creativity

Time to take the Nah out of NaPoWriMo!

It's beginning to feel that every time I post I have to start with an apology for being gone so long. At this point, is there really a...point? Does anyone really expect me to stick to a schedule, when I've never proven myself able to do such a thing? This distracting sidetracking is why I never get anything written, no doubt.

It's been a weird few months. I'm in a rut, just auto-piloting between school and work and work and Korean class and school. I know something needs to change in my life, but until I'm absolutely sure what it is, I don't want to do anything big. Hell, I'm even keeping myself from cutting my hair or changing the color drastically, which is a big step for me.

No Room to Grow

While talking with one of my brightest students about her high school and college and job plans, her hopes and dreams, I told her to just find the thing that makes her happy, and try to do that as a job. She looked a me for a moment, a look of confusion on her face before saying:

"I don't have that."

In our whole conversation about job goals, I never once heard any hint of what she would enjoy doing. I know what her dad wants her to do, what her teachers want her to do, and she certainly knows which jobs are most difficult to get and which pay the most. But apparently there's nothing she loves to do.

This makes me really sad.

I know it's rather old hat to complain about the harshness of the Korean school system, but I'm going to jump right in regardless. These are the things I witness on a daily basis. This is the stuff I talk with my students about. I don't know how to fix it, but I can at least give a view from the inside.

Who Wins: ‘Mr. Bean’ or ‘100 Angry Grandmothers’?

Hello, fellow ESL teachers. Do you have 10 minutes to kill in a class? Have you already shown your students every (currently available on YouTube) episode of the animated Mr. Bean series? Are your kids bored to death of Hangman or–in the case of South Korea–“Nunchi Game,” where they each stand up in the order of words or numbers on the board and the last one to stand is out? Do you have a class that is relatively advanced in English and can offer some creative discourse? Or, do you have a class that barely offers input at all?


This Week Out There – April 19th-25th

Ah! The Luxury of Moving House

Moving house is never fun, and moving as an expat can carry added difficulties. Being mobile requires one to frequently let go of many things, so the process of deciding what to leave behind can be especially fraught.


Blackout Poetry (Part 1)

This week I did a lesson on blackout poetry with my intermediate level high school students! Normally the project is done with texts from newspapers, magazines or novels, but I was worried about the vocabulary being too broad/out of reach. I wanted my students to focus on having fun, being creative, and playing with the language, rather than looking up/learning new words. So instead, I typed up a batch of their weekly English essays, omitted the names, and returned them for use with this assignment! Not only did this assure that the vocabulary was appropriate, it also made the assignment more personal and interesting!


How 20% of the School Day Got Me 100% Success

Presenting Their ProjectsThe leaders at Google believe that people are happier and more productive when they spend 20% of their time at work on a personal project, something that interests them, gets them fired up and invites the creative juices to flow. So, for part of Winter Camp 2015, I gave my students the opportunity to do just that! For two weeks they worked one hour each day on an independent project of their choice, and finished by presenting to their classmates. The only catch was that they had to use English in SOME WAY. From creative music videos to a detailed analysis of different educational systems arond the world, they produced some amazing work!


The College Students

Yeah man, they really are as great as you think. There’s no more screaming, no more dong-chimming, and very little in the way of running around and hitting. I’ve taught five classes so far this week at my Korean university, and each was actually a pleasant relief from the rest of the things going on in my life. If you can believe it, when I left those classrooms I felt better than when I first stepped inside.


Paint Today ~ Work Tomorrow



I go back to work tomorrow. I will be teaching for about 2 and half weeks before heading into about seven days off before I hop on the plane. Maybe it's because I feel like I am caught up on what I need to do to leave, or the cold weather outside kept me in. But I took the painting bug I was feeling yesterday and extended it to today.

Needed Some Green in My Life


I'm not one for winter, especially living in an urban city. I would rather enjoy winter back home in my dad's small town. Generally, I have been missing seeing green leaves on trees. What happens in Seoul in the winter is that the various shades of concrete on the sidewalk and the stoney grey on the buildings stand out. Ok, it's not that dreary! But in retrospect summer and spring are probably more scenic in Korea, than winter.

The Foreign/er Blog Banners

If you have read my blog for some time, you would know that I often change the picture header-image on the top. Over the years this amounts to several different headers and schemes for the layout of this blog. Since this blog is heading towards it's end I thought I would celebrate all the different incarnations the header came into being over the years.

Please feel free to comment on which was your favorite and not-so loved header. I'll definitely miss finding the right picture, tweaking it in Photoshop and updating this blog.

(In no real order...)


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