These are quick notes that I take each day to remind myself what I do every day. The grammar isn’t always going to be the best. 🙂
Monday 11/10/13 – Introducing the speaking test, low level kids so a lot of translation. They didn’t have most of the sheet filled out by the time class was over. It was freezing at school. Didn’t go to soccer because I wasn’t feeling well. I skyped mom and Charlie and Daniel Landau and went to bed by 11:30.
Tuesday 11/12/13 – Introducing the speaking test. After school I went with Park Kyeong Ok to get kimpop and pick up her son and take him to hagwan, then we went to a couple stores to look for coats. I didn’t have dinner when I got home because I wasn’t hungry. I had the google hangout meeting with people from KAMP to plan the Thanksgiving dinner.
Wednesday 11/13/13 – Conversation group at A Two Some Place in the evening
Friday 11/15/13 – Was going to go to Seoul right after school, so I left a little early and took a taxi to the bus station. Unfortunately the busses were all sold out until 6:10pm, and I didn’t want to arrive in Seoul at 10:30. I called my teacher friend Kyeong Ok and told her the situation, and she picked me up at the bus station. We went to an outside market in Hwangseongdong and I bought kwaja (Korean snacks) and a “healthy” (lightly) fried dough thing. We then got dinner at a kimpop place (tuna kimpop and fried pork cutlet kimpop). We then went to a new department store downtown and went shopping. I bought a new coat! We then wandered around downtown and went into some stores.
Saturday 11/16/13- Left the house at around 7am, took 7:40am bus to Seoul with Lily. Went to the South bus terminal to meet Da Young and her brother (Jon Rice’s host siblings) for lunch at Outback Steakhouse. Wandered around the Shinsegae department store. Left at about 4pm and went to the Korean Folk Museum for the Fulbright Thanksgiving dinner.
Sunday 11/17/13 – Went to a restaurant called Lord Sandwhich, then walked around Ewha University area, walked into a lot of stores. Took the 3:30pm bus back to Gyeongju.
Monday 11/18/13 – Speaking tests day 1, pretty poor, some kids couldn’t really read. First day of afterschool class. I inroduced myself, went over English names and told them to choose and English name by tomorow. We then played a game called Human Bingo where they had to ask people if they had done certain things or liked certain things in order to get “bingo” on their sheets. Kyeong Ok drove me home. Melisa picked me up 10 minutes after I got home. We went to a Korean restaurant for dinner and had duck, talked for a couple hours, then went to her apartment. She taught me Korean and I taught her Spanish! I learned the words for I, you, he, she, we, you plural, and they, along with how to say “I want.” I taught her the -ar verb endings. I got home at around 11:30.
Tuesday 11/19/13 – Speaking tests day 2. Better than the day before. Festival at the high school, hung out with Lily and some girls and a high school English teacher. We walked around the school Afterschool class kids got English names and made journals, played music like “Radioactive” and “Let Her Go.” I brought up Forrest gump, explained that it takes place in the rural south, went over the southern Alabama accent, and told them it’s about a guy who is mentally challenged and his experiences through American history. Went home with Kyeong Ok, picked her son up from school, went to a mandu place and sat with him while he ate the mandu, then we dropped him off at hagwan and went back to the mandu place and had dinner together. Then we went to Yergachefe in Hwangseongdong to meet Chelsea. Kyeong Ok and Chelsea and I talked about teaching and some of the problems with being a foreign English teacher in a public school. I went home at about 9:30 and skyped dad.
Wednesday 11/20/13 – Speaking tests day 3. Nobody showed up to 5th period, found out 10 minutes into class that there was no class because they had to rehearse for a performance for the opening of the new auditorium (or something like that). I was pretty annoyed because I didn’t have that class last week either because there was some sort of presentation that period. So while the rest of the kids are having speaking tests this week, these kids haven’t even been introduced to the speaking test. In the after school class we started watching Forrest Gump. We watched the first 20 minutes of the movie, until the point where he grows up. I saved the last 10 minutes for discussion bus that kind of failed because nobody wanted to talk. This evening I went to my weekly conversation group meeting at A Twosome Place.
Thursday 11/21/13 – Weird assembly thing in the evening. There were lots of speeches, of which I understood absolutely nothing. I think the assembly was to open the new auditorium building. I spent the assembly coming up with ideas for my after school class. In the after school class we went over what happened in the movie yesterday and watched the part where Forrest runs across a football field, gets noticed by Alabama football coach Bear Bryant, and gets to go to college to play football. I briefly introduced them to the topic of college sports in America. I wanted to have the students talk, but like yesterday, it was difficult. After school I went to Yergachefe Coffee shop to meet Chelsea and Meg. I worked on my lesson plan for tomorrow’s international club class.
Friday 11/22/13 – Did speaking tests in one period, and then the morning classes were cancelled because the construction noise was so loud that teachers couldn’t teach. The whole middle school walked 15 minutes to the Gyeongju Museum. Most of the kids didn’t pay attention to the exhibits and just hung out and talked. I looked around for a while until my co-teacher called me and told me to come to the museum coffee shop (a full-fledged coffee shop, not just a little stand) to meet the other teachers for coffee. The teachers all seemed to be having a hilarious conversation that included a few English expressions, but with little translations from the co-teacher, all I found out was that they were talking about experiences they had while travelling abroad. After lunch was the monthly club class period, which takes up 3 class periods. I taught them about Kuwait and Egypt and had them draw their names in hieroglyphics. I scrapped my last activity because they seemed tired and uninterested and showed them the Glee Pilot episode instead. Met Kristen in town after school, had dinner at a Japanese ramen place, and then went to see a Korean musical in Pohang with a guy from the conversation group (who doesn’t speak any English, lol).
Saturday 11/23/13 – School field trip to Gampo, went to the three-story stone pagodas (which I had already gone to with my host parents during chuseok) and then to the beach. I hung out with Meg, who was the only other foreigner there (and the only one who could speak English, besides maybe some students, but they just wanted to hang out with their friends). Came home afterwrds, then later walked to Dongcheondong (about 30 minutes) to meet La and Annie at a restuarant called the Grill Master. After we went to Bar Code and met a bunch of other friends (Robyn, Philippa, Kristen, Steven) for drinks. We talked to some Korean guys who were celebrating one of their birthdays and got cake and an ice cream bar from them (Koreans are so friendly, even if they don’t speak English very well!).
Sunday 11/24/13 – Went to Daegu to meet my mentee, then KAMP Thanksgiving potluck.
Monday 11/25/13 – Only two classes on Monday, did speaking tests. Spent the afternoon preparing for the after school class. I told them about sports in American universities, why it’s like an industry, how much the top-paying coaches make, and how much the schools make in revenue from their sports programs. Then I gave them 10 minutes to answer questions with their opinion on whether colleges should have sports (because in Korea they don’t), whether colleges should make money off of sports,
Tuesday 11/26/13 – Speaking tests! Low level kids this time, so more challenging, but one of the classes actually finished. In the after school club class we reviewed what we talked about yesterday
Wednesday 11/27/13 – Speaking tests in two classes, introducing the speaking test in another. In the after school class I showed them the video La La La by Naughty Boy and then had them guess what the story was (they guessed it right! Wizard of Oz – like story) and then try to guess what country the music video took place in. I got all types of guesses, but South East Asia to India to England to Africa. Finally I got a guess of Spain so I jumped on that and said this country speaks Spanish. They guessed a couple countries in South America before I told them it started with a B, and then the smartest girl in the class (or at least the quickest guesser) guessed Bolivia. Finally! They really thought the boy in the music video looked Asian. After that we read an article about college athletes and getting paid. Each person read a sentence and then threw the bouncy ball I just bought to the next person who had to read another sentence. It worked well in getting half the class to read, though it went really slowly because I wanted to make sure they actually understood all the words. After school ended I went to something called a hwesheek, which is a dinner with all the teachers at a restaurant. Then I went to A Twosome Place coffee shop to meet my conversation group. I talked to another foreigner who’s taught in Korea for 11 years (!) and got advice about teaching.
Thursday 11/28/13 – Speaking tests for three periods today, felt like I was going crazy after hearing the same questions over and over again. In after school class we finished reading the articles on college athletes getting paid and then I told them about Hanukkah. After school I went to Hwangseongdong, visited a bakery called Monster Bread, met Chelsea and Meg at Yergachefe coffee shop, went to Meg’s apartment to pick up some banana bread she made, went to Topmart and bought potatoes to make latkes, and came home.
Friday 11/29/13 – Four straight periods of speaking tests. I felt like I was going crazy even more than the day before, especially because 3/4 of those classes are low level classes. In the after school class we continued to talk about Hanukkah. I showed them some songs of the Maccabeats singing about Hanukkah and played the Maccabeats’ Candlelight song with lyrics so they could see the words. After school I met Chelsea downtown and we went to Cafe Beatto and ate tiramisu and tried two different coffees. At the bus stop to go home I started talking to a high school student (who I had actually met before at a speaking contest and who is one of my friend’s students), and ended up talking to her for about 45 minutes while she waited for her bus (she lives about an hour away and lives in the dormitory next to her school) to go home for the weekend.
Saturday 11/30/13 –
Sunday 12/1/13 –
Monday 12/2/13 – Taught students about Hanukkah and let them finish the movie.
Tuesday 12/3/13 – Taught students about Hanukkah and let them finish the movie.
Wednesday 12/4/13 – Finished the speaking tests with the second grade students. Conversation group at Two Some Place.
Thursday 12/5/13 – Taught the first graders about Hanukkah and let them finish the movie. The second grade low-level class didn’t finish. It went really slowly because many of the kids came to the test without having prepared so they took a long time to think about the answers. It was very frustrating. I wanted to help them but it was a test so I couldn’t.
Friday 12/6/13 – Taught about Hanukkah to my first period class, then they finished watching Sister Act and I finished doing speaking tests. Three straight periods of speaking tests with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th periods. I spent the afternoon preparing for teaching the Vietnam War to my after school class. I had lunch with one of the high school English teachers and I mentioned that I was going to teach the Vietnam War to the kids and that he should come, so he did! I kept the lesson very simple, so I think the students understood.
Saturday 12/7/13 – Went to Daegu with Chelsea and Meg, stopped in a really cute little coffee shop called Good Heart and made friends with the owner. Then we went to the KOTESOL meeting at Kyungpook University.
Sunday 12/8/13 – Went to the clothing swap at Jen’s apartment. I stayed for like four hours, so I started feeling sick because she has a cat. I met a bunch of really nice people at the swap. melisa came, we walked around Seonggeongdong, and then went to a coffee shop called Yogerpresso and got coffee. Their milk steamer wasn’t working so it was taking forever so we changed our minds and got strawberry banana fruit juice instead (which is like a smoothie – yum!). I went home, the internet wasn’t working on my computer which was a great excuse not to make a plan for teaching for the next day. Eventually it started working (after I restarted my computer) and I made a Sister Act review jeopardy game.
Monday 12/9/13 – since my Monday classes are low-level and a lot of them didn’t do well on the speaking test, I decided that morning to review the sentence structures from the speaking test with my students instead of playing the Sister Act review jeopardy game. I quickly made a powerpoint when I got to school that showed the sentences from the speaking test paper and the changes I made to the sentences when I asked them the question, as well as the sentence structure format and some examples for how to fill in the sentences (example: Do you remember what you had for breakfast? –> What did you have for breakfast this morning? Sentence structure: I had ___. –> I had kimchi and rice.). I decided to make it like a game, so the kids got into four teams with a whiteboard and had to write a correct example sentence. The first class stayed on task because I had a strict co-teacher in the room, but in my next class there was no co-teacher, and the class slowly moved into…I don’t know. I was trying to get the kids to write down the correct sentences to have for later, but not everyone was on task. We only got through 4 out of the 10 sentences. My after school class went a lot better, of course, as it always goes well when kids pay attention. I played them the song “Imagine” by John Lennon and they followed along with the lyrics that I had printed out (I printed them out with Korean translations too). We reviewed what happened in Forrest Gump on Friday (there’s an attack in Vietnam, Forrest rescues a lot of people, Bubba dies, Forrest goes to a hospital to recover from his injuries, Lieutenant Dan had his legs amputated, Forrest goes to an anti-war rally in D.C. and meets up with Jenny). Then I taught them some expressions and words that had been featured in the film (to wipe out, to check out, to live up to, to let someone down, to wiretap, a medal). After that I told them about the Watergate Scandal and Ping-Pong diplomacy in China, because Forrest was involved in both of those things. By the time I was done talking we only had 5 minutes left to watch the movie!
Saturday 12/29/13: Met up with Kyeong Ok Park and went to her house and ate some fresh dokk she had just bought. Then drove out to a historical site that was the starting place of a new religion a couple hundred years ago, and then went to our final destination: a chicken restaurant. The restuarant wasn’t much of a restaurant, just a room with some heaters. The chicken was too chewy so we couldn’t eat it. Kyeong Ok felt really bad that we went all that way and the chicken wasn’t good. We then went to a coffee park near the tombs and drank coffee. I went home and watched the Heirs and Failure to Launch.
Sunday 12/29/13: Hung out with Melisa at Pasta Buono and planned our trip around Korea. Met up with Gracie, went to her apartment and made lasagna and brownies.