Our last Friday in Cheongju had finally arrived and whilst we were excited to be heading home Korea was pretty determined to try and keep us from getting there. This is quite a tale so here’s the background info you’ll need to know so it all makes sense. Read more
Posts from the ‘Teaching English’ Category
Today is the day. 372 days after arriving in Korea it’s all coming to an end, our contracts finish today and we fly home to NZ tomorrow morning.
It’s been an emotional roller coaster this week. Leaving Korea and packing up our apartment has been difficult enough, add in Neil still teaching classes, an earthquake in CHCH and a friend in NZ passing away and you get the idea. Amidst all of the crazy we’ve still had some time to reminisce and reflect on our year here.
All in all it’s been a fantastic experience. I’m not going to lie, that fantastic experience has been interspersed with some really shitty experiences too. The first few days here were the hardest, closely followed by the 6 month mark at which point we realised the honeymoon was really over and Korea wasn’t as shiny anymore, but we stuck it out and the last few months have been some of the most enjoyable. Ah Korea, we have a bit of a love hate relationship but we will never forget you and the lessons you’ve taught us this year.
We’ve been to some amazing places, eaten some crazy food and we’ve met a lot of awesome people. Those people are what we’re going to miss the most. Our crazy expat family. We’re all teachers, we’re all having the same problems and we were all thrown together in a South Korean city and left to our own devices. A couple of us abandoned ship but the rest have stuck it out and many will continue to do so for another six months or more. We will miss every single one of you and we wish you all well with whatever life brings you.
Good luck and good-bye!
Neil and Geri teacher’s giant Korean field trip pinish-ee.
Winter Camp is done and dusted and we found it a bit easier than its horrifying Summer version. This time around we’re only teaching for three weeks, our co-teachers are assisting (most of the time), we only have students from our schools (so their all used to our teaching methods) and we now have ten months plus teaching experience.
As the school semester winds down and we reach the end of the English textbook we’re granted a bit more lesson freedom, so I’ve been choosing to teaching a couple of Christmas themed lessons. This week my 6th graders are singing Jingle Bell Rock and writing letters to Santa. This is the letter template I gave them.
Christmas is coming and I am waiting for your visit.
This year I would like many things for Christmas.
I want a box of chocolates and an iPhone.
Thank you Santa. I am very excited.
I want isn’t the best expression to use but the lesson was based on dialogue learned earlier in the year and I wanted to keep them similar. I encouraged them to think about what they wanted and then complete the letter. Here are their top five requests from Santa.
I want a(n)…….iPhone, iPad, Nintendo DSi, mobile phone, PC game.
and here are some of the ‘other’ requests….
I want….a handsome guy.
I want to…take a trip in a plane.
I want a….six pack.
I want a…hot body and new gloves.
Last week this same group of sixth graders wrote letters to their friends. Here are a couple of standouts.
Hello? How are you? I am fine.
I like you. You are sad and fat, but cute.
Do you like me?
How are you? I’m so so.
We need to talk, urgent.
Please don’t do that dirty action. OK?
Your friend Gee-young.
How are you? I’m very bad.
I need a friend but not you. OK?
I don’t like you. Please don’t write me.OK?
Not your friend. Minho
My students have a habit of surprising me; sometimes it’s a cute gesture, sometimes it’s a simple sentence in English and sometimes it’s something completely random. Today I received a gift from one of my 4th grade students that fits into all three categories – an English storybook written especially for me about milk elves.
Today is D-Day for 712,227 third year high school students who will take the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT). It halts traffic, sometimes even aircraft, causes deaths and closes schools.What does this mean for us? Well, I got a nice sleep in today as my elementary school is close enough to a high school to justify starting late, and Neil, well, it means nothing to him; school as usual.
The nine hour test will determine the university each student attends and ultimately their success in the future. When looking online for more information about the test, I stumbled across this article from 2008. It sums up South Korea’s national obsession with the test.
Like most kids, our Korean students come up with some real pearls of wisdom. Here are a handful of our favorite quotes from our students over the past few months.
What happens when I decide to wear my green jumper to school.
SS: “Neil teacher, kaggle, kaggle.”
SS: “Teacher, frog.”
SS: “Neil teacher, why you do not diet?”
NT: “I am on a diet. Why do I look fat?”
SS: “Yes, fat. But it looks good on you.”
Mid class I realise I need to go to the bathroom..urgently, I return ten minutes later.
SS: “Neil teacher you make number 2?”
SS: “You know, number 2?”
NT: (laughs) “Well it was more like a number 10 but…”
Later I realise my co-teacher taught them number 2 while I was in the bathroom.
SS: “Geri teacher, your husband, I see, bike.”
GT: “Oh OK…”
SS: “He has big head, big arms. Big brain? Good job!”
After a couple of my students saw my friend Lara after school.
SS: “Geri teacher you know lala?”
GT: “Lala? Like lalalalala (singing).”
SS: “Teacher no! Lala chingu (friend).”
GT: “Oh Lara! Yes I know her.”
SS: “Geri teacher, Yu Jin hacking!”
GT: “Huh? She’s what?”
SS: “Yu Jin paper, look me!”
GT: “Oh! You mean cheating…”
SS: “Geri teacher, haircut chang-ee. Your head looks big!”
GT: (Under my breath) “Awesome! That’s the exact look I was after, thanks!”
Holding a picture card with someone making a sandwich on it.
SS: “Kevin can’t go to the park today.”
SS: “Because he is baking.”
GT: “Really? You’re sure it’s not because he’s hungry?”
SS: “Yes, baking is very serious illness.”
Showing a picture of Neil and Ross in Mafia costume.
GT: “What are they dressed as?”
GT: “They wear suits and have guns.”
SS: “Oh. They’re teachers!”
SS: “Geri you baby?”
GT: “No, no baby.”
SS: “Really? Sex no?”
SS: “Sex? (Students make humping actions) Sex, no?”
GT:”….um” (walks away).
I arrive five minutes late to class.
GT: “Sorry I’m late.”
SS: “Geri, you 똥 (ddong)?” (make a poo)
SS: (Student makes pooing gesture)
GT: “NO! I was blowing my nose. I have a cold.”
We’re halfway through semester two and I don’t really feel like I’ve been doing much teaching. My classes seem to get canceled left and right for activities – sports day, test day, English competitions, various field trips and this week; school performance day.
Like a giant school talent show, each class prepared performances, decorated their homerooms and showcased their artwork, science projects and the like. Here are a few pictures to give you an idea of how talented some of my students are.
Today is the first day of our four-day Chuseok (추석) holiday. As a celebration of the good harvest, millions of Koreans visit their ancestral hometowns and share a feast of traditional Korean food. People also use this time to pay respects to the spirits of their ancestors, performing worship rituals and visiting the tombs to trim plants and make offerings.
Gift giving is a big part of the Chuseok holiday. Our schools gave each of us a gift box containing cooking oils – canola, grape seed and rice bran.
Chuseok is typically a three-day holiday however both our schools have opted to close on the Friday as well. We’re using this extra long break to take a four-day trip to CHINA! Woohoo, see you when we get back.
Sports Day at a Korean elementary school is almost as important as national test day and much more important than English class.
How do I know this? Because my classes have been randomly cancelled for the past three weeks so my students can practice skipping, running, hula hooping and synchronised aerobics. Here are Geri’s students practicing the Korean national stretch routine.
On Friday, all 1,200 and something students from Yongam Elementary were joined by their teachers, parents and grandparents for Sport’s Day. I had a great time chatting with the students, meeting their parents and enjoying the days festivities.
Here are some highlights from Geri’s Sports Day.