your ARC.  Things I read online were that the dates aren’t important and that it is up to the airport staff as to whether you pay a fine or if they let you pass through.  Most things I read told me not to worry, told me to leave whenever.

If your current employer in Korea does not renew your ARC, then you are overstaying your visa even if it’s only by 1 day.  Our employer told us that things would be fine.  He either lied or didn’t know.  I suspect that he did know, but wanted us to continue working that final day.

At the airport, it took us almost three hours to go through security because of the stupid one day over on our ARC.  We were shuffled to various offices, filled out various documents, and received a nasty stamp in our passport that says we overstayed our visa.  They were going to make us pay $150 each, but they would have had to hold the plane for us to have enough time to give them money.  So, instead of holding the plane they made us run to our terminal.  We actually had to RUN through the airport to make our flight.  It was awful.  We were the last people on the plane and everyone was upset with us.

Keep in mind that we each had a carry on bag, laptop bag AND guitar case!  Seth had his original acoustic and I had his newly acquired Korean Bass guitar.

All of this just made me happy that I was leaving Korea.  I was no longer sad.

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Goodbye Sanbon

One year has come and gone.

I can’t believe how quickly time passes!  Time really does fly when you’re having fun.  :mrgreen:

The past week has been a whirlwind of emotions.  I’m thrilled to be that much closer to getting back home, sad to be leaving my Korea friends, will miss the yummy food, but super excited to be traveling for a while.   Other than friends and family nothing makes me more happy than seeing new places and experiencing different cultures.

Packing our belongings up has been a draining task.  I’m still not sure I have everything I need… and have probably forgotten something seriously important.  But, there’s no time to dwell.  The plane leaves in about 10 hours.

Thai food here I come!

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The Flu

  • Influenza
  • The Flu
  • Swine Flu
  • H1N1
  • The New Flu
  • Sinjon Flu (as it’s called here in Korea)

A sickness by any name, still makes you feel like crap.

I was fortunate enough not to get any type of flu, knock on wood.  However, I have been coughing and have a case of  Sinusitis.  Also realizing that Winter has not even begun yet, I’m ready to maintain my obsessive hand washing and antibacterial rinses.

Schools are closing all over the area.  Not my school.  I guess it is because my school is relatively small, or maybe because my director likes money too much.  Who knows?

My first class of the day only has four students, and they were all out sick.  It did give me an extra 80 minutes today to blog.  :lol:

I can’t help but be jealous though, of a friend of mine that is in Thailand right now enjoying bright warm sunshine while I’m stuck here where it feels like the icy chill of snow is just around the corner.  Today I swear I saw a few snowflakes!  Anyway, my friend is there because her school closed for the entire week.  They did inform her that she would no longer have a Winter vacation.  So instead of being bummed about the situation, she made some arrangements and flew to Thailand.

Chanchoche Swine Flu X <–  even balloons … LOL

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Let’s Learn English

Seeing the strange topics that Korean children learn in their English classes explains soo much.

Welcome to the English language… you will learn nothing but nonsense.

Why?

Booble? This is the most absurd story I have read thus far to my classes.  Keep in mind kids reading this range in age from 7-9 years old. What is up with this?  Why do children need to learn words like this? Booble was actually a vocabulary word they had on their tests!  And this picture… weird purple hairy monster that looks like Grimmace gone drag, only not wearing any clothing.  Heaven forbid that Bimble would get me in my sleep.

Ok, so this next fantastic lesson was for a class of 10 year olds.

Here’s a breakdown of how class went this day:

Me – Ok class, let’s talk about things that smell good and bad.  So tell me now… What is something that smells good? (silence)  Okay, what is something that smells bad?

Students – Teacher, teacher….Poo poo smells bad!

D-D-O-N-G!  D-D-O-N-G!  D-D-O-N-G! <– this is followed by loud laughter from the entire classroom and continued until class was over

Ddong is the Korean word for crap but they never say it they only spell it, which is odd.  They spent a good 20 minutes talking about poo and garbage.  No one could think of anything that smells good, except for one little girl that thought pizza smelled “so-so”.

And if you think that was bad,  you can only imagine how this next lesson went…

Yes,  this is an actual unit in a book meant for 12 year olds.  :!:

How much gas do you think the average person has a day? <– I did NOT ask my class any of these questions.  I was not about to open that can of worms.  Surprisingly, the children were much more mature than I ever expected.   Even with that said, I had them answer the questions in the book and then gave them an essay to write instead of talking.  Can you imagine how hard it was for me not to laugh the whole time?  Impossible, because I did end up laughing the entire class.

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School

Time is dwindling down on our contracts with Sisa English Academy.  I’d like to say that I’m feeling sentimental or wishing for more time, but that’s not the case.  One year  will be just the perfect amount of time here.

Some classes are still wonderful with kids smiling, speaking English, drawing cute pictures and sitting in their seats.  Other classes children throw shoes out of windows, jump on desks and scream at the top of their lungs that they “want you to die”.  Ahhh the life of a teacher.

It has been wonderful to walk to work everyday.  How awesome is it to make it to work in 5 minutes?  When I used to spend 30 minutes driving to work, this has been just the most amazing change of pace.  That is, unless it’s raining.

There is still 3 months left of teaching to endure but overall, it has been a great experience.  We had it easy at this hagwon.  There were no lesson plans to be made.  We could leave school if we didn’t have a class to teach, and up until recently we were home most of the day.  It was nice.

Since October 1st, Seth and I are the only Foreign teachers at Sisa.  So we were given all of Kevin’s classes when he left.  In reality, it’s still not that much work, but when you’re used to working 5 hour days, or less, being at school for a straight 7 1/2 hours is torture.

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What Makes My Day a Happy Day

Some of the kids I teach are absolutely adorable.  In fact, I have found one of the cutest kids in the world… I am sure of it and I’ve seen some cute kids.

His name is Eddie… or at least his English name is Eddie.

I don’t want to say that I’d take this kid home with me, cuz I would get in trouble for that… but if this kid fit in my pocket, he’d be seeing America soon.  He knows more English than some of the English teachers I have met here.

Most kids just make funny faces when the camera comes out… Oh and little Eddie is in the background. :smile:

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Work work work

I have never shared pictures of what my place of work looks like.  Nothing special stands out.  Actually, it looks like a million other office areas in the world: fake wood, uncomfortable chairs, copy machine, too many piles of paper.  Except that my office has Korean writing on whiteboard, I can’t understand the copy machine and the computer language button needs to be pressed anytime I want to type up a worksheet.  It’s a typical chaotic work environment.  Just recently we have moved into Pre-Summer Session classes… which means new students, new books.  We were given our new schedules the day of the switch-over.  Insane. It has been a few busy, crazy days.  I believe… Chickens with their heads cut off, fits perfectly.  That’s my big blue chair in the back.

This is where the teacher area is located.

This is where the teacher area is located.

My disaster of a cubicle

My disaster of a cubicle

Cute smiley faces my mom sent me in the mail and random cards I have received.   My tiny black coffee cup holder, water Nalgene, school books, library book, suduko puzzle, cds and tapes for classes.  Students have given me stickers and Hello Kitty buttons.  I am also blessed, being beside the coffee and tea that resides in an empty cubicle next to mine.  All day long I am scooting back and forth to avoid other teachers wanting a caffeine boost.

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Funny Signs

This shouldn’t be funny… it’s quite sad.  But I laughed and decided to share.  Keep in mind that this is for an English school.  It’s actually the name of the school, which makes it even funnier… or more sad, depending on how you think about it.   Found this sign while wandering around Anyang.

This is over the main entrance to the school.

This is over the main entrance to the school.

Pic of the entire sign

Pic of the entire sign

This weekend is supposed to be sunny, so Seth is going to go hiking.  The past 2 weekends it has rained and rained, so I’m glad to have some dry free-days.

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Seth here -> first post -> a bunch of nothing

Hey guys. I reckon its time I start making some contributions for this little blog. Tiffany has turned into a pretty prolific blogger, persevering through the wordpress learning curve and crappy ‘borrowed’ wifi connections. I got her going then kind of threw my hands up and said ‘I’ll do it later when the interwebs work as they should.’ Now that we have a pretty rockin connection, I suppose now I have no excuse other than sheer laziness.

Well, here I am. First post.  What to say? I could talk about the difficulties of learning the language and how social status affects word forms (baffling), the drinking culture (prodigious), the yellow dust (maddening), the food (awesome), or about the North Korean situation (terrifyingly laughable). Instead I’d like to talk about baseball, specifically the World Baseball Classic.

Conceived by MLB and first held in 2006 (with Japan as the winner), the WBC is sort of like the Olympics in that international teams compete for what amounts to international bragging rights. The difference is that it isn’t the Olympics.

Two weeks ago, I’d never even heard of the WBC, but walking around I couldn’t help but notice every other television was tuned to either a game-in-progress or highlights of the last game. I thought to myself, ‘Isn’t it too early for baseball? And do the Koreans really like American baseball that much?’ Once I looked closer and didn’t see such American baseball luminaries as Coco Crisp and Chris Sabo, I figured out something else was going out. To learn more, I asked the best source of Korea information: my upper middle school class.

Me: “So, what can you guys tell me about these baseball games.”

“Teacher, teacher, It’s the world baseeeball classic! Korea will beat America, sorry, and Korea will defeat Japan” and “Korea is the best basesball team in the world” and  “Do you want Korea or Japan to win” and “Do you hate Japan, too?”

Well, I said, I hope Korea wins, but maybe I’m just rooting for the home team. (Teacher, what is rooting?) Whoever wins deserves to win. And no, I don’t hate Japan but I can understand why you might.

When Korea lost the last game of the series (and it was a close one), here is what I heard from the students.
“They tried their best.”

Isn’t that all we can do?

As a side note, the U.S. team lost to Korea.

I had intended to go into how the WBC rivalry between Japan and Korea is a reflection of their troubled history as neighbors in the region as well as their healthy economic rivalry (why am I thinking of Hyundai and GM?) For those who aren’t familiar with this history, maybe I’ll get into it at some point in the future. Let’s just say that many Koreans have a fair amount of animosity towards the Japanese. I learned this my first day. Here’s what happened.

I needed copies. The copy machine broke. When you push a button a mangled piece of paper would come out. The director pulled it out into the hall and started opening trays, pushing buttons and pulling levers, whatever you do to fix copy machines. Soon two more Korean teachers joined in and you’ve got three guys working on this big Canon copy machine, each doing one thing or another while I’m watching the clock and thinking ‘should I be teaching right now? Maybe its okay, the director is here.’ Finally one of them throws up his hands, turns to me and says ‘of course its broken, its Japanese.’
Welcome to Korea.

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