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Teacher Voodoo

I randomly came upon this video the other day, and for someone who teaches both Kindergarten and 2nd grade, this video is like teacher voodoo. 

I mean seriously these kids look like professional actors in comparison to the daily dose of calamity that seems to rule over my class.




 I'm totally planning on trying to introduce the 'blow the answer in your hand' technique tomorrow.  The key word here is trying. 

Now I've been teaching in traditional and non-traditional ways for quite a few years now, but watching these "Whole Brain Teaching" videos made me feel super teacher-y, and also super inspired.  Both the class and the teacher appear to have a great understanding and love of learning, which who doesn't want for their class. 

KAs@Work: Yul Kwon, TV Host of ‘America Revealed’ and ‘LinkAsia’

It's Not in the Basement of the Alamo!

Today was a practically perfect day!

I got to play hostess to my awesome friend Ahnna on her trip down to Busan.
I bought some new perfume.
Had a great lunch with Ahnna, did a bit of window shopping.  


Oh yeah, and I bought a bike!


I bought a bike and I biked all over my neighborhood and even to the beach. 





Isn't she cute?

I feel like PeeWee I love her so much!

Being Negative in Korea and the Worst of All Beginnings.

Many people come to South Korea to work. and for some. the change of culture can be too great.  It is very easy to fall into a negative frame of mind and wish for a swift end to your stay.  Most foreigners, out of a sense of duty, and also a tidy sum in their back pocket at the end of it all, see out their contracts as teachers.  But a year is a long time and it is almost possible to see some people walking around with a permanent black cloud over their heads.  I should know, I myself was one of them.

Conferencing with Parents

Yesterday was the dreaded "Parent Teacher Conferences", and I am glad to report that I am still alive and well. 

I had found out about these conferences at the end of last month while looking at one of my student's newsletters.  Now my Korean is far from good, but I like to look at the news letters to get an idea of when this month's field trip is and when the monthly birthday party will grace me with more cake.  This time I saw mention of all the kindergarten classes and different dates-  I asked one of the Koreans about it and was told we were doing parent teacher conferences. 

Now I've taught open classes where the administration can come in and watch me teach, but this was my first parent teacher conference as a non-student. 

Cherry Blossom Festival

Welcome back to the Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival.  For those of you loyal readers you will remember that I've gone here before and had a great time.  This time around things were still really nice and I had a great time, but man was it ever busiser than the time before.  This time we had to wait 3 hours to get a bus back to Busan (a one hour bus trip). 

It's Official!

The Cherry Blossoms have finally bloomed, and Spring has finally sprung in Busan! 

So Happy Easter, Happy Passover, and Happy Weekend!  Spring is here and I could not be happier about it!!



The First Bloom of Spring ♥ Korea 2012

After an extra long winter and random snow just when it was starting to get warm~ At last the first bloom has started for spring here in Korea!  Nara and I found some small trees on the side of the road starting to open up so we jumped out to take a quick pic or two!

Soon Korea will be filled with beautiful flowers~ I can’t wait! ♥


Cat Bus!

South Korea doesn't have school buses. 

Or at least not how you and I think of school busses.  For public school the students either live close enough to walk to school, or get rides or take public transportation. 

But for pre-school/Kindergarten and afterschool classes the kids get picked up in vans that are kind of the equivalent of Church vans.  They hold about 10 kids or so and are usually bright yellow with the name of the school on the side. 

The Worwick vans aren't yellow, they're blue and gray - I guess to go with the color scheme of the school and the kids uniforms and whatnot. 

Anyway these vans are pretty much only used for schools so they're easy enough to spot on the street. 

Every once in awhile as I'm walking down my street on the way to school I see the COOLEST van ever. 

CAT BUS!! 

The A – Z of Korea

A is for anjou … anjou, oh anjou, I don’t really want to eat you because I’ve just had dinner and the idea of having to eat more really doesn’t make me want to stay drinking here. To add insult to injury, eating is cheating.

B is for booze … booze, yes booze. Korea is infamous for its alcohol consumption rate. Korea has one of the highest alcohol consumption rates in the OECD. You won’t here too many over in KNTO towers (or whatever the Korean tourism crowd is called now) sharing such interesting facts with you. What’s interesting about drink culture here is, even though there is so much alcohol consumed, drinking has so many social rules, it’s a wonder that anyone bothers with it at all.


Ssamziegil, Insadong

 
One of my favourite places in Seoul is Insadong (인사동) and Ssamziegil (쌈지길), which is part of Insadong.
 
This part of Seoul can be quite busy at times because it's a well-known tourist location. However, you definitely have to drop by before leaving Seoul. 
 
This place is so rich in culture where the old and the new of Korea co-exist. It's one of those places that makes you stop and think about Korea, not only what it is in the 21st century, but also about the long historical past that this country has.
 
If you initially became interested in Korea through Hallyu (K-pop or dramas), or you are more familiar with Korea as an economic miracle of the 20th century, then this will show you another part of this country. 
 

Salsa Dancing for a Cause – April 14!

 


A Month

I've been back for over a month, and this first month is VERY different than my last first month (yeah that's very confusing isn't it?).  This time around Korea feels a lot more like real life instead of a magical dream.  My school does require a lot more work out of me than my old school, and yet I don't mind.  It makes my days go by really quickly and it also makes me feel so much more like a real teacher instead of this weird and beloved prop.  Not to say that I didn't love my time at DaeGyo- just that teaching at Worwick is much more like teaching at a real school with more lesson plans and less down time. 

What I See When I Look at Korea

This past Sunday I took a walk exploring the southern tip of my peninsular neighborhood.  And it wasn't until I got home and looked at the pictures I took that I realized that a lot of them were examples of what I think of when I think of Korea, or how I see Korea. 

I love the older Korean homes.  When so much of Busan's population live in apartments, it's always a nice sight to see a bunch of older homes that have yet to be torn down and replaced by some big apartment complex.  There's also something so very Korean about the hodgepodge of houses and the tangle of wires that makes Korea's neighborhoods so fun to explore. 



Losing Friends: the nature of working in Korea

If you come to Korea to make new friends, seek new adventures, save money and travel, you have definitely made the right decision. Korea provides all that. One thing to consider, that you may not bargain for, is that your new friends will be saying “see ya later” in a short time. That is, if you plan to stay beyond your first contract year.


Sighns

Korea really does have a lot of English signage. Definitely a lot more than I had originally expected.  And a lot of the time it's perfectly fine... and other times it's not. 

Sometimes you come across a sign so wrong that there's nothing more you can do except take a picture and share some giggles with the world. 


Make-up shops in Korea are almost the same...



I feel like this one pops up frequently amongst residents of Busan, but it's too good to not include:

Blueberry Milk, Love and Choco pies

Oh, you funny student As I was snacking at work yesterday and talking to a student, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud as I realized what exactly my blueberry milk said: My student also thought it ridiculous how random products have things about love written on it. “I found insecticide…insect killer..it said, ‘If you [...]

Let's Go Fly a Kite

This past weekend at Dadaepo beach, Busan held a kite festival.  I love Dadaepo, it's one of my favorite beaches in Busan.  First of all it's huge, and rarely busy, or at least it never seems busy because of its size.  Also it's pretty far south so a bit off the radar for most people and a really great place to go camping (we went camping twice on Dadaepo, and I hope to go again this year). 

My Korean Family

In case you hadn't been reading my previous blogs, you might not know that I am an Englishman that is currently living in Korea and married to a Korean woman.  This has given me first hand experience of a fairly typical Korean family.  This is an experience that has not always been plain sailing and is interesting because the nature of the family here in Korea is completely different to that in Western countries, and a million miles away from that of my own.

Tea for the Day

Oh living in a foreign country where you don't understand the language fully. 
Yesterday I had two of my awesome Korean friends over to come see my new apartment, and to spend some time together.  Since I still don't have much to eat or drink stocked up in my kitchen I ran down to the convenience store for some snacks and some tea.  They didn't have any black tea, just green and barley, but I prefer black so I was looking for something comparable. 

University Graduates Listen! - Teach in Korea.

I am now 31 years of age, and although I think I look and feel a lot younger, I do wonder just how great it would have been if I had come to Korea much earlier.  I contemplate just what a fantastic experience and opportunity it would have been for me when I had just left university.  Don't get me wrong, going to teach in Korea is a fantastic experience at any age and I would thoroughly recommend it, but my gosh would it have been useful to know about at 21.  This is my guide for graduates and anyone thinking of coming to Korea to teach.  I think that you can infer from what I have written, that I can't understand why anyone wouldn't want to come.

Happy White Day!

Today, March 14th in Korea is "White Day" (it's also Pi Day, which I'm really bummed that went almost the whole day without realizing it- and missed both times to celebrate 3/14 at 1:59 and 26 seconds).  White Day is the male counterpart of Valentine's Day - which is where women give chocolate to the  man in their life and then a month later, the men reciprocate. 



I wasn't really expecting anything to come out of this day other than chocolate to be on sale tomorrow, but as usual, I was wrong.

First, our principal who is both laid back and no-nonsense bought a basket of goodies for all the teachers in the office (which are all girls except one outnumbered guy).  It was nice and filled with candied nuts and little cookies and some gummy candies and hung out in the staff office to be grazed on all day.

Haein Temple 해인사

 


Ziggy Stardust's Noraebang

Last Friday, Workwick Franklin teachers new and old gathered together for a night of beef, beer, and general tomfoolery.  As a goodbye to the only Workwick Franklin teacher who finished his contract and is leaving Busan (at least for now), as well as to welcome the new Chicago couple (I swear the Windy City follows me around...and that's the way I like it), and celebrate the first week of the new school year- we went out.  Now nights in Korea can sometimes fall into a basic pattern: dinner, drinks in multiple locations, drunken singing- last weekend may have fit the bill, but was far from typical. 

First off we went for BBQ with a little something extra which I had never seen before- an omelet ring.

The US will not ‘Pivot’ much to Asia (2): We don’t really care @ Asia

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That is my Asian pivot.

Here is part one, where I argued that there is no constituency in the US to support an Asian pivot besides the some business people.


Thought Experiment: Far East Native Teachers in the West?

As an interesting thought experiment, in my last blog, I introduced the idea of having a Far East Native teacher programme in our own Western countries.  I have no illusions that it will actually happen and there would be some changes to make to the programme, for sure, but I think it could run in roughly the same way.  I think this would be of great value to our students in the west and might just give our rather stagnant education system a little shot in the arm.  It would be a refreshing, interesting, open-minded, and important change, but there would be some unique problems for Far East teachers, that westerners do not have when they go to Asia to teach.

Problems for Far East Teachers in the West (I will use England and Korea as an examples)

1. Discipline of Students


The US will not ‘Pivot’ much to Asia (1): We don’t really Want to

Asia According to USA

I pulled this image from here.


Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone

Recently I’ve been travelling out from the edge of known space at Jangsan to Gijang, which means that on the return leg of the journey I have found myself trying to catch taxis in the countryside to return to civilisation. It quickly became apparent that this may not be the same as catching taxis in the city.

Welcome to Kindergarten

Tomorrow rounds out my first week teaching at Worwick and I will say in some ways it's very different from DaeGyo, but in others it's as if nothing has changed.

This time around the class sizes are one of the biggest differences.  This year my largest class is a whopping 5 kids.  Their parents call constantly to critique everything from my handwriting to the types of assignments I give (and yes I am expected to give even my kindergarteners real homework).

NewsRadio

“If you do a live radio show in the morning, nothing worse can happen to you all day.”

Open Miked in Busan

I’ve been very busy recently. It’s the kind of busyness where you’re basically on the move and working from the moment you awake after five to six hours of sleep to the moment you go to bed, seven days a week, and I’ve pretty much been like this since November. It seems like a superhuman effort for a foreigner, but it’s just normal life for many Koreans. Is it a sign my attitude is becoming Korean? And if I don’t care, is the answer yes?


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