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I’ll call this a “cake room” or 게익방.







While some foreigners call these places “cake cafes,” I hesitate to do that, as there are no beverages for sale. Instead, I’ll call this a “cake room” or 게익방.

Cake rooms are places in Korea you can go to decorate cakes and cupcakes. They are often one large room adorned wall-to-wall with different sprinkles, garnishes, and frosting. Tables are decorated only with rotating cake stands.


I remember pretty vividly the first time I cheated in school. I...





I remember pretty vividly the first time I cheated in school. I was sitting next to a cute blonde haired, blue eyed boy. He had a feminine name like Ashley, but his name wasn’t Ashley. We were learning about Earth in class. I think it was second grade. Most of the page was coloring and it only had one question. He whispered to me, asking the answer. I said I didn’t know.

He said he’d write “yes” as his answer if I wrote “no.” Even though I was young, I remember thinking he was cute, and that I probably would have done anything he asked. I wrote “no” as my answer. I watched him write “yes” as his answer. We both had shit-eating grins on our faces as we turned in our pages to the teacher.


Teacher's Day in Korea

I remember when I was younger and it was Mother's Day or Father's Day, I would always moan to my mum that it was unfair that parents each had a day, but children didn't get one. She answered that the reason was because every day is children's day, which cut that argument short. But here in Korea, everyone's celebrated on their own particular day.

There's Parents Day, Children's Day and this year I discovered the wonder of Teacher's Day on May 15th. Teacher's Day is the day when students give thanks to the ones that teach them. Apparently lots of middle schools and high schools close after lunch time, so students can go back to their old schools to see the teachers that made an impact on them when they were only a couple of feet high with their hair in pigtails.

It was nice to see all of my old 6th graders around school yesterday, as they ran up to their old homerooms.

One of my students showing off her new toy, 맥체괴물. Difficult to...





One of my students showing off her new toy, 맥체괴물. Difficult to describe but it’s a bit like watery Play-Doh, but not… Kids enjoy stretching it out and letting it drip between their fingers. It’s wiggly and jiggly. Costs just about a dollar, which is good because it’s only entertaining for a few minutes. The blue kind stains and makes a mess.


One More Post on Education

So,  I’ve been rolling this last one around in my head for a long time, and I’m still not sure I can say exactly what I need to in a concise manner, but I’m sure as heck gonna try.

There have been  a lot of ideas proposed about how to fix education, and most of the creators of these ideas don’t bother to get real, meaningful feedback from teachers.  (NB:  When politicians say they’ve asked us about these things, they usually mean that they told us about what they had already decided or that they solicited feedback from retired teachers or folks who haven’t been in the classroom since spiral perms were cute.)


I feel like the meanest teacher in the world when my kids cry. I...



I feel like the meanest teacher in the world when my kids cry. I want to set a precedence by not giving in just because a few tears are spilt. For example, this girl was crying because she wasn’t given a sticker because she didn’t do her homework. I can’t just give out stickers whether kids do their homework or not! Ugh.


F3 Visa with hopes to work

This is partly question and partly venting.

I'm with F3 visa i.e spousal visa. I understand that with this visa, one CANNOT work at all (now I know). Its quite frustrating because job posts that mention looking for F visa make it as if though ALL F visas are ok. Its pointless that we have that code at all. Then, employers rather people with no visa to begin with or already with the right ones.  If I need to change visa, I need to have an appointment letter first. Its a mad cycle for us F3 visas.

I actually found a non teaching job I like and I can't work because of my visa and the employer can't get the right papers because its complicated (dont wanna get into details).

Anyone with same experience? I don't mind staying a stay at home mom but a job on the side while the kids go to school won't hurt, you know?

 

 


It’s Not All Sunshine and Lollipops, or Where I’ve Been For The Past Few Weeks

I know, I know:  Living abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity, a chance to experience something most Americans never see, a complete test of your personal fortitude, the ultimate exit from one’s comfort zone…yadda, yadda, yadda. 

Sometimes it also just sucks.

I’m a little behind on the blog right now because, quite frankly, the last couple months have been, at best, forgettable, and at worst, more than a little depressing.  However, rather than engage in an overly detailed online rant, I’m going to discuss a couple of challenges of life here in Korea, because, basically this little blogging endeavor would be a lie if we pretended there weren’t days when we really just want to hop a plane back to our family, Bojangles chicken biscuits, and the comforting familiarity of life in the Old North State.

So, here’s the nitty gritty, the real stuff about living in Korea.


Korea’s EFL Education is Failing, But What Can Be Done About It?

Is Korea’s EFL teaching failing? This question was asked by Groove Magazine in its March issue. The article was a comprehensive account of the history of Korea’s attempt to make its population more competitive by making English language skills key to a child’s education. I thought that the answer was pretty straight forward. Yes. Korea’s EFL instruction programme is failing. But maybe it was an easy question.

Of course it’s important to set out from the beginning to establish the fact that you’re talking about the governments drive to instil native speaker capabilities among the populace. And it’s important to know that whenever you read an argument like this you have to remember that opinions have already been forged on the barstools of waegdom, so convincing any new comers to the discussion will allow for short work.


The very important first girls high school soccer game of spring

I landed in Korea in September to teach English and the next few weeks were the worst in my life.

It’s March now, so I survived, though I don’t talk about those first weeks. I’m sure I’ve had a different experience than my English-teaching cohorts, simply because my school boasts an incredibly unique personality: its kids live at the school, wake at 6 a.m. for chapel, and are good enough at English to be taught literature in the language. There’s also girls and boys high school soccer teams, which I’m coaching this spring.


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