teaching in Korea

June Fieldtrip: Bugs and Lizards Oh My!

If you have ever wondered whether Seoul children get out there and play in the dirt or pick at bugs, well look no further. For our school took the first grade to a grand bug adventure up near Namyangju. The kids hopped off the bus all sleepy eyed and were walked into a forested area where they dropped off their bags.

Open Class Approaches

On Thursday I have four open classes, which means it is going on all day. The parent's will be within breathing distance from me, all the while observing and evaluating. Or maybe they will just be mesmerized by my kick-ass presentation!

Who knows?

All I know is that last week I stressed out about it and this week I am trying to hold on to some confidence. My plans use some good material and activities, but the bookwork is what I am concerned with.

Really, I just want Thursday to pass so that I can move on with my life and find out if I fit the bill or not.

May School Field Trip

For our school's May field trip the kiddos took a bus ride up to Pocheon to visit the Africa Cultural Center. Who would of guessed there was a little slice of that great continent here in Korea?

Like the previous field trip we were swept around from place to place, but this time the kids got to take part in several activities.

The first activity involved making a wooden-beaded necklace, which was pretty simple to do but also a lot of fun.

FBI Criminal Background Check Blunders

Living abroad is not easy for anyone.  [Side note: I am sure that living in the US as a foreigner is even worse if you are not fluent in English, given the general distain for non-English speakers and the general lack of willingness to help others- likely for fear falling victim to a crime.] For me, the great times FAR outweigh the bad times so I chose a life of foreign living. However, there are moments in time when everyone (who lives abroad) wants to give rude hand gestures to their host country and call it quits. Prolonged moments are labeled as culture shock. No matter how long you have been in a country, it IS possible to experience culture shock. But, that is not what this blog is about (really) so let’s move on to the subject at hand: FBI Criminal Background Checks.

Sink or Swim?

I could let the current sweep me away or I could let the mountain defeat me and give up. Or I could strap on some flippers or put on some serious hiking gear and get to the top. This is the metaphor I am using today because it relates to the realization I came to about my job.

Stress has been building up and sleep has been deteriorating, and it is not the kind of life I want to have. Usually, what one does is blame outside factors and never really look in the mirror. This time I have decided to look at myself and see what I can do to improve my life.

You might be asking what has been so stressful? Mostly I have been worrying about what the homeroom teachers think of me and with open class coming I started to doubt myself. I also knew there were issues with our department that I wanted to fight for, but felt defeated because in Korean society the loudmouth-aggressive person is usually left behind.

Question from a reader: Jeonju vs. Tongyeong?

A reader writes us:

Hi Chris,

I’ve just seen your website and was wondering if you might be able to help me! I am going to be moving to South Korea to teach English very soon and am trying to make a decision about where it is best for me to go… as you seem to have traveled quite a bit I hoped you might be able to help me out a little. I have many many questions and if you could find the time to answer one or all of them I’d be very grateful!

Open Class Coming and other Work Stuff

As you can see spring has been good to me with fun trips to places here and there. The warm weather has helped calm my mood and ease my mind when it comes to work rambles. The job is puttering on like a well greased machine, with a few hiccups here and there.

But a big bump in the road is coming up, and that would be open class. It's not my first time with this kind of job-related aspect, but I definitely feel like this one will be more serious. For one the people who will be observing me are the parents, and since they pay for their kids education I can only guess their gaze will be mighty. The open class is not till next month, but I am already in the thick of planning it. We are given the liberty to do whatever we want, even can break away from our regularly scheduled plan. However, I am planning on sticking with the schedule but making sure there are interactive activities involved.

Looking Up

Yesterday was Sports Day for my school, and it was my duty to keep watch of one class of children. There I was, out on the field standing behind the long line of children as they did their salute to the Korean flag. The parent's were in the bleachers looking down at their children and us. As I stood there I couldn't help but look up at the Korean flag and the big blue sky behind it, and wonder just how I got here. Thinking, how did I get to this point in my life where I was standing on Korean soil, participating in a National celebration with these people, certainly gave me a profound feeling.

Leavin' on a Jet Plane

If you're not a friend of mine on Facebook (and why aren't you!?) you may not be aware that I today decided not to pursue a new position here in Korea once my current one ends in a few weeks time. My love for Korea certainly hasn't diminished and it will be hard to leave behind the good friends - both old and new - that I have on this tiny little peninsula.


Reflections: First Few Months in Korea

If it weren't for my recent three month stay back home I would be celebrating my three year anniversary in Korea this month. Despite that I have to wait three more months to truly celebrate, I have already been doing the trips down memory lane in my head. 

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