Bits and pieces

Friday was our schools sports day.  Sports day is a day when all the classes get outside and compete with each other in various sports. To make sure everyone gets a chance to play they have  lots of sports. One of my classes won in volleyball, and another won doing an all class jump rope competition.  Imagine if you will 40 students, one very long rope, and two people trying to get the rope up and over 40 students who are trying to jump in sync.   Fun was had all around.  At least I had a good time.  The highlight was when several of the male teachers did a dance routine to a 2PM song. 2PM is one of the more popular pop bands in Korea.  The students went wild. I have to say quite a few were pretty darn good dancers.

The students now have the summer uniforms.  The winter uniform is very similar to a Catholic school uniform. It is quite nice.  I have mixed feelings about the summer uniforms. The students like them because they are all one piece. They are not really denim, but they are blue, with cute little buttons on the shoulders.  However, the first time I saw them,  I thought of women’s jail uniforms.  I know I’m so bad, and my school spirit is so lacking.  I’m getting used to them though. And I like how many of the students dress them up a bit. (although many of the more conservative teachers don’t appreciate it as much)

We are writing poems now in class.  I’ve found a form that leads the students through different comparisons and they make their poems from that.  You are (food)- You are (weather) You are (a color) etc.  The students seem to like it, and I’m hoping it will unleash some of their creativity.   I get a little frustrated with some of my fellow foreign teachers they like to rant that Korean students don’t have any creativity.  That is so untrue. They express their creativity in ways that are different from what you are expecting (which makes it a lack of creativity on their part, no?).  It is true, the education system here does put a lot of emphasis on testing. This goes way back to ancient China and the imperial exams.  But it is not true that our students are not creative.  I can see it in the small ways they alter their uniforms, the small decorations in their hair, in the drawings they create, and in the poems they write.   They come up with some very beautiful metaphors and expressions. And that is very creative.

Spring is definitely here.  I love my neighborhood, mostly because there are some very beautiful places to walk around.  Near my apartment is a river walk/bike ride way.  This weekend I didn’t ride my bike much, but I did take a long walk along the river.  I love my bike, but sometimes I really like the slower pace of being a pedestrian.  When you are walking you notice so much more. The yellow flowers that poke up from a stone, the egrets standing elegantly among the rapids, the fish getting freaky in the shallows, the dragonflies, the white butterfly that flutters along the now dark green bank.  Even beside the expressway, cutting a path trough the stone and glass high-rises, life is still  always life. And life is always good.

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