teaching English

Friends with Strangers – Orientation

On arriving at Incheon Airport, after going through immigration and picking up way, way too much luggage, you find yourself looking around for other lost (foreign) souls with equally as much luggage. We are all going to be in Korea for a year, no way we could stuff our belongings into just one bag. The comforts of home require space and a herculean effort to lift, roll and drag around the things that will be our lives for a long time. It’s worth the effort.

Before you have the chance to pass out on the bus to Jeonju, you look outside and see an expanse of sea and greenery cut by clean steel. I remember thinking that I really am 7000 miles from home. But in a cool, awesome,”woah, wth” kind of way.


The Writer’s Dreams

In the morning I wake up when it’s still dark, make a pot of coffee, and write until the baby wakes up, usually around 8:30. I play with him until he goes to daycare at around 10. Then I write or edit until 5PM, when I have to either head out to do a little work or pick up the baby, playing with him until around 10PM, when my wife puts him to sleep. If I’m lucky I’ll get a chance to run around outside for an hour. This has been my schedule, more or less, for the last two months, thanks to the incredibly generous winter vacation I get from my Korean university. I’ve finished three ebooks as a result, and I’m desperate, now, to publish them before I have to go back to work on the fourth of March. I’m currently waiting for some volunteer readers to get back to me with the comments they can post to amazon.com: the moment two or three of them say they’re ready to go, I’m posting.


3 Truths and a Lie

I teach an after school English class for some of the more advanced students in my elementary school.  Today, we played the game 3 Truths and A Lie.  I told them to write down 3 true sentences and 1 lie.  We didn't have enough time to read them outloud in class today and guess which sentence was the lie, so I collected their papers and tucked them away for next week's class... but not before reading a few to see what they came up with!  

Korean Judo Master Interview

I simply cannot believe the response to the video I posted of my judo instructor.  Off a whim I asked him to show some of his physical abilities through the exercises he uses in his own personal training regimen.  So he did and I filmed.  I left the videos on my camera for over a month before I got around to putting a video together.  I figured it would be just another judo workout video to most.  Let's just say I was wrong.

With the likes of WWE superstar/pro MMA fighter, Bobby Lashley, and fitness guru Ross Enamait tweeting the video, it just went crazy.  See it for yourself here.

Biking At Night In Gyeongju

Pedaling through Gyeongju at night. This is a flat city, built millennia ago beneath the great sheltering wall of South Mountain, and unlike the near-vertical drops of Busan you can really get around in this place if you’ve got a bike: only the crisscrossing four-lane highways pose any danger, and the traffic lights go on forever. Even as I bike here I’ve got New York on my mind: there at least the lights change after just a few seconds.


Pictures of Team MAD MMA Practice

I am now training at Team MAD Busan - an MMA academy.  Interesting that it turns out some top notch pro fighters like Kim Dong-Hyun of the UFC but is not very well marketed.  It may just be that it isn't marketed to the international crowd yet, but there is very little on the internet about where they are and how to find them if you are a foreigner.



Not Everything Sucks In Korea

 

Yesterday morning I was greeted at random by one of the university security guards, who smiled, bowed, and offered up such a polite peace-be-upon-you that I could barely respond to him. The baby had cried a bit the night before—we’ve both caught the same terrible cold, but as usual my wife’s implacable immune system has left her completely unscathed—and I was still smarting from the wounds leftover from battling random strangers on the internet, so it was not until I found myself conversing with one of my nicer students a few hours later that I realized how foul my mood was.


not fair...

I remember being a kid and asking my mom on Mother's day, why there was no childrens day? It doesn't seem fair that Mothers and Father's get a day all for themselves, especially since, it seemed to me at that age, that they got whatever they wanted all the time! Her answer was always the same, "everyday is Children's Day." I however, disagreed.

Now looking back, I see that it was pretty sweet being a kid, no responsibilities, you can run around and play all the time - but wait, I teach 5 year old kids and their life isn't all peaches; they have so much pressure on them to learn many important things, everyone tells them what to do (including me!) and they are always getting into trouble, they can never just be kids and do what they want to do. Being a kid sucks sometime since children grow up so fast these days and start studying and working very hard, very young.

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The Lives Of The Rich

The position of the legal English tutor guarantees a sort of freedom that is rarely seen in Korea—the freedom to see how different families live. As teachers in public schools or hagwons we meet and yell at droves of Korean children, guessing the socioeconomic class of each individual by the amount of time we spend yelling at him, or her, as richer kids have been disciplined by years of round-the-clock schooling while their poorer peers are so free and so wild and so far behind everyone else that they have almost no hope of ever catching up.

Low maintenance kids have mothers, aunts, and perhaps even fathers, to take care of them; high maintenance kids have little beyond their teachers at school.


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