Bittersweet

December 21, 2010

Monday was the last day I taught many of my 1st year students. As I said, it is game week, and we had a good time.  Now the students are in Jeju Island, and I’m just in the office. I am knitting and reading.  I should be writing a post.

My students are going on to their 2nd year class.  I’m happy they are growing and moving on, but I’m sad.  I hope that I helped them, I hope that they feel my love for English and languages.  I hope they continue to study, but mostly I hope that English is fun for them.

I love teaching, I love my students, and the price you pay is that every year, you have a bittersweet goodbye.

In other news, things have been going very well lately.  I found a store that had things that fit and this is a very big deal, the knitting group I joined has some very cool people, (I was a bit nervous joining, but I’m glad I did) Christmas is around the corner and although I’m usually a humbug about the holidays, I feel pretty bright, and on Friday I will receive a certificate for being a “best teacher” – a pretty good end to the year.  All in all.

 


Brrrrrr. (and a murderer) and some warm fuzzy feelings

December 15, 2010

I say that because it is damn cold. Bitter, bitter, bitter cold.  But still I did manage to go out and wrap presents for some orphans. Yes, my bah humbug self actually got a little into the Christmas spirit. One of the long-term ex-pats in the neighborhood decided to do a toy drive for an orphanage in the area, and I saw it on facebook and decided to participate.  I surprise myself sometimes.  It was fun, and although I won’t go to the orphanage and distribute the toys I do feel a bit warm and fuzzy inside for buying toys and wrapping  them.

But it was cold outside. Bitter, bitter, bitter cold. So I’m happy I don’t have anything going on today, and can chill. I plan on finishing a knitting project and drinking hot chocolate. Lots of hot chocolate.  I think my students will probably be pretty mellow as well. Their finals are finally done.

Today I didn’t expect a single student to have the mental capacity to do much, so I decided to play a game.  I don’t play games in the classroom very often. I’m not a fun teacher, although I do like my students to enjoy my lessons, I don’t consider entertainment as part of my job description.  However, the day after finals, the week before they go on a field trip to Jeju island I think a game is ok.(why didn’t we have such cool field trips when I was in school? – all we did was go to museums)

So I have a few favorite games, and I usually let them decide which games. The two chosen were “5 words” and scatagories. 5 words is really quite simple, I have the students think of and call out 5 random words. Then they have to use those words in a dialog or skit.  When they do their presentation, the other students have to clap when they hear the words.  (I usually leave them up on the board to make it a bit easier) – if I hear the word, but the students don’t clap, I win. I make them do a very silly dance.  I rarely win.

The other game we played was scatagories. Basically I just put them in teams, then write  fruit/vegetable, animal, person (not a name), city (not in Korea) and country on the board.  I then have them write one word in each category that starts with a letter.  So we are playing along, and I always try to mix the alphabet up (it keeps them on their toes), and I put the letter M on the board.  Well, one of the students had Mango, monkey, murderer,  Madrid and Moscow. Now since Moscow is not a country they didn’t win, but it warmed the cockles of my heart that my rather dark sense of humor has rubbed off on them.

The year is over, winter camp will begin, but for the most part I have to say good-bye to these students (only a few will be in my Advanced English class for 2nd years, and even fewer will be in my winter camp) – I really enjoyed teaching these young women. I always feel a little bit better about the future, knowing they will be a part of it.

And if you ever wondered what a day in a Korean students life is like, someone did a video. Although it is short, I do believe he got the essence of the matter right.

http://www.youtube.com/e/bniwLF4hYHQ

 


On old friends.

December 12, 2010

It is only 6 pm on a Sunday night and all I want to do is go to bed.  I think I’ll just take it easy and read a book, make some hot chocolate and snuggle in my jammies.

I don’t feel tired so much as that sleepy/satisfied and a little sad feeling that you get when you had a wonderful time, but now it is over.  Today I saw some old friends. When I lived in Incheon I met them fairly often, for lunch. Although I’m not in the “ladies who lunch” demographic, in this particular instance, I was.   Although all three are Korean, and about the same age, they are a diverse group. I loved our lunches and missed them very much.   But life goes on, and I moved to Seoul, two of the women started their own hagwons, and my friend started a small tutoring business from her home.  Now it is very hard to find the time to meet.  So today we finally met up

We went to one of their apartments, it is new so everyone had to ooh and ahh and then we had lunch, and we were going to walk to a lake near the apartment, but after the 3rd cup of coffee and much laughter we realized that we weren’t going to go.  It was so good to see them. They looked wonderful, and it felt as if time had stood still.  We are making plans to not let so much time get away from us.

I also met some new friends. I’ve been knitting lately as my new hobby, and no, I don’t have any photos right now. I should take some, but it might not happen so I won’t make the promise. Anyway, there is a knitting group that meets up on Saturday and Sunday. I went to the first one, and to be honest I was a bit nervous.  But everyone was so nice, and fun, and funny.  It was nice to talk about crafts and eat in Insadong. Insadong is still one of my favorite areas in Seoul.

It is good to have new people in your life, and even better to keep old friends.  Sometimes, life is good.

Now for the warm jammies and hot coco.

 


Life and all

December 9, 2010

So I’m talking to a friend, and I mention K-pop. K-pop is Korean pop, and it is kind of fun. It is not serious music. But it does have some great dancing. Korea is all about the dancing. Even my school has a dancing group for the teachers. One of my favorite co-teachers is doing a dance workshop during the break.

K-pop is not organic music. There are auditions for new groups, and most of the stars are quite young.

Now my students know I’m quite the fan of Rain, even though at 28 he is “very old”

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but there is quite a bit more:

Girls Generation

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and Beast

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So not much is happening

December 4, 2010

We haven’t been bombed into next year, it is still cold, and my students are seriously stressed about their tests.

I am excited though. I’m going to Deagu to see an old friend,  and I realized that I haven’t seen her at all this year.

So I’m off on the KTX, and I still don’t know why America can’t have nice things like that. KTX is awesome.  I do love trains, and boats, and I am old enough to remember when flying was way cool and fun.

And that is the update for today.