Today is my 2 week anniversary in Korea. Though it is lacking in romance, as I sit solo on a Friday night in my local coffee shop HARU, I couldn't be more pleased. I have a bit of school work to do over the weekend but I am also making my first trip to Seoul. There is a big Lantern Festival on a manmade stream in the city. I've checked out the website and to be honest Im most excited because I read that Haechi is going to be there. Haechi is this big yellow cartoon character that is Seoul's mascot, I LOVE ASIA!!!!!
My first week of full on teaching was successful. It definitely had its ups and downs, but I made it. I was left today with no Korean teacher in the room with a 40 minute grade 5 class and 40 minute grade 6 class- and I was totally fine, didn't even break a sweat. With a sore throat and the inability to speak very loudly I still managed to teach a lesson coherently and play a game the kids could understand. On Wednesday however, I tried a simple variation of broken telephone and it was an EPIC FAILURE. Lesson one: students need to play games from their seats or it'll turn into a circus affair and all hell breaks loose. I can see a pattern forming of highs and lows, matching the unique make up of really good attentive kids and little trouble makers, and I'm okay with it. I think this is going to be as much a learning experience for me as it will be for them.
I am learning the art of lesson plans and slowly wading through the pages and pages and pages of online ESL teaching aids and games and ideas. The network of teachers here is amazing and already I have had so much help from people I barely even know and as someone put it so aptly, why reinvent the wheel? So many people have done this before me and so many are in the thick of it right now, that pooling resources is the way to go.
On Thursday November 11th, Remembrance Day in our part of the world, the Koreans celebrate a very different kind of day. PEPERO DAY. What is Pepero you ask? My sentiments precisely. Some of you might now what POCKY is? Those Japanese long finger stick biscuits dipped in chocolate? Ring a bell? I don't really think Jessie reads my blog but is she does, she'll know exactly what I referring to, most die hard candy addicts would. Pepero is Korea's version of Pocky sticks. It is a little like Valentine's Day here. The kids were really hyper all day and all of them carried around a stash of Pepero's ranging from the size of a small sharpened pencil, to about 3 ft long! Apparently it's on the date 11/11 because it resembles 4 Pepero sticks, so clever. I thoroughly enjoyed it cause by the end of the day I had a nice stash of treats to take home from the students. Just like V-Day at home, it seems mostly like a marketing ploy. The displays in the grocery store were ridiculous, worthy of FAO Schwartz, or the Candy World Hall of Fame!
Outside of school is just as exciting and interesting. It seems everywhere I turn there is a new foreign english teacher to meet and offering to show me the ropes. Osan is really small so I love the community feel so far. I hear the nightlife is pretty booming (not in Osan, but more in Korea in general), and I haven't really been up for that quite yet, but I feel totally reassured that I won't be in short supply of things to amuse myself with.
I have a few pics up from my school, Osan Elementary School and my class room in the ENGLISH ZONE. I am not brave enough yet to bring the camera out in my room with kids running amok, but I don't think my Dad will let me come home without evidence of me, at the head of the class, actually teaching- so it will happen soon.
Oh, and of course there are feet pictures up too.......I bought new shoes for my shoe closet. Purple Converse. Knock off's of course, I'm in Asia!!! They're still pretty awesome though :) They cost me $8 at the market, and they make my feet hurt but I don't care cause they also make me very happy!
Happy 2 Week Anniversary To Me!