Grading Papers - Korean style!

I got to my desk this morning and was promptly told that my 3rd and 4th period classes were cancelled. Then, my 2nd period class never showed up! AWESOME! Just when I thought I was free and clear to have the whole day to play around, I was handed a GIANT pile of tests to grade!  7 classes worth to be exact, with between 30-40 questions each.  That's 245 questions to check if you do the math! This wouldn't be such a big deal, except for the fact that Korean's don't just check the wrong answers, they circle the right answers too!  (Grading tests this way literally takes about 10 times longer!) Oh, and it has to be done with a red crayon,  Nothing else will do!

Poster Girl

The other day I was sat at my desk happily minding my own business when the vice principle shuffled in and smiled at me. He paused at my desk as if preparing to say something to me, thought better of it and turned to my coteacher.

I heard my name mentioned a few times and when I turned he did another suspicious smile at me. Then Grace, my coteacher, translated the message 'You must look pretty on Monday'. I was sat with unkempt hair, in an outfit I had thrown on in 2 minutes that morning, so wasn't quite sure how to take the comment, but I just smiled at him and he looked relieved and left.

Event Day: Outer Space!

Every school year at Namsung they throw four event days in the English department. Last week was our third one of the year. From previous experience I knew what to expect, late nights decorating, lots of last minute of packing goody bags for the kids and tweaking our costumes. For the teachers it's pretty hard going, for weeks before hand you need to drill into the kids songs, dialogues and games they'll perform in each room, repeating the same thing two times an hour for 5 hours a day, and then the late nights planning it before hand, but for the kids I imagine that it's pretty magical.

Sports Day

I'd heard horror stories of sports days in Korea from friends who had been surprised on the day and asked to participate. Sometimes with incredibly humiliating consequences. Others had been given their own special tracksuit in preparation for the day.

Therefore I was rather wary when we were told that it was sports day and maybe we should wear a tracksuit and trainers. I had flashbacks to my fourteen year old self where I would be a nervous wreck on sports day, never being forthcoming about taking part in anything for fear of showing myself up. Or just demonstrating how utterly atrocious I was at sport. Is it hop, then skip and jump or jump, then hop and skip? By the time I'd had that mental dialogue with myself I was on my backside in a sand pit, having put my foot over the line. Bum.

3 Truths and a Lie

I teach an after school English class for some of the more advanced students in my elementary school.  Today, we played the game 3 Truths and A Lie.  I told them to write down 3 true sentences and 1 lie.  We didn't have enough time to read them outloud in class today and guess which sentence was the lie, so I collected their papers and tucked them away for next week's class... but not before reading a few to see what they came up with!  

Taejongdae Park (태종대공원) in Busan

Taejongdae lighthouse scene
Taejongdae Park is located not far from my neighborhood in Yeongdo-gu, Busan - an island right off the tip of Busan next to Nampo-dong shopping district.  Yeoungdo is home

Teach English in Korea: How to Get Your Reference Letters Done Quickly

Reference letters, although not difficult, can take some time.  If you request a reference letter from someone you will be dependent upon their ability (or willingness) to take time out of their day to write it, print it, sign it,  scan it, and email it to you.  If you've asked a former boss to provide a reference letter and they truly are busy (not all bosses are created equal) then it may be very difficult for them to take time out to do it.

300: A Countdown


I’ve always been better with words, but today is a good occasion for some numbers.

So Much Free Time

When/if you come to Korea to teach English, you will quickly find that you have tons o' free time.  Long evenings, vacation, breaks, etc.  You'll wonder where the work comes in.  Wait, do I actually work here in Korea...?!

Korea Q&A: Racism, Girl Judo, Meds, CRC, Typhoons

Taking a few to answer some questions and comments I've received from my YouTube channel and blog.  Thanks to those who wrote them into me.

1. Racism in Korea
2. Prescription medications
3. Are there any women in judo?  Is judo expensive?
4. What is typhoon season like in Korea? Is it anything compared to hurricane season in the US?
5. How long does CRC take?

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