Graduation: the other side of the looking glass. (Storyaday: Day 38)

Today was the first time that I have been on the other side of the looking glass when it comes to graduation. This is the first time I have attended a graduation ceremony as a teacher.

I have to say I am surprised by how much I will miss some of my middle school students. I only was their teacher for about 5 months (having come into school in the second semester), but I was able to develop a really great connection with some of my students.  Even the kids who I didn’t get to talk to as much, I wish I had a chance to get to know them better.

Overall, after my first semester teaching English I have had a really positive experience. My students were a lot of fun (for the most part) and I hope I will stay in touch with the ones who have meant a lot to me.

I am curious where my students end up and how their English will improve over the years.

I didn’t get a chance to take photos with everyone I wanted to, but here are some photos of me and my students:

 

Hee Jin & Yeji

Oo Jin & Do Geun

As a rule, Korean boys don't like to smile in their photos. He looks so unhappy!

Thinking about this makes me really appreciative of all my former teachers who have impacted my life for the better. Every teacher has left some kind of mark on my life and I am grateful to those who made class interesting and fun.

One of the classes that has had the longest impact on me has been #ds106. Even now, years later, I am still thinking about #ds106 and how I should be creating art and other materials for it.

I might not have as much time as I would like to devote to it, but I still want to be a part of it whenever I can. #ds1064lyfe.

 

 

Why I like being a middle school teacher (Storyaday: Day 15)

I could spend a lot of time writing all the reasons why I like being a middle school teacher in Korea.

But to keep my fingers from crying out in protest, I will highlight the key reason why I like being a teacher here.

My students. My students are awesome! I have met a lot of really amazing kids the past 5 months I have been living in Korea.

I am always so impressed with the kids who speak English really well and also the kids who make an effort to talk to me despite their low English speaking ability.

Since I teach a lot of students, it’s hard to get to know them all.

Also, since I am the foreign English teacher, it’s a little intimidating for most of students to talk to me because they feel like their English isn’t good enough. (This is crazy because Korean and English are radically different from each other; any English they can speak is inherently better than my Korean language skills!)

Anyways, it seems that just as some of my students started to warm up to me, the school year was ending and they getting ready to head off to High School.

Still, some of them seem to want to stay in contact with me, which I find really great. I am very curious what they will do with their lives and where they will end up in the future.

I hope to keep in contact with them and see how much their English improves over the years!

Side story: At my school there is a range of the Students’ English ability ranging from the very highly skilled students to those students who can barely read simple sentences or understand simple questions like “What did you do this weekend?”

Despite this, a few of the students with low English skills have managed to “befriend” me. This means they come by my classroom and say “Hi” even though they are unable  to have an extended conversation with me.

I think what has helped with this is that most of the students have discovered I am trying to learn Korean. When I try to speak some Korean to them (and they can hear my horrible American accent and also the fact I struggle to pronounce words/ read basic sentences) they start to feel more comfortable.

They probably think, “Wow, Korean is really hard for her, but she still is trying. I should try to speak English, even though I find it hard too.”

Despite  massive language barriers sometimes,  I find it possible to enjoy spending time with my students. I think it is cool that some of my students feel comfortable enough to reach out to me, even if they can’t always communicate everything they would wish to say.

I think the biggest part of learning a language is practice, practice, practice. It can be frustrating not being able to say what you want to say, or saying the right word or people not understanding you because of your accent. However, if you practice a lot,  everything becomes easier over time.

Here’s hoping my Korean improves dramatically by the time I am done living here! 😉

daily story journa;s

2012 recap & 2013 resolutions

2012 Recap:

Again, another busy year! I was working a really horrible retail job that made me hate my life. @__@

But then I quit the job and travelled in Europe for two months! I definitely hit my goal of trying to go to as many new countries/places this year as I could!

I met a lot of really cool people, saw amazing sights, and reconnected  with some of my favorite people.

The biggest life change for me was becoming an English teacher in South Korea. I had never been to Korea before, nor taught English before so it definitely turned my life upside down.

I have been living in Korea for 4 months now and  I  finally feel like my life is starting to settle down. I like going off and having adventures, but it’s nice to feel more comfortable with where I live and the job I am doing.

Last year for my 2011 recap and 2012 resolutions I said that I wanted to blog every week. That definitely did not happen! I think this is in large part due to the traveling I did this year and the fact that I fell behind on posting my #366 Creativity Journal Project.

I already mentioned this in a recent blog post, but  #366 Creativity Journal did not turn out exactly as I had planned.  I am no where close to being finished posting this project and certain events happening in my job the next few weeks will make it difficult to play catch up.

I am disappointed in myself for not trying harder this year to get my act together. But I will count this as a learning experience as I finish up #366creativityjournal and I move into my next yearlong project.

This brings me to my 2013 resolutions:  

1) Storyaday project: I decided that this year I want to hone my writing skills. I’ve decided to write a story (fictional AND/OR nonfictional) everyday for a year. Ideally I want to write both a fiction piece and non-fiction/autobiographical piece. To keep track of my progress I will be using these handy notebooks I found.

These are 100 days storybooks. In Korea one of the big moments of being in a relationship with someone is when you have been dating your partner for 100 days. I am not sure why; this will require further investigation. Regardless, this book one way you can keep track of your dating life, or really any life event that requires you to count specific days.

The reason why I like this kind of book is because  it will be easy to track  365 days worth of writing. If I were to use a blank notebook it would be easy to miss some days or to say, “I am too tired to write tonight, I will do it tomorrow.”

Sometimes I don’t want to sit down to write because I know when I do I will end up writing a lot and it will take FOREVER. But since each page doesn’t have that much space to write, it will be easier for me to keep myself motivated with this writing project on the the days I don’t feel like writing.

One of my biggest regrets when I was living in Australia in 2010 was I didn’t keep up with a journal as much as I would have liked. I was too busy living in the moment which was great at the time, but now there are some moments that I wish I had written down so that I would remember it better.  Pictures can help jog my memory, but it doesn’t always help with capturing emotions or the conversations I had with people.

 

2) Blog, Blog, Blog. I have a blog. I should use it. Otherwise this is just a waste of my money and superior writing skillz 😉

3) Koreausa Project. I have been terrible at posting photos. Megan Mc is getting swamped with work too. But it’s a great project and I would love to keep working on it.

4) Travel, Travel, Travel! Travel to as many countries and places as possible this year.

5) Learn more Korean. It’s so useful for everyday life and also to communicate with my students.

 

 

panorma in seoul1

Day 294: Panorama of Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

First time taking a Panorama with my phone. Not the best, but I love how the random man just showed up in my photo as he was walking by. It makes me laugh.

This photo is in response to Megan’s Koreausa challenge of City Skyline.

 

I took this back in October, but took forever to post it because I thought it would be hard to find a Panorama display plugin. Turns out finding one took all of two seconds! @__@ Why did I wait so long? Le sigh.

Day 192: Funny predictions from high school

When I was a senior in High School, I decided my friends and I should make some predictions for the future. I made a survey which each of my friends filled out predicting what would happen in the future for others and themselves. Then we all sealed our predictions in the envelope without sharing what we had written.  We had planned to wait until ten years from the date we sealed the envelope, or until we were 25 to open the envelope and laugh about what people had said. Continue reading