Friday, March 8, 2013


The past couple of weeks have held a lot of changes for me here in Korea. I'd like to say I don't mind change, but admittedly I don't care much for it. I get used to the people I have in my life, and when someone leaves it, or my situation changes, I feel less in control. Which I hate. With a passion. So, the past couple of weeks have been a bit hard for me.

Primarily, Erin left Korea. I don't know when it happened, but she became my best friend here. I often told her that it's so strange how the world works; I never would have met her if not for Korea, yet I feel closer to her than I do to many people I've known for years. She was like my rock at work. I knew I could ask her anything and she probably knew the answer. She helped me so much, between what to do at work, how to deal with Korea in general, and so many other areas. I've dreaded the day she would leave for a while, and when that day finally arrived, it was hard. She stayed in my apartment for about 3 days before she flew out. It was a lot of fun, like a sleepover. :) She was such an amazing support here and I knew I'd miss her when she left. Unfortunately, I didn't realize quite how different things would feel without her.

At work, I keep expecting her to walk in and start cracking jokes. I don't really like being the "old" teacher now. I don't feel like I've been here long enough to be the one the newbies turn to with questions. It's just a completely different feeling at work now without Erin and Bryan. I do want to say, though, that Meghan has been an amazing addition to our afternoon team. While no one can replace Erin, Meghan has done great adjusting to work and fitting in with everyone. She is a great person to talk to and I'm so thankful that, despite having to give up Erin, at least I got someone as cool as Meghan in her place.

My friend Yechan is also about to leave. Granted, he is leaving to go into the Korean military, not move overseas, but still. We've become good friends in the last couple weeks and I am definitely sad to say goodbye to him. With all this business with the North happening recently, it's even scarier to know someone who is going into the South Korean military. I hope that everything with him goes smoothly and he does well in his service.

Speaking of the North, good grief! That's just about all I hear about on the news. I asked my kids about it today, and they don't seem worried. Of course, they don't fully understand the complexity of matters; all they know is that America is more of a target. Even so, it IS something to think about... I'm not packing my bags or anything, but we'll see come Monday...

I've gotten a new Phonics class on MWF. The kids are fresh, we are just learning ABCs... it's super boring, but the kids are sweet and adorable. I am the second teacher, so my partner teacher Erica got to name them. I was so jealous! It's kind of every English teacher's dream to name students... (I mean, I've got a Jamal in my class; someone had a sense of humor when they named him!). Anyway, Anne is super enthusiastic and loves to use the words she knows (which are mostly, "Hello teacher!"). Kelly follows Anne around. Max is the cutest little thing! Jeff is a bit sullen, and Alex is a chatty, sassy thing. Ashley is adorable and reminds me of a Korean Barbie doll. She constantly asks me things in Korean, to which I can only shrug my shoulders. The class started Monday. Today we got 2 new students, and Erica gave me the honor of naming them. I was put on the spot and couldn't think of much. I named one Bailey, and the other Janet. Who knows where I got "Janet" from! But, the names fit them. And, I can officially say I've named some students!

In my Reach Out class, which has become one of my favorites, my favorite girl left SLP. I was so sad to find out. But, one of her school mates is also in that class. I told him to tell Jenny that I missed her! And, what do ya know, Jenny wrote me a letter back! It was so sweet and literally made my week. I am considering framing it...

Jenny is the middle student in the pink!

In my Leap High 1 (formerly Step High 6), the class with Henry, I got a new student. Her name is Jasmine, and I love her! Of course, I probably would love any girl coming into that horrible class. She is super sweet, though. On the first day, she sat at the front. When they boys were getting really loud and obnoxious (which was about 20 seconds after I got into the room), she leans forward and says to me (I'm paraphrasing her broken English): "Teacher, if I was you, I would yell at them so much!" Haha! Finally, a kindred spirit! She's been great to have in class; I only regret that I can't be a better teacher for her since I am constantly trying to reign in the boys.

Clara, a student from one of my old classes that I no longer teach, has decided that I am her best friend. She finds me in the halls between classes and holds my hand and talks to me (well, smiles and giggles and says a few words). She makes my day; she's adorable and obviously she loves me! Haha! It's nice to be loved. I always give her a bear hug and she's always a little freaked out by it!

I got a new 2SAP class (no longer the 3 girls). Now I have 6 boys... ah!!! They are sooo horrible! I mean, they're sweet and cute kids, but they drive me up a wall!!!! I've got one who cries over almost anything, Brian. He's all about getting stars on the board and gets so angry when he doesn't get a star for something. In fact, today I told him to stop talking to another boy (in order to avoid more yelling and tattle-telling), and he swung his hand at me - with a pencil in it! I was already so frustrated by the yelling and screaming, I lost my cool. I was shocked that he actually hit me, and also kind of stabbed me with the pencil, I yelled at him "You do NOT hit teachers!" I was shocked (per my American education where if you so much as step a toe out of line in disrespect, you got swats or the worst talking-to possible), and the dam holding back my frustrations burst. As I said this, I saw Brian's eyes get huge and immediately well up with tears. He started to BAWL! I immediately regretted losing it on him, and felt horrible. I apologized again and again and told him it was okay, I wasn't mad. I knew it was an accident, right? I gave him some tissues and let him cry for a few minutes, continuing to tell him it was okay in the nicest voice possible. Man, I felt so bad.... He dried up in a minute or two and we got on with the lesson, but man... I felt like a terrible teacher. But, teachers are people too, and after 7 months of containing my frustrations, I guess it's only human nature. I'll definitely be more careful, especially in that class.

In that same class, there is another boy: Benny. He is probably my least favorite. He always talks like his nose is stuffed up (and half the time he does in fact have snot on his face), I can barely understand him, and he's absolutely wildly ADHD. He is almost feral. He is always swinging his arms, legs, and body around; pushing his books and papers off the table and not realizing it; laying on the ground or just being a gross boy. And the worst part: he screams. Rarely does he say a thing without it being at the highest decibel possible. And every day, I have to tell him to stop talking, turn around, and do his work. And every time I do, I hear "eveerryyyday, teacher say, "do your work! stop talking!" And I'm like, YEAH Benny, because everyday you're NOT doing your work! And everyday, you're talking! It's sooooo frustrating. He complains and complains about me, to my face, and I just want to shake him and say, "I wouldn't say it EVERRRRYDAY if you would just behave!!!!!!!!!!" Hm, now that I think about it, I'm thinking he might be my primary source of frustration in that class...

I'm not sure if I mentioned it before, but I've got many of my students writing to penpals in Texas! It's a bit of a process, since I have to have kids from many different classes write and give them all to me to send off in one package. It's a lot of organization and collaboration with the other teachers to make sure the kids give me their letters. But, the kids got responses back and it was awesome! They were all so excited! It's adorable. I don't even mind the extra work and paying out of pocket to mail the packet of letters, just to know they're excited about something. :)

In my 3SAP (which includes my former 2SAP girls - Charlotte, Kelly, and Rachel, among others), I teach only Bookclub. Which is kind of nice, but I am the first teacher and the kids are soooo tired when they get to my class. I guess they haven't gotten their second wind by then. So, I've started having them do some exercises before we start working. I have them stand up and we do a few stretches, then running in place, knee highs, and jumping jacks. Some of the kids love it, a few hate it, but they at least have a bit more energy afterwards. I like doing it too, although I feel silly! And, I know that there is CCTV in every room so someone is probably watching us at that moment. But, who cares.

Beyond school, in my social life, not much is happening. I signed up, along with Meghan, to go to Nami Island on March 24th and go zip-lining! I am super excited and consider it a bit of a birthday present to myself. That will definitely be a lot to talk about in a future blog.

Rosie is doing well; haven't talked much about her lately because there's not too much to say. She's adorable and I love her, but she's not very exciting.

I am getting really into some Korean TV dramas on Netflix. I started watching Boys Over Flowers before I came to Korea at the suggestion of a friend. I am continuing that series, and have a few more lined up to get through too. I am getting really into them! They're cutesy and cheesy, but also really good!

Finally, I am starting the process of looking for another job in Korea! I am still thinking I'm going to go ahead with the plan of: end contract, travel Europe for 3 months, go home for 3 months, then back to Korea for another year. And, I am still thinking public school. Everything just seems so much better in public schools! I've got an interview next week with a recruiter. I am hoping to go to either Busan or Incheon if I can't come back to Seoul (which is verrry competitive!)

Anyway, not too much planned for this weekend. It will be kind of nice to just relax and enjoy the beautiful weather (highs in the 60s tomorrow! craaazy!). :) Maybe go to a park or something. We'll see...

Bye for now,

Here's a gem: quote on a hoodie at the Dongdaemun Market - only 10,000W! 


  1. loving this!! Haha your students have "normal" names!
    Mine include:
    Henric (who I call Tomato, and he calls me Miss Banana)
    Roefen which turned into Royfen which turned into Voifen and is now Woven.
    Edison (Because he is a son of Edi)
    Fergus and Fred (twins)

    my cooperating teacher had an Elephant one year and a Purple

    Year (a girl who's brother is named Decade)
    Two Rainbows in one class with a Rainy

    1. OMG that's hilarious! I'd heard recently from a friend that many Chinese English students have those kind of names. And he mentioned a lot of gemstone names too, Crystal, Amethyst, etc. So funny! I guess even the weird names are better than trying to learn all their Chinese names!


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