Ultimate Hanbok Fashion

Korea's fall harvest holiday is Chuseok (추석), and it's come and gone twice now since Shane and I arrived on the peninsula. Based on the lunar calendar, Chuseok 2011 happened mid-September. Though we didn't celebrate (saving the feast for Thanksgiving, North American style), we did get to enjoy a fashion show. Our kindergarten students dressed up in their finest  traditional hanbok (한복) and strutted their stuff through the auditorium. Most of these kids would later don their hanbok again later that weekend for traditional bowing ceremonies to their grandparents.

Lights, Camera, Action: Classroom Turned Hollywood

This week, my school participated in a very special experience. A television game show (gah, can't remember the name, but I will have to find out later) transformed one of our classrooms into a real, live TV set. That's right- big cameras accompanied for professional camera folk, sounds systems, and bright lights-the whole shebang!

A 1,000 hellos everyday…

It happened! Everything went relatively smoothly and I have now moved jobs and cities! On the 24th of June I met my new employers, the Busan Metropolitan City Office of Education, in central Busan. On a steaming hot day in business attire I nervously arrived at the requested location with newly acquired visa extension in hand. I was introduced to the officer in charge of recruitment and anxiously waited for my schools representative to pick me up. Fifteen minutes later I was picked up and taken away to my new home. Slightly disappointingly I found out my new home was to be in Hadan. Hadan is in the South-West of Busan. However, my school was to be even further away in Myeong-Ji. The education authority only inform you of your schools location when you arrive (So new teachers don’t decide to not board the plane in case their school is not somewhere they don’t want to be).

Dance Stanford Class

Nothing gets my five year old students more revved up for the day, out of control hyper, than a little song and dance time.

Our previous supervisor handed out CDs labeled "Pop Songs" to us teachers,  under the auspice of making our lessons more fun for the elementary school students. I'm convinced that is was actually so the Korean teachers could teach the kindergarten students cute dance routines.

Letter from Korea, May 2011

Suwon, South Korea

 Dear Ireland,

The summer is upon us. Of course we all have different ideas of what the summer is. For me, it’s the holidays. This June, I will be working through my summer holidays but don’t worry; I have two months of holidays so working through them isn’t as big a catastrophe as it might sound. This summer I will be in Dublin (What of the letter from Korea?  Well perhaps I’ll compromise). Every summer Dublin fills with Europeans students who come to study English. This summer will be no different. I make a living out of this.

Skirtroversy in Korea

From Busan Haps

Short-skirted students are a common sight in Japan, but a new thing for Korea. As the skirts get shorter, governments look for innovative ways to accommodate the trend. Rarely before has 'innovative' been the appropriate word. They are seeking to redress the situation without asking students to re-dress.

GANGWON-DO, South Korea -- As kids, one of the first lessons we learn is to take on a problem at its source. And, more often than not, if you can get to the root of what’s ailing you, then you can remedy it and all of its repercussions.

Or, so we were told.

In response to the ever shortening skirts worn to school by Korean middle and high school students, the local assembly in Gangwon province will put the cart before the horse. Or, in this case, the board before the students.

Rather than forcing female students to lengthen their uniform skirts, they have instead proposed spending around $700,000 installing boards in front of some 50,000 desks to block any hint of a view of student's legs in the classrooms.

To be sure, it’s a confusing remedy. Does this say more about student’s skirt length or the school board’s worry of the wondering eyes of district teachers?

To the governments credit, they are employing this unusual redress without asking students to re-dress. This all in the name of avoiding an infringement on the ever expanding freedoms that Koreans are enjoying for the first time since the country’s founding in 1948.

Everybody gets their day

May 8th in Korea is technically called Parents Day, they sell small baskets of flowers and children who were just spoiled on May 5th for children's day show their parents a little love. I really wish I had children's day when I was a kid but my mom used to say, "Everyday is children's day!"  Kids here got the day off school (and so did I so no complaining here) and were spoiled with fun activities and gifts and today families were out celebrating in the sunshine. It is a beautiful week to be in Seoul.

Being an American traditional gal, I still celebrate mothers and fathers on separate days. Inspired by a friend, I decided to make a video for my mom for her special day this year. It was a fun project and I was so excited with the final product, I have to share. Happy Mother's day Mom:)

Happy Birthday to You and You

Way back in my kindergarten days, the kid celebrating her birthday brought a treat for the class and got to be line leader, maybe wore a special hat, and that was that. 

Do you want candy?

From a 5th graders English journal:


I've officially been in South Korea just over 6 months now! Whew, how time has flown. My outlook on the next 6 months of my contract generally depends on my level of homesickness. Regardless of homesickness, however, I always have the most special of moments with my students at school that generally have me leaving with a giant smile on my face.

Todays kids and their precious moments:

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