Tag Archive: teaching

Shake, Shake!

Last week in science class with my GS students we didn’t have an assigned project.  Usually we do these silly little prepackaged projects from these books.  Some of them are fun and some of them are just ridiculously pointless. Anyway, last week I suppose they didn’t come in on time because we were told it would be a “review week”.  These aren’t really things you can review because these poor kids don’t even get half the things you say to them most days.

So I decided to do something fun and make a project to keep them busy and to let them have fun.  I finally settled on the idea of making ice cream in baggies.  The kids had a great time.  It was a little more messy than I would have hoped, and I probably should have had them work in teams instead of individually, but hey I know better for next time I suppose.

I looked up a basic how-to guide on-line just to get some accurate measurements and tested it at home the night before just to make sure it would work. It was really easy and I used chocolate milk just to skip a lot of extra steps.

Meet GS4A. From the left row front to back and the right row back to front  Sally, Daniel, Christal, Julia, Tom, Steve, and James.  They are a handful.  The boys in this class are hardcore.  They talk 100 miles and hour and they love to destroy…everything.

Daniel is a weird child.  I teach his sister Bella, too and  I would love to meet their parents.  They are very strange kids.  Definitely marching to a way off beat drum.  Daniel kept wanting to lick the salt.  It was gross and unsanitary and I just couldn’t reason with him.  I am sure his sodium levels were spiked for days.

James and Julia shaking away.  The bags got really cold, of course, so I had brought some hand towels to class for them to use when they needed them.

Stillll Shaking!

Poor Sally, she is one of my favorites. She was so excited about her awesome looking ice cream, but some how some of the salt got mixed in with her milk, and she had some terrible tasting ice cream.  I did give her a new chocolate milk to make up for it though.  Other than her mishap and a few not quite frozen situations everyone’s turned out great.

맛있는!  (delicious!)

It’s a little blurry because Daniel wouldn’t hold the cup still, but yay! icecream!

And it was during their last class of the day, so I sugared them up and then put them on the bus home.  ^_^


oooooh children…

Many times my kids say some really funny things, or write them in their journals and I always mean to share them on here but then I forget, which I hate buuuut yeah.

h’okay so. Today’s episode was just too funny not to share. I warn you it might be slightly offensive?

I was teaching GS 3 science today.  The class is composed of 2 girls and 3 boys.  The boys are silly and are always talk, talk, talking.  Today’s unit involved making shapes out of tangrams.  We went over the usual square, triangle, lozenge and then put together numbers, cats, foxes, people, and so on.  Once we were done and had time to kill I let them create their own shapes.  I made a butterfly at one point and then moved on to the next shape when one of the boys was like look teacher I made a butterfly with a 고추=gochu I was like hochu? pepper? a butterfly with a pepper? Then I realized that I had just had a conversation with my friends about how the word pepper and penis were ridiculously similar in Korean to the point that foreigners often say it wrong.

So I have this kid pointing to this blue lozenge telling me its a butterfly penis. Really kid? I was like ummm what?! the other kids were giggling and I was kind of in shock.  I quickly tried to explain how that was really inappropriate and make him stand with his hands up, which he refused to do after telling me no and got in bigger trouble for, but anyway it was ridiculous.  He is this little, whacky, 7 year old kid telling me he made a butterfly to top mine because his had a penis. Kids these days I tell ya.

on a side note the word for vagina and tuna are also a very similar sound annnd I think I have been saying the wrong version while ordering my kimbap.  No wonder the woman always looks at me a little funny. sheesh.

And, tomorrow we are supposed to be getting radioactive rain. Awesome.  They are saying only trace amounts, but I am kind of hoping for some Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs kind of action. ^_^

I’m a goldfish?

Tuesday we finalized everything for the boyfriend’s flight. I was super excited and already counting down the days until July 21st, and by counting down you know I mean like I just happened to notice that at that time it was 135 days away not really counting because who really counts that far in advance right?

So anyway, I went to work looked at my calendar and decided to put in for my vacation time. I figured giving my boss 4 months and 19 days (again who’s counting, right?) would be plenty of time in advance, and I put it in writing just to cover all my bases. Only I gave it to her, she looked at me, looked at the dates and laughed. She laughed at me.

She then tried to tell me that because we will be on a summer intensives schedule that taking time on a M,W,F would be impossible.  there would be absolutely no way for her to find a substitute, you know 4 months and 19 days in advance. really? really? not at all? eh?

I was growing more and more frustrated with her as she proceeded to take me into the teachers work room where all of our desks are and continue to spread all of my business throughout the office. Thanks for being so professional Ma’am. She is having Eileen tell me the same thing she had just told me.  Then I grew so overwhelmed that I kind of broke and cried. I know that at 23 I shouldn’t be crying at work over something like this, but I had been so excited and she ripped all of that away by telling me that even though he will be here for 5 weeks and I am only asking for 4 days of my 10 off that it just can’t be done. right.

She then decided that she would take them into further consideration and see what she could do. Here is the kicker though, I had a co-worker during winter intensives take 3 vacation days one a Monday and one a Friday. So why the double standard you ask? Yeah I couldn’t get a reason either.

The day only got better when I misread the schedule and wasn’t there to teach a class that I was supposed to be in and she came barreling into the office when I got back demanding I get to my class right away because Rachel was having to teach it. She was a saint for covering for me.  After class though apparently my boss could tell I was still mad at her for the earlier fiasco and asked Eileen why I couldn’t just let it go.  Rachel said it best by pointing out we aren’t goldfish our rebound and attention rates aren’t 3 seconds. Of course I am still mad at her.

Rachel being awesome bought almond kisses and a coke and left them with a funny note on my desk after my class.

I still won’t look at or talk to my boss. She is one of those people that really really hates when people are upset with her and has to fix it. Well, until she tells me that we can get a sub and I get my days that are in my contract, then I will be unprofesh too and just pretend she isn’t even there. Childish, but effective as many stories from previous similar instances suggest.

The good news is that there is time to worry about it later.

Month 3

I am 1 week shy of my 3 month mark here in Korea. Time was flying by until this week. Working days really makes the work day feel never ending. Things have been a mess there for me and I am just waiting for the talk I know is coming about something I am doing wrong. My boss just likes to find things to pick on sometimes.

Anyway, this monthly update comes with pictures! I realized during the holidays that my hair was becoming unmanageable here. I have really healthy hair and it can withstand a lot, but the dry gross weather and air here were just taking hair disasters to a whole new level so since I best Korean friend’s mom is a hairdresser I headed over to her salon and prayed really hard that when I asked her to chop off my hair that it would end well.

Korean and Western hair are soooo very different. Westerners tend to have much finer hair in comparison and it retains about ten times the water. Anyway, I showed her some pictures and she went to work. I was kind of panicked at one point as my friend Eileen made this noise that in the States means like yeaaaah that’s bad. Like sucking air loudly through your teeth. Yeah well as her mom is chopping away she makes this noise simply because my wet hair is curling and she is curious about the curly level of shorter hair or something, but I was scared to death her mom had slaughtered my hair or some such. Luckily though, it was just curiosity. Anyway before annnnd after 🙂

My hair grows waaaay fast here. It was like that in Denmark too. Very strange.

I looooooove it. Her mom did suuuch a good job.

Also, I am down 12 pounds and joining the gym this month. Body image really is something you are aware of all the time here. I eat such good food and its so healthy. I would stay here forever just for the cheap eats.

The holidays are over and things are settling down some, but there are still a lot of birthdays and things coming up.

And I need to take a moment to share with you something that made me terribly excited yesterday.  My mom sent me a package from home and I hadn’t received it and I was getting nervous that it got lost or something.  I called the post office and they said there was no such package. I was soooo frustrated. Then, yesterday this little guard my building has knocks on my door and tells me I need to come downstairs. Mostly we converse in gestures because he is probably 70 and his English is limited to “hello” and “what is your name?” so I followed him downstairs and my package from home has been sitting for a week in his office and no one thought to leave me a note or anything. I was kind of angry at first, but glad that it wasn’t lost. My mom though sent me sooooo much awesome stuff I can’t wait to really dig into it all. Spices, bullion cubes, peanut butter, mixes, candies, and Christmas stuff.

and of course Hans von Mouseman was very interested in the new box and just licked everything inside. He is so weird.

Overall, this month has just been busy and came to a sudden halt with the arrival of my day schedule at work.  I am becoming increasingly frustrated with the administration at work, and looking forward to the end of January and returning to a normal schedule.

This month I sat down and really studied the Korean language and can now succesfully read everything, even if I don’t know what the words mean. That part comes next. I love having my conversation and cooking classes with Eileen.  We put them on hold for the holidays and are trying to work around busy schedules and ridiculous work things.  If not they will pick up again in February.

I am also counting down until the end of March when hopefully it will start to warm up and I no longer have to wear a billion layers of clothes so that it doesn’t actually feel like the 7 degrees it really is outside most nights. I couldn’t stay here for a second year I don’t think just because I am a wimp for the cold and it is killing me here. It is a bitter, bitter winter in Korea.

I am looking forward to wrapping up month 3 and the first quarter of my adventure here.

Winter Intensives

With the beginning of the new year comes winter vacation for Korean children.  They get 1 month off in the winter from school.  Now at home this usually means kids wear pajamas for days on end and watch lots of television.  Of course, in Korea it means their parents send them to even more academies and they have just as much work as if they were in regular school.

We started a new schedule at my work and it has been a very rocky transition.  We have known the change was coming for months now. Literally it is the same every year.  Since the kids don’t have school we work days. 8:30-5:30…I might not make it through January for this very reason.  I am soooooo not a morning person, therefore these days are really awful. The other schedule is perfect for my night owl lifestyle.

Anyway, so this change over…originally we were supposed to have Wednesday as a free day for planning and organizing.  That was changed though and we just had regular classes. Well, it’s Wednesday and we still don’t know our new schedules.  We finally get them at 8:45pm. No joke. 12 hours before we have to be back at work with new classes, books, kids, etc. Then my boss thinks it is funny to laugh and ask why the foreign teachers work so hard when we are still at work at 11pm last night. I was fuming. We were still at work scrambling to organize so that we would be prepared for our 9am classes. If we had received our schedules and new books earlier then there would have been no late night and frustration.

I just don’t understand how some people can have a complete lack of disregard for us.  The Korean teachers all received their schedules mid day yesterday and were much more prepared and able to leave at a very reasonable hour.

I recognize this is really becoming a rant. So sorry about that, but the frustration being felt by the foreign teachers is really high today.

Anyway, so I have new classes. So far I like them. I am re-teaching some of my favorite classes from last semester which is fun.  Also, I am going to be working Saturdays in January which will be nice.  It is only for a couple of hours and totally worth the overtime.

Also, Korea…in winter…death trap.  It has been snowing here this week.  Snowing a couple of inches throughout the entire week…salt? salt? I am not sure they know what it is or at least not in mass amounts.  Quite literally they will walk on the sidewalk until the snow compacts down to a layer of nice and then continue to walk across it.  I have already fallen a couple of times because my shoes just don’t have the grip.  We are thinking about getting some cross country skis and poles to just take care of the problem. 🙂 In real life though its way dangerous and scary.  I am more afraid of dying by falling on the ice than I am of N. Korea. fact.

Overall, winter intensives…are intense.

one bright thing


What a day I had. Mondays are my favorite days in Korea and Fridays are becoming more and more my least favorite which I think is really sad. It used to be such a reverse situation.

Today though was by far a trying day. Mr. Lee one of the front desks assistants at my academy forgot to call the internet company and set up the appointment. I was pretty bummed about this. I had this weekend planned for just catching up on a couple of shows and relaxing and doing some crafts. Now I will be getting internet Monday. Only a couple more days but for some reason I was really upset by this. I was looking forward to Skyping with my sister and seeing the new baby in action. Oh well. Just will have to wait.

I also had a class today that was so incredibly bad. They are normally difficult but I can keep them in check and have learned that some students magically are good when you just ignore them and pay them no attention. Today though no matter what they were rude and refused to listen. I wanted to cry I got so frustrated. Literally I made a student stand up and write his essay. That didn’t work. I made him stand right next to me. That didnt work. I made him stand nose in the corner. No joke. He still had the guts to turn around and throw gum wrappers at me. SERIOUSLY?!?! That’s all I could say to them over and over again. I was appalled that they could be that bad. They wouldn’t stop talking, and more so they wouldn’t stop talking in Korean. They barely tried to write their essays. I was just over them. I wanted to kick the whole class to the curb. I literally would have thrown out 8 students if I could have. One boy had me check his homework then looked at me and while looking me dead in the eye crumpled it up and threw it at another student’s head. Why? Why are they such brats?

Then in another class, Bob…oh Bob. There is a picture of him in the Halloween entry. Anyway during a class change he threw a drink out the window. We are on the fourth floor of a very busy building over a very busy area. Why he thought this was a good idea is beyond me. Of course the liquid landed on a man who came up to the academy to complain. So that class was full of a lot of sobbing, mom calling, and chaos.

Then I found out some of my favorite classes of older kids will be moving to the middle school academy in January. So sad. They are fun to chat with and really easy to teach. That is just the nature of the academy I suppose.

However, I am sooooo glad to admit I received my first mail from the states today. I adore getting mail. It seriously makes me so happy. I know its silly, it is just mail, but no I adore mail. Today I got the cutest card with a fun present from Donna. Donna was pretty much my mom while I was in Boston. She always sewed my clothes, baked yummy treats, and made sure I was eating right. She was soooo great to me and I loved getting a card from her. Hi Donna! I am going to send you a card back next week! 🙂

If you want to send me mail haha I am more than willing to give you my address. I mean you don’t have to, but you know if you want to…just saying.

I love mail. I put Steve from Blue’s Clues (I babysit waaaaay too much in the states haha) to shame with my happy mail dance and songs. So that little card was the bright little spot in my otherwise pretty miserable Friday.

Random Side Notes

Today was a really good story day at school. I also have recently found some good links I want to share. Enjoy 🙂

1. This afternoon Rachel teacher gave a pumpkin caramel to a student named Stephen.  We didn’t know it but he had a loose tooth and all of a sudden we heard commotion in the lobby. Sure enough the candy had pulled out his tooth. It was pretty funny to see him in shock. The rest of the day she handed out the candies with a warning.

2. Eileen had a student ask her why ‘sun of a beach’ was a bad phrase. It sounded like a good day to her. I couldn’t help but laugh. How do you even respond to that?

3. I have a really intelligent student named Gabe. He tends to get bored during listening class and fiddles with things. I have to constantly snap at him to focus. Today though he looked like he was paying attention while twirling a rubber band on his pen up near his forehead. Well the rubber band slipped and it suddenly was twisted up tight right in the bang part of his shaggy little hair cut. I was a terrible teacher and laughed just a little and I tried to untwist it but it was just pulling worse and I didn’t have time to really do anything so I just led him to the front desk and let them take care of it. He came back a bit later rubber band free. Sometimes these kids are so ridiculous.

4. Sometimes they can be terribly mean though. Last Thursday I had a student in my first class tell me she didn’t like my handwriting. It was too loopy. Then in my next class I had a student tell me it was unbelievable that I could have a boyfriend because he didn’t think I was pretty at all. Awesome. Thanks Kevin. Lastly, that same day I had a student tell me something ridiculous that I don’t remember. Blunt. That is the main word I would use to describe Korean children.

5. You can follow this link to a neat quiz posted on the CNN website in their ilink section that has lots of neat info about South Korea.

6. I have also had a crazy time trying to figure out Korean ages, but I found this nifty blog that does some awesome explaining and calculating.

7. Also on Ask a Korean! I cried my way through this entry about a meeting between families in the North and South Koreas. It made me very thankful that no matter where in the US my family lives, at least I have the freedom to visit them and speak with them regularly.

8. On a happier note I am looking forward to checking out the Seoul Lantern Festival this Sunday.

9. One of my favorite notes: food. If you want to be adventurous like me and try your hand at Korean dishes I would recommend Aeri’s Kitchen. She has tons of authentic and easy to make recipes.

Halloween Part 2

ok so, I know that this is now officially late, but what can you do? I am working with what I have.

So here are some pictures from the Halloween workshop and a couple of my classes. My camera battery of course died about half way through my night.

My coworkers and me. Rachel is from Connecticut and Rob is from New Jersey. My arm looks all silly because Eileen was having trouble working my camera and I wasn’t really ready haha so it goes. We all make a pretty good team.

We carved a pumpkin. Pumpkins definitely do not look the same here, nor do they carve the same.  Plus all we had to carve it with was a pocket knife type of deal. No joke. I cut the top off. I used to screw drivers to wedge it out. the walls of the pumpkin are thicker here. Definitely not modified for annual carving. The kids loved it though.

These are all of the GS, which stands for growing seeds, in the big classroom. They are 7-9 year olds. They are my favorite kids to teach. They are so young they still like learning and are excited to be studying and reading. They also loved our crafts and games.

The three girls in the back are my GS9A class. Level 9 is really high. The one on the right in the middle is Helle, my boss’s daughter, and she speaks better English than her mom. They are my all time favorite class. They love to talk about anything and they always do their work and are prepared for class and just genuinely are easy and fun to teach. They are all so cute though. Front left is Amy, she is in my GT6A class. She is really funny and very particular about things. She can get frustrated easily but tries really hard.

Okay, so, I don’t actually teach this awesome kid, but I reaaaallly wish I did. She will come in our office and dance or just say the most hilarious things. She was mimicking the scary face we drew on her ghost lollipop. She also very much wanted me to take this picture so it only makes sense I share it with you all.

Meet Janice, Grace, and Lauren. Janice and Grace are cousins and very talkative. Lauren is really nice but I can never get her to talk in class. Of course the boys and girls refused to be in the same picture. They just like making my life difficult sometimes. Overall though this class is a good one. They let out a few zingers that make me turn around and look at the board because I have to fight back laughing at the funny thing they don’t even know they said.

and these are the boys in that class. Up front is Kevin and to the left is his twin brother Andy. They are so cute and really smart and they dress the same every single day. It is really normal here for twins to dress the same until they are 12 or so. There are 3 sets of twins in our academy which can be kind of confusing. To the right of Kevin is Danniel and behind him Michael. Next to Michael is Leo who was clearly very against having his picture taken. And lastly the other little guy in glasses is Gin. Gin is so smart and tests in the top 5% of the academy. I love to see his face when he has those light bulb moments and realizes the answer to what I am asking.

oh this class. Some days I love them and other days I want to throw my dry erase markers at them, which would be perfectly acceptable in Korea.

From left to right, Lina, Lauren, Alice, Sunny, Bob, Nick, Kevin, and James.

The girls in this class are no trouble and if anything helpful. The boys however, they are a handful. Bob is the ring leader. He is smart mouthed but funny so it is hard to really get frustrated with him. Nick is so smart and gets bored easily because he should be in a higher class. When all 4 boys gang up on me it’s like a circus. They aren’t at all bad compared to my terrible 2 classes, but they are kids so they get a little sidetracked.

The rest of my classes are mostly older kids and aren’t nearly as cute as these couple of classes, but they all love Hangman and Halloween just the same. 🙂

When a student misunderstands

Last week in one of my writing classes the students had to outline and draft an essay about what they think are the three most important qualities an English teacher should have.

I really don’t care for my writing classes in terms of the material, but that is mostly just because I don’t really always remember or follow the rules of writing. This though made me laugh and shake my head a little.

Anyway, one of my students, Alicia, didn’t fully understand the topic. She told me she didn’t and so she just wrote three things about me instead. Today I finally sat down to grade the essays and now I am going to share with you English mishaps and mistakes and my name misspelled 4 times I feel like that make up the essay about Alison Teacher.

“I think First Alison teacher is kind. Because she tries to communicate with is. She teaches us well (delicately) and she stamps alot. (That’s good!) Second, Alison teacher is delicate. She checks homework everyday. And her lessons are fun. Last if we don’t homework, she advice to us. Example like this “why your didn’t have homework? In next time you must have homework, ok?” Finally teacher Alison is stylish. Because she wears special clothes. For example, she wear purple color of stockings. And she wears special bangles. For example shape of banana, other shape… And her style is peculiar. Because her clothes is so special. I think girl’s style, so, I think Alison teacher is kind, delicate, and stylish”

Today in class I thanked her for writing nice things about me. I was tempted to ask what she meant by peculiar.  I also think its funny she pointed out the color of my tights because Korean women where tons of colored tights, and I am no where as fashionable as them.  I am still rocking my v necks and cardigans and just recognize I couldn’t wear half of what Korean women can anyway.

Silly bandz are like gold here.  You can bribe a kid to do anything if you offer them silly bandz. I recently asked my mom to send me more packs for this very purpose because the extras I brought with me are running low. Oh, and I don’t have one shaped like a banana but I think its funny that she chose that shape to list.

Also, I am constantly asking students why they don’t do their homework. They know I have 3 rules for my classes. 1. No Korean. 2. Bring your book to class. 3. Do your homework. It is really very simple.

All in all I am glad she likes me though

So one of my younger students, Hellen, came into class today. She had lost a tooth yesterday and was showing off her new gap.

So I asked her what they do with their teeth in Korea and if they were visited by something like a tooth fairy.

H: No teacher. roof. umm roof we throw.

Me: You throw your teeth on the roof?

H: Yes teacher and the bird comes and gets it and then brings you a new one.

iiiinteresting.What a way to dispose of teeth. I kind of hope I get to see a small kid throwing teeth in action one day. It also makes me wonder where the tradition came from. I tried looking it up but I didn’t find much. But I am still intrigued by this. They laughed when I said we don’t throw our teeth we put them under our pillows.

Then when I told them we got money in the States for our teeth they were amazed. Though she said I was a liar for saying the tooth fairy existed.

Me: well Hellen, do you believe in Santa?

H: *rolls her eyes* Yes teacher

Me: Well its kind of a known fact that Santa and the Tooth fairy are best friends. How did you not know that?

H: oh really teacher?

Me: yeah and the Easter Bunny.

H:Easter Bunny?

Me: Yeah we can talk about him later though.

There were interjections by Dorothy in there too but they were mostly to support Hellen, though I appreciate how often they talk and how much they enjoy teaching me things. I have to give them vocab tests in Korean and today they told me my Korean writing was getting better haha go me.