Tag Archives: Education

the life of a Korean student…

Every month at school, we do what we call “Writing Event,” where the two native English-speaking teachers choose some random-ish topic for all the classes to write about. In months past, my students have written about their dream jobs; if they could build a house out of candy; what they would do if they could go to space; and what their super power would be if they were a super hero.

Of course, every year at Christmas, everyone writes to Santa whether they’re a believer or not. (Most of them aren’t, but I demand that they pretend to be for the 40 minutes I have them in class.)

The other native teacher and I read through our respective students’ responses and choose the best from the bunch; then together, choose the top 3 for every level. Some submissions are hilarious. Once, a kid wrote that he was thankful for his family because they take him to buffets. (That kid won that month. Because that’s stinkin’ funny.)

Most are less creative than I would hope… Korean kids don’t seem to have the same kind of creativity that Western kids have. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s due to this: they’re not really allowed to be kids.

I’ll come back to that thought in a moment. For now, let me tell you about the most recent “Writing Event.”

In October, we decided to keep with the Halloween theme and ask students to write about their “biggest fear.” Not surprisingly, we got many “ghosts,” “the dark,” and various animal-related fear responses. Some said they feared my KBFF, which I reinforce because someone at school has to be scary. And then, in what seemed to be funny, some of them said they feared their parents.

We laughed in class with the students who offered these suggestions. Some of them were very lively and silly when explaining why they feared their parent(s). One of my more odd and good-for-a-laugh students was quite animated explaining how his mom is “scary.”

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the class we loved to hate: the horror that is Sex Ed…

I’m not sure how it happened, but I recently stumbled across the amazingness that is Last Week Tonight. John Oliver, a British comedian, hosts his own show on HBO covering news stories from the past seven days.

In just two days, Oliver has taught me more about how the United States is effed up than I ever learned in all my years of school combined. And to add to it, he’s my kind of funny.

Now, I’m an American. I live “abroad,” if you will. I consider myself to be somewhat “with the times” and I try to keep up with the happenings in the Americas (and the world), including (but not limited to) presidential race candidates (kind of) and school shooting atrocities. While this is true, I was also totally unaware of many other things happening in my home country.

I had no idea that Washington D.C. has no real representation in our capital; that Syrian and other refugees are streaming into European countries, some of which are greeting them with what can be described as nothing less than disgusting refusals to accept them; about how broken the bail and public defenders systems are in America; or about the truly sickening behavior of many televangelists (I knew a little, but not this much. And I’m NOT saying all televangelists are like this, but sadly, many are.).

Needless to say, John’s given me a bit of an education. And I’m obsessed. So imagine my glee when I came across a video discussing the state of Sex Education in the great U.S. of A.

That’s right. I was stoked. I love to talk about sex and if you’ve been reading for a while, you’re probably familiar with my rant on how I believe parents should talk more openly with their kids about sex. I realize that no one wants to talk with their kids about the birds and the bees; but trust me, as a former child, no kid wants to talk with their parents about sex. But that’s kind of not the point.

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Korean animals are weird…

So, not surprisingly, I’m totally late to my own posting party. Are you surprised? Yeah. Me neither.

So, due to my bad habits and a ton of business happenings, I’m not going to write much to you. I’m going to show you something.

Months ago, I talked with a class of girls about how Korean animals, apparently, sound totally different than American animals. Well, at least when humans are speaking for them.

So, we wrote it down:

Korean animal sounds

Korean animal sounds

Let me translate:

Frog: “geh-guhl geh-guhl” (this is weird, because it’s not a true “l” or “r” sound. Saying it as a native English speaker is just downright awkward)

Pig: “ggool ggool” (think a hard “g” sound)

Dog: “mong mong” (dogs so don’t sound like that, RIGHT?!)

Cat: “ya-ohng ya-ohng” (“oh” sound there)

Cow: “um-may um-may” (huh?)

Sheep: “mayyyyyyyy” (not too far off from the American version)

Horse: “hee-hing hee-hing”

And then, to make my point more understandable for you, dear Reader, I recorded us making all the sounds.

 

Notice how adorable all of them are. I’m sad that I no longer have a single one of them in class anymore. They’ve moved on to bigger and better things (or just a higher level, but whatever).

I think the difference in horse sounds was their favorite; we often say “neigh” for horses in the Americas, which literally translated here (Korean spelling is 네) would be an agreement. So horses in America must be very agreeable… Or so I’ve come to assume.

This is just one of the many things I’ve noticed that are remarkably different in Korea. Many things I’ve come to accept as “normal” and it wasn’t until coming home to the Americas this year that I remembered that they’re, well, not the norm to Americans.

More on that later.

But anyway, enjoy the adorable children and the strange sounds their animals make. Happy Friday, Reader. And an even happier weekend to you!

 

I’m a quitter and I don’t care…

So, Reader. As you know, I’ve been busy. Very busy. (I swear, this is becoming the most ridiculous excuse for not posting because it’s one of only two that I give – the other being laziness.) I was doing regular work. And taking a Korean class twice a week. And I started blogging somewhat more consistently for my city gig, Colorful Daegu.

And then I decided, after reading some things and having some short exchanges with my friend, Anna (who wrote an awesome guest post on this blog that you can read here), that I wanted to start making more time for writing on this blog. Plus, I got accepted to write again for the city blog – another year with them – and I want to really take it more seriously this time… And I want to basically run a business. This takes time, effort, and a shit-ton of research, Reader. And I didn’t have that kind of time between my day job and Korean class and being lazy and trying to exercise and remaining social… You know, so, something had to go.

So I quit Korean class just a week and a half before it was set to end.

Cutting class never felt so good and so bad all at the same time.

I felt good because I kept thinking, “My heart isn’t in it right now. I don’t want to be there. I’m not interested in doing the homework or truly studying. So, why force myself to do something I’m not enjoying anymore?”

But then I felt guilty because I thought, “I paid for this class – actual money – and there are only three left. What kind of lazy a**hole doesn’t just suck it up and go to the last three classes? Who does that?”

Let me tell you who: ME.

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what to expect when you’re expecting… to move to Korea… Part 4

*This is the final installment, Part 4, of my series chronicling my journey to South Korea.

If’ you’re late to this party, you can catch up by reading Part 1Part 2, and Part 3 if you’re interested.

Two years ago today, Reader, I hopped on two separate planes to make my way to Korea. How appropriate, then, that we will finish chronicling my journey here today!

Last week, we left off with me hearing from the Korean consulate office in Chicago that they would be sending me back my passport. I emailed my recruiter to let her know about the new update in information.

My recruiter called me and said that she had received word from my school, and they wanted to know if I would be willing to drive myself to Chicago to pick up my completed passport – in person – in order to ensure I could leave for Korea on time. 

I said no way.

I didn’t have car insurance anymore; I had cancelled my policy two weeks before and hadn’t driven since. Chicago was a four-hour drive away, one way. It would have been eight hours of driving there and back. Not to mention, who was going to pay for the gas to complete this arduous mission?

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