Thursday, June 30, 2011

Baby Hyuk

Remember Baby Hyuk?

cutest baby in all of Korea.  Or the happiest.  Or both?
He is so cute.  He is so happy.  He may be my favorite baby in all of Korea.  Or the little one I saw on the subway today {sidenote:  if I ever have a daughter, she will is getting some pink tulle in form of a skirt and a bow that is a big as her precious little head.  SO CUTE!}  Well, Baby Hyuk has been doing some growin'

And just not his hair!  He can now crawl and say Oma and Abba (mom and dad in Korean).  I am not sure if he said any other words in Korean as I only recognized Oma and Abba.  My amazing husband and I hung out with Baby Hyuk's mom, Bob, and Mark on Wednesday evening.  We had a great time! So did Baby Hyuk:

Baby Hyuk getting dolphin rides  (i.e. he lays on the dolphin and my hubby pulls the dolphin around)
A good time was had by all

Baby Hyuk's Oma (Mrs. Oh) made some rockin' Vietnamese food while we played with Hyuk.  It was really delicious! (I can say that in Korean.)  It was great to hang out with friends and not have to cook dinner (although we did bring the Best Chicken Salad Sandwich Evah with us to share).  After dinner we went out for coffee.  I had a Law Fat Yogurt Blueberry Shake (yum-o!  And yes, it said Law instead of Low on the menu...oh Korea!). 
Hyuk chillin' with his opa

Mrs. Oh asked us to think of an international name for Baby Hyuk. (read: you want me to think of a name for your baby!?!?!  I was humbled.)  We are thinking Benjamin.  It works well in Spanish or English. but if you have any suggestions, let us know!

Hopefully we can hang out again soon.  And hopefully I will successfully teach him how to say noon-na.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A day in the life of an EPIK teacher!

I guess I forgot to clarify in my morning routine post, that I am an EPIK teacher.  EPIK (pronounced epic) stands for English Program in Korea. My position in EPIK is Native English Teacher a.k.a NET.  The native part of NET means that  I grew up speaking English, not that I am a native of Korea (somewhat confusing....).  I thought Native English Teachers would be Korean.  Now I am off topic.

Disclaimer: You may read about my day at school and think to yourself, "Self, that sounds like a pretty easy job."  Yes, I know teachers of America, your job is harder than mine; your job is more stressful than mine; your job is at a faster pace than mine.  I know.

8:12 A.M.
Arrive at school.  Change shoes (this is one of things that I have heard about Asian cultures, but did not believe.  Yes, folks.  It is like Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.  You change into "inside shoes" when you get to school and change back to "outside shoes" when you leave.)
image courtesy of Google Images.  I also liked Mr. Rogers

8:13 A.M.
Walk to the vice principal's office.  Bow to the folks in the office.  Get the key to my classroom.  Unlock classroom.  Turn on computer.  Return Key.  Fill the electric kettle with water for coffee.

8:16 A.M.
Check email, check blogs (I have quite the list by now), check facebook.  Say Hi to Ally-teacher.  Ally and I are office mates.  She is also one of my co-teachers and probably my closest Korean friend.  Ally potentially likes coffee more than I do (which is not a good thing for me!)

What?  You do not want to read a minute-by-minute schedule of all 480 minutes that I am at school?  Well, okay, if you insist.

8:30 A.M.
School starts.  This is not really significant as all the kiddos are in their respective homerooms listening to announcements and reading library books (how do you listen and read at the same time?  I do not know.)  I use this time to type lesson plans, make sure I have everything set for the day, and try to remember to pray for my students (I am successful at the last one about 25% of the time.)

9:00 A.M.
First class of the day.  The kids stand in line outside the English classroom.  In order to enter the classroom, they must say the key sentence or some vocab words from the previous class.  I really like this time as it is the only one-on-one time I get with my students.  Today I am teaching third grade.  It is role-play day.  We watch the role-play.  Then we listen and repeat the story.  Then I say the sentences from the story and the kids listen and repeat some more.  Then the kiddos practice in pairs.  After practicing, some pairs came to the front of the class and presente the role play. {Korean children role-playing is the cutest thing evah!  They get into acting so much!  It is adorable.}

Class ended with some review work in their books and a game.

9:40 A.M.
Class is technically done, but the kiddos once again line up in the classroom.  They have to say a sentence from class.  Usually I ask the focus question (“How many cats?” was the question for today) and the children look at how many fingers I am holding up and form an answer (I have 3 cats.)  Yes, this is traumatizing to some students.  But, the kids pay attention a lot better if they know they have to say a sentence to me before they can leave.
I do not have pics of my students, but here is my amazing hubs with some of his

9:50 A.M.
Class number two.  Scroll up to 9 A.M. read it again.

10:30 A.M.
Class ends.  Another advantage of testing kids to let them out of class is the chance to work with lower level kids.  I try to weed them out and keep them in class for a few extra minutes.  I make them say the key sentence 10 times.  Not the best teaching practice, but so far it is as effective as anything else I have tried.

10:50 A.M.
Class three starts.  Go up and read 9 A.M. again.

11:30 A.M.
Class ends.  The best part about having ten or twenty minutes between classes is behavior management.  If a student misbehaves during class, they are not allowed to run the halls like a crazy person (which in my opinion is what the rest of the children do during break time).  Students must stay and clean the classroom.  I have tried on countless occasions to have some conflict resolution conversations with students.  Let’s just say that Koreans are really into have people apologizing and not at all fans of  thinking about what you have done or what you will do next time.

11:40 A.M.
Class four starts, my stomach growls.  Read 9 A.M. again

12:20 P.M.
Class ends.

12:22 P.M.
Head to lunch.  On the way to lunch I practice my conversational Korean.  Presently I am learning how to say, “I hope lunch is delicious.”  “Chum-shim-ee  ma-cheese-say-myeon jo-ques-i-yo.”  I am horrible at transliterating Korean.

On this particular day, I had kimchi, rice, tofu/red pepper/bean sprout soup, ham, really thin slices of radish that we wrapped the ham in, and some roots that are thinly sliced and boiled in soy sauce (it is super chewy and void of any flavor to me).

12:44 P.M.
Walk back to the English Office with three or four other subject teachers (i.e. music, special ed, English, P.E.).  Make coffee for everyone.  Drink coffee.  Shoot the breeze in Korean (I zone out completely). 

Some of the great people I work with

1:10 P.M.
If I had a fifth class, it would start now.  But on this particular day I do not have any afternoon classes.  I type lesson plans.  I also have a lovely spreadsheet that I keep for each grade that tells different lessons that I have taught and the activities that I have done for that class.  It comes in really helpful the next year when teaching the same lesson.  So I spent some time updating my spreadsheet.  I am a nerd.

1:50 P.M.
If I have a fifth class, it would end now.  I finish up lesson plans, print them and start working on prepping tomorrow's Teacher's Afterschool English Class PowerPoint.  I am becoming quite handy with powerpoint.

2:16 P.M.
I come across a funny dialog.  I get on facebook to message my amazing husband about the funny dialog.

2:28 P.M.
Still on facebook, completely forgot the reason that I got on.

2:32 P.M. 
Get back to "work".

3:00 P.M.
One of the homeroom teachers wanted to practice her English, so she came down to my office.  We sat and chatted.  She gets really nervous when speaking English, so my goal is to help her build confidence more than anything else.  She is super nice and will be one of the people I think of when I remember Korea.  She is quite chatty though :)

3:45 P.M.
Finish up powerpoint for tomorrow.  Check my to-do list.  Chat with Ally about her day.

4:00 P.M
I love four o'clock.  If I have everything done by four o'clock, I let myself be completely unproductive for the last 30 minutes of work.  It is glorious.  Today I listened to a sermon.  It is nice to chill out for half an hour.  There are days that I work up until 4:30, but most days I try to get my stuff done.

4:28 P.M.
Turn computer off, change shoes, stare at clock.

4:30 P.M.
Say "Neigh-ill Mun-die-o" (See you tomorrow) to Ally and head home.

**Just a reminder that this is one day in my life.  Almost no two days in my life at school look the same.  I have classes cancelled for no reason (that is told to me).  I have classes rescheduled.  And I have killer bees fly in the window and distract the class for a good five minutes.**