My co-teacher at one of my schools has stopped coming to class. He says that he is very busy. The only problem is that he never tells me before-hand so I end up getting to school and as we are walking to class together, he hands me the textbook and gives me the old, "I am very busy today. I have to ask you to teach by yourself."
So, I take the Korean Ministry of Education Elementary School English textbook, the teacher's guide (mostly in Korea), and the CD-ROM and head to class. In all honesty I prefer teaching by myself than with him as he doesn't do any preparation for class and simply beats students to get them to do what he wants them to...no games, no candy.
He also jumps around within each lesson, disregarding the numbers at the bottom of each page. This may have something to do with why he doesn't think there is anything wrong with the current situation.
When I first told my students that I came from Los Angeles and deliberately chose to teach in Namhae, one thing that they all asked me was why exactly would I want to come to a place like this.
Namhae-eup, the county seat of Namhae-gun, is a small town of 14000 and the whole county itself has a population of 55000 that's been dwindling (it was 150,000 decades ago). A lot of the people that grow up here likely move away to Jinju or Sacheon, the "big" cities in this part of Gyeongsangnam Province.
There's not much here and aside from culture and sports festivals such as the Hwajeon Festival happening this week, hardly anything ever happens in Namhae. So what's great about leaving La-La Land and coming to Blah-Blah Land?
The answer is simple - Simple. Small-town life is so much simpler, much quieter, and for once I can actually BREATHE the air (three things that I couldn't get back home). I see a lot of the same townspeople all the time so some of the store clerks are particularly welcoming towards me, as I frequent their shops.
I'm always wondering if my student are really comprehending and learning. I've discovered that a few excellent students can make it seem as if all of the students in a class are being successful. I've learned to be cautious and to work harder to obtain full participation. Some students are shy, but they must be influenced to get over that and participate more. It isn't easy to accomplish, but it's certainly worth the effort. It is also possible for a few "slow" students to make a class "drag." I have to beware and try to keep everyone moving along!
I, like so many others, have discovered that students like to have games. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to have games that will benefit everyone. By using teams, it is possible to get more involvement. I'm trying to balance the teams with fast, slow, and medium learners. It helps greatly.
So I've been teaching in a language academy with 3 other EPIK members. Two were in the same EPIK program as me, and the 3rd was in a different one, a few years ago. I'm also teaching with another guy from Cali. The job is really demanding in that we write our own textbooks. we have to write 18-40 pages for each book, depending on the length of the course. I've written two books so far, and will begin writing 4 as soon as possible for the month of December and January. I'm not quite sure who my co-teachers are at this point.... since I teach teachers. Most of my students/teachers know english fairly well. (it's weird getting hit on by your students!) But, in any event... it's fun and definitely a challenge.
wow! i've been going crazy with posting to this site...must be my journalism background kicking in! good to know i'm not losing it. of course, i do post on my blog almost daily... do i have too much free time on my hands? possibly... we'll see if i can keep it up...
today i recieved mail from Canada for the first time. it was really great to know that getting mail here is possible - and i don't just mean bills, cause i've already gotten those. but writing your address in english does work! i'm proof. there's no way i could ever get my mother, grandmother or friends back home to write the address in korean! and it's good to know i won't have to! but it was strange (i think anyway, correct me if i'm wrong) that two of my letters were stapled together... does this maybe mean that the post office was holding them with no idea what to do with them, then when they saw a third arrive figured they'd better find out where they're actually going? who knows, i got them, and it was great.
so, i blog on my "documentarist" site almost daily... i suppose i could put something up here almost every day too...so let me know if you think i'm a little too blog crazy and if i'm posting too much... i'm trying to go easy on you all... today i will relay my experiences in trying to get a mobile phone here in korea... enjoy.
the eternal hunt for a phone
why do things have to be so difficult in this country? sorry, i'm having an "i hate korea" moment here. i was debating cell phone vs. home phone for the first couple of weeks i was here (i had to wait to be an alien first anyway) finally i decided on mobile so i'd always have it with me - even if it's a little more expensive... then there were a couple of things i had to wait for before getting one 1) someone told me that things are more expensive at chuseok and i should wait until after... so i did 2) i needed a korean to come with me to translate... finally today was the day, but do i have a phone? no. i feel like a second class citizen today (which i suppose i technically am...) i went to one store where they were trying to sell me phones that were marked up about 50$ more expensive than other people got them for - because i'm a foreigner and don't look korean. then the next store the guy told me that because i have an E-2 (teacher) visa that i'm not allowed to get a cell phone - which i know is a load of crap, since all the other foreigners i know have cell phones... even the ones without an alien registration card. so here i am no translator, no cell phone, no phone whatsoever. it's just so frustrating to know that you're getting ripped off...is it racism? it's definitely discrimination and there's nothing i can do about it. i'm hoping that chris (the aussie) will be able to help me... since he told me about an indian guy who has a phone shop... i'm just not 100% sure where it is. maybe i'll go hunting later on... i'm just so frustrated right now...
Today was a wonderful day. My co-teacher took myself, two teachers from our school, and a friend of mine around the west side of the island. Other than my trip to Seogwipo for the 24-hour famine at the high school (looong story) it was my first time to get out of Jeju City.
My co-teacher picked us up around 10:45 am and when we got it the car, I realized that there were six of us. One of the teachers brought her baby boy.
"How old is he?" I asked.
"He is 3 years old."
Just as I started thinking that he looked young for 3 I remembered that Koreans start counting from inception and therefore add an extra year compared how we calculate age in the States. Then I realized that I was 30 in Korea! Son of a bi@ch!
"He is 25 months old." Wait a minute! 12 months in a year at 3 years old has got to be at least 30 months!
only at O'Briens! as far as i can find so far anyway... if anyone saw my post in the "bars" section, here is my story about the search for nachos. from Documentarist - "Busan on a Saturday" September 23, 2006: "we headed to o'briens bar, in search of the elusive nachos... i had heard somewhere that they have real nachos with cheese and salsa and sour cream (which is almost impossible to find here - i think they ship it in). sorry i didn't take any photos of the place, i probably should have, but i was so tired by the time i got there all i wanted were these:
i suppose so. i've been *badgered into blogging here on top of my other one... mostly i'll just be copy/pasting stuff from blogger... since i update that one almost daily for all of my friends back home... so, i hope you enjoy reading about my adventures! lizm :)