Friday, May 28, 2010

Old McDonald Had a Farm

My Seed 1 class is always entertaining. Not only is Joy/T-ara/Girls Generation in it, but he seems to of rubbed off on the other boys in the class. Today Alex/Monkey goes, "Teacher, new name, Ryan." Well, I thought he said Ryan, but he really said, "Lion" which then triggered Tom/After School to want "Frog" as his new name and then Joy/T-ara/Girls Generation to change his name to "Cow." I gave up on changing their names on the attendance because 1.) they change their names every day and 2.) report cards. The names on the attendance is the name on their report card and I just couldn't get myself to write to their parents about their child, Girls Generation or Monkey. Can you imagine?

Dear Mr. and Mrs. So and So,

Monkey is a wonderful student to have in class. Monkey should continue to work hard and remember to do his homework.

I don't think so. It's funny because Joy/T-ara/Girls Generation/Cow saw that I changed his name back to Joy on the attendance and he got offended and said, "Teacher, not Joy. Girls Generation!" Oops.

Side-note: Today a boy came in with a huge bandaid on his knee and of course was playing with the it and got it all stuck together, but he goes, "Teacher, my knee is sick." Not sick as in cool, but sick as in injured, haha.

When in Doubt, Sing and Dance

Tomorrow is the last day of Spring Term and reflecting on the past three months, I realize that I did a lot of singing and dancing to entertain my classes. Here's a list of my favorite performances:

1.) The Chicken Dance- One of my Seed 2 classes (pretty young) got a kick out of the chicken dance. Every class, I would hear, "Teacher, chicken dance!" so I would bust out humming the chicken dance tune and doing the motions. They would stand up with me and dance. I would even switch it up and say "Ok, fast!" or "Ok, sloooowwww" and they loved it. This week I even showed them a clip of the infamous chicken dance on YouTube.

2.) "Switch it, Change it"- At dance camp, we would learn dances in lines. Every few run throughs, the front line would go the back and then the other lines would move up so that everyone got a chance to be in the front. During this transition we would shout, "switch it, change it, rearrange it" and clap in sync with each other. So, during the speaking section of class there's a dialogue section where you have to switch parts. I taught my class this little chant (I hate to say cheer because Maple Motion always made a big deal about the fact that we were NOT cheerleaders ha) and my Sprout 2 class performs it perfectly! They even started saying it when we switch classes. I'm slowing turning them into mini-motioners. Love it.

3.) The Macarena- I'm bringing it back. Watch out.

4.) "Who Let the Dogs Out"- One day while making up their own dialogue during acting, a word was switched it 'dog house' and a student broke out singing, "Who let the dogs out, woof, woof, woof, woof." A definite oldie, but goodie.

Let's be honest, I wish my life was a musical (or Glee).

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Buddha!

To celebrate Buddha's Birthday, I headed to Busan to enjoy a long weekend of sunshine and relaxation on the beach. Unfortunately it rained the.whole.weekend. and not just a drizzle, drip, drop, but a monsoon type downpour.

Actually, Friday was quite nice, so after a two hour KTX ride (not bad at all!), we went to Haehundae Beach which is the main beach, especially for foreigners. In honor of the holiday a man was making a huge Buddha sand sculpture which was pretty neat to see. Oh, by the way, Haehundae Beach set the world record for the most number of parasols at a location. Back in 2008 there was almost 8,000 parasols lined up on the beach. Not only does Busan hold a parasol world record, but it's also the home to Shinsegae, the world's largest department store! Because of the bad weather, we spent a lot of time there. Shinsegae was nine floors of happiness, it included every designer you could possibly think of, an ice rink, movie theater, and so much more. Later that night, we had dinner at TGIFriday's, walked the beach, wandered into a fish market and an amusement park.

The bad weather started Saturday and lasted until we left on Sunday, but we still managed to have a good time. We went to a temple which was still decorated for Buddha's Birthday, did a city bus tour that lasted forever due to the awful traffic, saw Robin Hood, and checked out Seomyeon- Busan's shopping district. On the city bus tour, I saw PIFF Square which is where the Pusan International Film Festival takes place and there's a 'star street' similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. So being obsessed with everything entertainment, I was happy to see it and I'm still planning on going to the PIFF and DMing Justin Chon (Twilight) to meet up... no joke.

Luckily, we bought our returning KTX tickets beforehand, so assuming that we would want to soak up every last ray of sunshine on the beach, our tickets were for a train that left at 5 p.m. However, due to the awful weather, we wanted to head home earlier so we went to Busan Station to see if we could trade our tickets in for an earlier train. The scene of Busan Station was straight out of a movie where everyone is stranded at an airport. I really think all of Korea went to Busan for the holiday weekend and wanted to head home early, just like us. So, there weren't any earlier tickets, but we did make it back to Daejeon safe, sound and only a little wet.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Name Game Pt. 2

Besides the fact that the top boy and girl names of the year are 'Twilight' inspired, Isabella and Jacob, everyone should take note of the names in my Seed 1 class.

The infamous, Joy, renamed, T-ara, is now 'Girls Generation' another popular K-pop music group. Another boy previously named, Tom, was inspired by Joy/T-ara/Girls Generation name changes and is now 'After School' yet another K-pop group. The only other boy in the class, Alex, didn't want to be left out so he is now 'Monkey'. I can't help, but laugh every time I call on Girls Generation, After School, or Monkey in class.

I also want to mention that when there is more than one student with the same name in a class, instead of using last names or initials, they are numbered. I don't think I have any numbered students in my classes this term, but last term I had an Eric and Eric-1. Oh I take that back, I have a class with a Peter and a Peter-1. He literally writes Peter-1 on all of his papers and won't answer unless I say 'one' after Peter even if the other Peter is absent.

P.S. My Korean name is Eun Gee (spelling?) Kim. I always thought it was pronounced N-G Kim, but I was wrong. Eun is like the 'oo' +n sound from 'moon' and then the rest was right, Gee Kim. I'm still working on my Korean, but at least I can say my name correctly now.

The 14th Strikes Again

As if Valentine's Day isn't enough to remember the fact that you're single and alone (just kidding, I love being single!), Koreans get to remember it the 14th of every month. May 14th was Rose Day. A kind co-worker got every women in the office a beautiful red rose. May 15th was Teacher's Day! It fell on a Saturday this year, but my students still remembered it and gifted me with soaps, candies, homemade bread, and random things from their backpacks after they realized they forgot about it. One of my students even brought in donuts and strawberries for all of the instructors and staff which was so thoughtful. It was nice to be recognized and coming up next month is 'Kiss Day'. XOXO.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Doctor, Doctor Give me the News

When I was younger I was a self (or parent)-diagnosed hypochondriac. I used to complain about every cut, bruise, ache and pain on my body. Being a figure skater and having my knees and butt (those butt pads only did so much) permanently bruised, I must've given my parents an everlasting headache with all of the complaining that I did.

However, I would like to bring up the time I broke my arm. It was the last week of kindergarden and I was obviously playing an aggressive game of boys chase girls and I just happened to fall off the monkey bars. After telling my mom I hurt my arm, she just assumed it was another one of my hypochondriac moments and told me to "tough it out" (typical parent response). After three days (maybe even five) of dealing with my complaining, she finally took me to the doctor to get an x-ray only to find out that I really did have a broken arm. She's never going to live that one down.

Working with kids I now know what I put my family through. At the sight of a microscopic drop of blood, which could even easily be a red pen marking, my kids freak out and ask to go to the front desk to get a bandaid. It's amazing how bandaids (it's a bonus if it's Hello Kitty) can cure everything and make the pain, or lack there of, go away. I constantly hear, "Teacher, I'm hot/I have a headache/I hurt my :::insert body part here:::/my stomach hurts/no words, just throwing up motion (in this case I rush them to the bathroom)/etc. I've caught myself telling them to "tough it out" or "you'll be fine."

So after 20 something years of being a hypochondriac, I'm finally getting a dose of my own medicine.

Talk to the Hand

Hand gestures are similar to a universal language.

For example, thumbs up is good and thumbs down is bad, the middle finger is never ok and in the 90's a hand in the face meant to "talk to the hand because the ear's not listening" ohhh, snap.

Today I learned that in my students other schools, there are a variety of hand signals to make when they raise their hand and they each mean something different.

Peace sign = Agree
Four fingers = Question
One finger = Disagree
A-OK = Bathroom

What a great idea.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

It's a Boy!

The new mommy and her adorable little boy!

The love for sun is in his blood. He must be prepping to be a beach boy!

The happy, new family!

Adam Scott Curtis, 6 lbs 4 oz

Congratulations to Scott and Liz on their new baby! I can't wait to be the cool Aunt who spoils him!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Polo Popping Professional

Today I wore a polo (shocking I know) with a tank top underneath and as usual I had the two buttons at the top undone which formed a mini v. During my last class I had a student ask me to button the buttons because I guess she thought I was showing too much skin. In all of my preppy-polo-collar-popping-wearing days I have never buttoned a short sleeved polo all the way up, but I didn't want to be disrespectful so I did. I still find it interesting that even though Korean style is very conservative, women can wear skirts the size of a napkin. I need to go spring shopping and invest in some turtlenecks.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Boys will be Boys

For those of you who I have not seen via Skype, VidChat, or iChat, this is what I look like now... according to a ten year old boy.

Annnd this is what I look like according to a ten year old girl.

Notice any differences? Gotta love it.

P.S. At least one student likes me even if the sentence is grammatically incorrect.

Will the Real MJC Please Stand Up

Here's a conversation I had with a boy in my Sprout 2 class yesterday:

A: "Teacher, you know my teacher."
M: "Your teacher at school?"
A: "Yes, her name is Holly and she says she knows you."
M: "She knows me? I don't think I know a Holly here."
A: "But she said she knows Michelle."

(Meanwhile, the other kids in the class explain to him that there is more than one Michelle in the world.)

A: "There's more than one Michelle in the world?"
M: "Yes, there are many people with the name Michelle, just like there are lots of Alexs, Kaitlyns and Julies."
A: "Ohhh... then it was probably a different Michelle."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lame-O Title

Tuesday's are my longest days of the week, teaching eight classes straight from 2-9 p.m. so please excuse my non-creative title. I feel like my students provided me with a lot of comic relief today, I'm just trying to remember everything.

Joy, the most hilarious student ever is in my first class. He mentioned that he wanted to change his name to T-ara. For those of you not up to date with K-pop, T-ara, is a girl group who sings the catchy song, "Bo-Peep." I tried to upload the music video, but couldn't figure it out, so YouTube T-ara, "Bo-Peep" and I promise you'll have a new favorite song. On his test paper he crossed out Joy and then wrote "new" above T-ara... in blue and purple milky pens. At the end of each term we reward the "best student" and "best actor" in each level with points and gift certificates. I nominated Joy/T-ara for "best actor" and today he proved his skills. The scene the class had to act out was about farm animals and he was such a ham (haha) the whole time.

During another class, we had a discussion about the differences between cats and dogs. One boy raised his hand and said, "you can eat dogs." Lovely.

I asked my students when they see foreigners out and about if they talk to them and they answered yes! One boy said that he helped a couple with directions the other day and they paid him 1 USD. I'm glad they're putting their English skills to good use.

In other news, I have to write a million student reviews and report cards within the next week, but I did just book a trip to Busan over Buddah's birthday weekend. The weather has been gorgeous recently so I'm looking forward to getting some sun!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Binging Blogger

I've realized that I'm a binging blogger. I don't write on a regular basis, but when I do blog, I write a million posts in a row. I guess it's better than no posts at all, but I'll try to be better.

Nails on a Chalkboard

Some people cringe at the sound of nails on a chalkboard or silverware clunking against peoples teeth, I however can't stand the sound of the metal part of a pencil just below the eraser scraping against paper. Ugh, I'm getting the shivers just thinking about that awful sound. Last week during a review test one boy started erasing and the metal part hit the paper and I almost freaked. I literally rushed over to him and handed him another eraser to use. The ear piercing sound was ringing through my head the rest of class.


I've recently learned about some interesting Korean superstitions.

-If you are in a room and have the windows closed and turn a fan on, you will suffocate and die.
-Cutting your nails or toenails at night is bad luck.
-Four is an unlucky number. Just like some buildings in the US don't have a 13th floor, it's common in Korea to not have a forth floor, instead it's the "F" floor.
-If you write someone's name in red ink it means death.

Those are the only ones I learned and the list looked pretty lame so I looked up a few more.

-If you give your significant other a pair of shoes as a gift, he or she will leave you.
-On the day of a big test, don't wash your hair. They believe it will wash away your memory and you won't remember what you studied.
-If you see the Korean magpie (bird) especially in the morning, you will have good luck.
-If you see a crow or raven when you're leaving your house, you will have bad luck, but only for that day.

It's Great to be a Kid (and have a day off)

Last Wednesday was Children's Day and Cinco de Mayo. Fortunately I had the day off, so my friends threw a rooftop fiesta!

Since most students had the day off, kids were out in full force. I ventured to Home Plus in the morning and it was like stepping into a store on Black Friday, the store was packed. The cutest thing I saw was a little girl leaving Home Plus on her new bike and the basket in front was filled with other goodies. It was so adorable. The following day I asked my students what they did to celebrate Children's Day. Most students said that they studied, but a few went to Seoul and Everland (similar to Disney World). One little girl even said she got new notebooks! Woohoo!

The weather was perfect for our Mexican fiesta. The sun was shinning and the sky was clear enough to see fireworks at Expo Park at night. Like always, there was a wide assortment of delicious food like guacamole, tres leches cake, tons of meat, and even homemade hummus. I attempted to make a pinata, but it was too weak so it only lasted one whack.

My friend, Quinn, came to visit for the day from Suwon. The last train to Suwon left at 11:47 p.m. and we literally got to Daejeon Station at 11:45 p.m. Thanks to my Amazing Race skills, he made the train. I got a call about an hour later telling me that he fell asleep and missed the stop for Suwon and was now on his way to Seoul. After a certain time, the subway, train, and buses stop working and Quinn had to take both the subway and bus back to Suwon. He said he was going to sleep at a jimjilbang and head back to Suwon in the morning. Poor Quinn!

Besides Quinn's little mishap, it was a great day spent with good company.

Oh, Happy Day!

Yesterday, was Parent's Day in Korea, so Happy belated Parent's Day to my wonderful parents. It's common for kids to give carnations and other gifts to their parents on this day. Usually, I would get this holiday off, but since it fell on a Saturday this year it was just part of my weekend. All of the convenience stores and street vendors had beautiful flower arrangements for sale for kids to buy their parents.

Also, Happy Mother's Day to my mom! Even though I'm not there to celebrate what a great mom she is, I know she's in good hands. My brother and sister-in-law (who's due in less than a month now!) are cooking dinner for her and then having a game day at our house. Sounds perfect.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I Spoke too Soon

I literally pressed the publish post button on my previous entry and a HUGE bug started flying around my room. Since the weather was so nice today, I had my windows open to get some fresh air, but I don't have screens on them which would be an obvious no, no to leave them open. Believe me, but this bug was about the size of my fist and looked like a mixture between a dragonfly and giant mosquito. It was flying around for awhile and I was running around with a legal pad in hand trying to kill it. I closed my window and I haven't seen it since. I'm hoping it flew out, but until I know for sure, I might have to sleep with one eye open tonight. Ahhh.

Totally Buggin'

So today was the first day of level up testing. Surprisingly they went pretty smoothly besides the fact that my listening files didn't work during my second class which put me seven minutes behind schedule. But in end, it all worked out.

During that same class, my students were focused on the reading section of the test when all of a sudden I heard a loud shreeek. It came from the corner of the room from a boy. I rushed over to see what the problem was to find out that there was a bug on this boy's paper. If you know me at all, I'm terrified of bugs and can remember many times when I screamed at the sight of one. However, this bug was literally microscopic. I know I'm blind, but I could barely see it. It could've been mistaken for an eraser shaving. I couldn't believe that this boy screamed like a girl in a the middle of testing because of this teenie, tiny bug.

I'm proud to be a hero due to the courage I had wiping that bug right off of his desk... with my bare hands.

Big Bear Hug

A student at April gave one of our counselors this huge stuffed bear, who then gave it to a teacher and now the bear (nameless at the moment) resides at his apartment. It is the most cuddly bear ever and I can't wait to dress it (gender is yet to be determined).

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like... Spring!

I'm trying not to jinx myself, but I have officially stored my winter jacket away. This past weekend I went to a Spring kick-off BBQ. The weather was perfect, the food was delicious, and the views were great. I wore a little black and white button up and get this... there was a dog dressed in a similar black and white outfit. Van, the dog and I obviously planned it. Here are some pictures from the party.

Monday, May 3, 2010

May the Force be With You

According to my blog entries, April was a pretty quiet month. The weather is finally warming up, I have access to a rooftop deck that's perfect for BBQing and tanning, it's the last month of the term, and there are lots of holidays to celebrate in May.

This week my students have level up tests so Monday and Tuesday are pretty easy teaching days. May is "Family Month" so Wednesday is national Children's Day. It's a day to celebrate your kids, take them on a special outing, and shower them with gifts. Luckily because of this ridiculous holiday, I get the day off. Wednesday is also one of my favorite Mexican holidays, Cinco de Mayo. My friends and I are having a rooftop fiesta complete with guacamole and pinatas.

Since May is a month to celebrate family, April (my school, not the month) is having another contest. My students are encouraged to video tape their home life and interview their family members. I also have the opportunity to interview my best students and create a video of my own. Both project are just in the beginning stages, but hopefully they will be a success.

Perhaps the most important holiday in May is May 15th, Teacher's Day. I will be sure to remind my students on a daily basis prior to the event. Another important holiday in May is Buddah's birthday. Many temples serve free bibimbap so I'm planning on taking a trip to Seoul to visit friends, explore the city, enjoy cultural events and a long weekend.