30 August 2007

Go Me

Every CDI term (13 weeks) a teacher is chosen as the Best Teacher of the Term. This is my first full semester....and I got the prize!!! My boss gave me a W200,000 voucher, but the most valuable thing to me was the letter he wrote commenting on my "professional demeanour" and "examplary teaching". This has given me confidence to believe in myself in future workplaces when people will try to tear me down.

20 August 2007

The Alternative to Cheese on Toast

Today is the last day of the summer intensives-hurrah! Now I can kick back and appreciate having a lighter load for the next three months. For one whole month I have been snacking on cheese on toast (prepared by the lovely Songsu) when I got home, as this is about the only thing my stomach will digest at 11pm. Today Songsu prepared something different: 소고기국 (beef soup). It is a simple soup consisting of beef, radish (무), leek (파) and garlic (마늘), in water with a drop of sesame oil and a pinch of salt. Delicious!

It has been so nice not having to cook, and having someone to cook for me! But of course this is short-lived, as now that my schedule has returned to normal I will be resuming cooking duties.

18 August 2007

Simon's Got a Soft Spot.

Today I saw an advertisement on TV here in Korea for a CD of Paul Potts, a mobile phone saler and a man whose obvious talent on Britain's Got Talent made Simon Cowell smile. Simon Cowell, world-famous (even in Korea) for his arrogant, rude, snide and depreciating comments on his talent show contests, watched with mouth agape, and only had positive things to say about Paul. Out of curiousity, I just had to watch the moment that Simon's face twisted itself into a genuine smile on YouTube.

To put the icing on the cake, a 6 year old not only made Simon smile, but she also made him melt. Nice to know that Simon is human at last.

IELTS and Other Things

Next Monday will be last day of the summer intensive course that I have been teaching on top of my normal schedule. This month has been exhausting but I am looking forward to the fat pay check that I will get. Unfortunately I cannot frivolously spend a penny of it due to upcoming events next year, and the trip to China in October.

This week I spotted an advertisement for an IELTS (the official British English test) hagwon in our area (idp). Perhaps this is not the only one in Seoul or Bundang, but it is certainly the first one I have seen. We visited the hagwon today, and Songsu has enroled for the writing classes, the only class which is held at the weekend. His first class is next week, but he must complete his homework before he attends. There is something amusing about a 31 year old man with homework. Tomorrow we plan to study together...let's see if our intentions turn into reality. While I feel frustrated about my exhaustion and trying to keep on top of my studies, I know I have China to look forward to.

Incidently, I have joined photobucket as I am tired of the increasing limitations of the flickr site. I have started to put my spare photographs on there, and you can view them by clicking MY PHOTOS under General Links in the right-hand side bar. After that you can choose which folder you wish to view.

16 August 2007

My Visitors

A few days ago I put the cluster map ( see the right toolbar) on this website, because I was curious to find out where my visiters are. I seem to have visitors in America, England (of course), Korea, Japan, Canada and maybe Brazil. I cannot zoom in very far, so I am just guessing some of the places. It's very exciting to know that people around the world are reading my blog. Some of them are friends and family, but the others I don't know. Perhaps these people merely stumbled upon my blog accidently, never to return to it again, or maybe they visit regularly, I don't know. Nonetheless it will be interesting to know who these people are. I don't update my blog regularly, and I have been in Korea almost 3 years now so I tend to talk about the more mundane things, as what was once interesting and unusual is now normal to me.

Anyway, thank you to everybody who takes the time to read my blog!

12 August 2007

Rainy Days

Recently the weather has been so erratic that people are not even bothering to set foot outside their homes, even armed with an umbrella. Except for myself and Songsu, who spent today studying and exploring where we live at the same time. Two subway stations away at Samsung Plaza we found a Mexican restaurant (albeit very Koreanised food) and a game cafe where we could sit indoors and play board games. In between he studied English while I started the first chapter of 한국어2 from Seoul National University (at a couple of cafes that we found ourselves in). I am very proud to have got though the first book in 3 months without attending any classes, but I am noticing a big difference in difficulty between book 1 and 2. Anyway I will study away undeterred... as the Koreans say: "fighting"!
Yesterday Songsu took me to the cinema to watch D-War, a film about a Korean legend affecting present day America. The director is Korean, but the film is American. I was fairly impressed with the visual effects, but I felt that it was far too short, and that they could have made more out of the story. Nonetheless my students (especially the boys) thought it was superb and it was upon their recommendation that I went to see it. At least it was something to do while it was pelting outside.

08 August 2007

Silly Songs that Get Me Through the Day

Recently I have been bursting into song while teaching, much to the dismay of my long-suffering students (hence the accusation "you're klazee"). I use this to add comedy to the monotony of the CDI curriculum, as well as using them to motivate my kids to participate in class. These songs were composed on the spot in moments of desperation, but they seem to very effective. "Necessity is the mother of invention" (or composition!) as they say, and I certainly am at my most creative when I hit the peak of my neediness (and klaziness).

The preposition song:

" Preposition, preposition, where are you? (point at the word in the sentence)
Here I am, here I am, how do you do?"

The because song:

"B B B Because B is the cause"

...to teach them the grammar: Sentence A (the first sentence) is effect, Sentence B (the second sentence) is the cause, connected by because.

The participation song:

" Participation, congratulations! A+A+A+A+A+! Put your hand up, I'll stop

Not to mention the Super Student Stick. The stick comes out when none of the kids want to answer a question, usually involving making up example sentences using new key grammar or idioms. The Super Student Stick entails me whipping out a marker pen, and using it like metal detector as I walk around the classroom…beep beep beep… until I suddenly shout BEEEEEEEEP while shaking the pen wildly in the direction of a random, unsuspecting student. The class is on tenterhooks, backs rigid as they wait to see who will be chosen. For the middle school (aged 13 to 15) I play “Spin the Stick”, something more sober for those mature and sophisticated teenagers (ahem). Neither of these are anything to do with silly songs, but they have something to do with silliness, so thought they deserved a mention.

05 August 2007

Korean Film Library

Since I have been living here for 3 years, and I now have a laptop with a DVD/CD re-writer I have made it my mission to make a library of my favourite Korean films on CD. Inspired by the rather limited space on my computer, I hope I will accumulate an interesting collection of dramas, romantic comedys and adventure films. I will probably try to steer away from the gangster ones, but the other half will probably complain if I do. If anyone has watched an interesting film please recommend it to me.

02 August 2007

Teacher You're Klazee.

As stated by one of my fourth graders. "If I wasn't crazy" I replied " I would be boring". To this I got an enthusiastic nod from the same student.

It's not the first time I've heard it, but it perhaps the first time that I have deserved it. I sing, dance, do sharades with sound effects at this hagwon more than I did at the others. Because there is less of a language barrier I feel that there is more opportunity to just be myself and have a good time while teaching.

Subject noun+ verb+ place preposition+place noun.

"Teacher....I think this is Math class not English class"
How can I not laugh at this observation?

"Nerbos, oooooh vely nerbos" one of my teenage girls complains while she flaps her arms up and down like she is about to take flight. She performed vely well on her speaking test anyway.

" I take photo myself because I'm vely handsome" states one of my other 4th graders during his speaking homework, in reply to the question of who/what would you take a photo if you had a new digital camera?

The best one yet (SLP):

" I can dunce".

It seems that I'm not the only crazy one.