Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Go with the flow... or shoot someone out of frustration.

So here is an example of everyday classroom antics that take place...

Last week:
Co: Natalie, the fifth graders have English village this week so we will have no fifth grade class.
Me: Oh ok thanks, good to know.
Co: Oh and I have moved our Friday 6th grade classes to Thursday as we have no fifth grade classes and I need to be somewhere on Friday.
Me: Ok I will write that down.

So no fifth grade students the whole week, yay! I can catch up my Korean homework and lesson plan! (What I actually did was sit on the internet and plan Seoul trips and my summer vacation. Oh so productive)

So Thursday arrives...
I am at the front of the class writing the date and day and weather and all that I ask my students everyday on the board. I also write out the key expressions we are using in that class and what activities we will be doing. My co has seen me do this by the way...
The bell rings, no sixth graders... So I think maybe they are a little late from homeroom class because that does happen sometimes.
After about 5 or so minutes my co teacher pops his head around the partition thing that separates our class from where our desks are.

Co: What are you doing?
Me: I am waiting for the sixth graders.
Co: We don't have sixth graders today.
Me: But you said that you moved our Friday sixth grade classes to today?
Co: No, we don't have sixth grade today. Sixth grade tomorrow.
Me: Ok I must have misunderstood (Not! Because I wrote it down in my diary)

Anyways so Friday arrives...
Again I am writing all the stuff on the board in preparation for the class. The sixth graders have 'Exams' coming up which is pretty much just listening, reading and writing tests. However they do not learn this in my class as the sole point of me being here is to teach them how to speak like a native English speaker so all of our classes are focused on speaking. I was told to prepare worksheets for the 6th graders for this test the day before so I spent quite a lot of time on it as I have ridiculously different levels in my class. Some kids I can kind of have a conversation with and others do not even know their alphabet so that made making worksheets a little harder and just meant that they had about 16 worksheets each. We have a month to do it in so it will be fine.

So now I am writing all this on the board and in waltz my sixth graders, oooh teacher are we singing the birthday song today? Me, yes we are!! Yaaay! Co teacher pops in, no actually we are not. We are doing worksheets and revision, said whilst handing out worksheets.
Me: Are we giving them ALL the worksheets now?
Co: Yes.
Me: There is quite a lot.
Co: Yes they can do it at home too.
So we proceeded to do the worksheets and not the lesson that was planned for that day...

This week:
Co: We don't have sixth grade class this week. They have classes on men and woman and how they should act around each other and what their roles in society are.
Me: (sex ed? Life orientation? What kind of class is this?) Oh ok thanks I will write that down.
Tuesday arrives...
I only had two fifth grade classes and now I am planning lessons for the next topic that they start next week.
In waltz my sixth graders.
Me: You don't have class now.
Students: Yes we do.
Me: Really?
Students: Yes. You are the teacher. Don't you know?
Me: (You would think so...) Sit down.
So I am now grabbing the textbook and going on from where we left off and thinking I would review and get the concepts in their heads while incorporating one or two new activities.
Co: We need to finish this topic quickly. I want to do a test with them.
And so he proceeds to speed me through about three lessons while the kids are quite confused. 
After class:
Me: Oh so did we only have that one 6th grade class today?
Co: No, we have all of them.
Me: But you said we don't have sixth grade this week because they have other classes.
Co: Really? Do they?
Me: (Seriously?!?!?) Nevermind... I didn't say anything.

This happens all the time... Moral of the story...Have lesson plans for at least a week in advance ready! and don't let it bother you, or you might shoot someone in frustration.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

That dreaded word... Exercise

So I am sure that all of you that know me know that I am by far one of the laziest people ever! I do not do any form of exercise unless I absolutely have to. I wish I was one of those people that love exercise but I just don't get it. However being in Korea has been great since we have had to walk everywhere and on my way to and from school there are quite a few uphills that give my calves a workout so I thought that it was about time that I get off my ass and do something about the fact that I am sooo unfit!
This is how we came to the decision to hike Apsan. Liz hikes it like twice a week but I never wanted to go with her because she is super fit and I would probably die after trying to keep up with her. After hiking Apsan last week Sunday I can safely say that that was a very good decision! I went with Sally, Emma and Shawn and both Emma and Shawn for a tad hungover so they had to stop and breath every so often which was great for me and also because in Korea all the mountain hikes seem to just go straight UPHILL, it is quite unpleasant when you're not used to it but it gets better over time.
Anyways after huffing and puffing for about 1 hour and 20 minutes we finally made it to the top! Once you get to that lookout and you see that view the whole hike is worth it! It's so beautiful and you have a view of the whole city...

All the lantern are up to celebrate buddah's birthday which is this coming weekend

After realizing that I could get up a mountain without dying I thought that it was maybe about time I find some places near me where I could do some exercise. There is this park that I look out onto from my window at school and I always tell myself that I am going to go for a run and it just never happens... So after the hiking experience I had the motivation to finally do it, and turns out it is an amazing park! Its so pretty because you also have a great view from the park and look down onto the river, I ran down from the park away from my school and found out I can run along the river on this like boardwalk thing until I get back onto the main road and can then walk home from there. You can't run on the main road as you will either get hit by a car, bus, motorbike or old Korean woman whose way you are in... Anyways all in all it was a good day! Now I just have to make myself do it more than once...
View from the park

View from the park

The reflective surface is not water its actually a circular area at the top of the park that is tiled. I have no idea why you would need a tiled area in a park but hey, this is Korea. 

On Friday night we then decided to do a night hike up Apsan because it was so pretty in the day it must look amazing at night with all the city lights on and turns out it really was. It's kinda scary hiking in the dark and you have to be very careful that you don't fall and break your neck but it was a lot of fun.

Enjoy the pics! Bye for now :)

Round and about Daegu

Ok so this is just a random collection of pictures from some events round and about Daegu...

A wig party at the pent house suite of one of our friends friends...

St paddy's day celebrations, liz, me and sally

More St Paddy's day celebrations... Liz, me, Sally and Kaylyn

Soju! Korean alcohol made from rice... its cheaper than a 2L bottle of water!!

Outside gogo party(the drink in the bag place) they give you free sparklers! its the best!!

Yes that is me in the box... with the owner of gogo, he loves us! I suppose we give him quite a lot of business!

Penthouse party again.. Me, ally, wendy and sally

Penthouse party

Gogo party

Seomun market, famous market in korea

Seomun market again

International athletics (olympics practice) at Daegu Stadium

International athletics again!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

In the classroom

Most of the photo's I have taken in class have been at many random times so I thought I would upload a few here for you all to see what my class and students look like...

She is the cutest! she holds my hand every time she sees me! I only see these kindergarten kids on a friday though...

View from my school

The kids can go on these computers for extra revision

My classroom with the interacvtive smartboard at the front. its a lot of fun to use!

Tables and chairs for the students to read all the great books that are on those bookshelves (they never do)

Here the kindergarten teacher called me over to have photos with all the kids. Adorable. 

How cute is she?!

I want to take this little boy home with me!!
These are my Kindergarten kids that I see every Friday. They are the most adorable things!! and I don't even teach them, i basically just play with them for an hour or so...

Next are my 6th graders, We were doing the lesson 'What will you do?' and it was all about what you could do for show and tell and a talent show so in the last lesson I let them bring their instruments and show us what they could do... I tried to upload the videos i have but for some reason they wouldn't work! I will try again in another post so here are some pics :)

Most of the students did something with a musical instrument and they were all really good! I had a few pianists that blew my mind. I do feel a little sorry for them though as quite a few of them would tell me how much they hated playing the piano but their parents wouldn't let them stop. A lot of Korean students are sent to music private schools after school so they are quite sick of having to study all the time. Quite understandable but none the less these kids are highly talented. 

Haeundae and Gwangalli beach

This time we were going to Busan for a friend of ours from Orientation's Birthday. We were only meeting everyone on Saturday though so Sally, Kaylyn and I decided to spend the whole weekend there and went through on Friday after school...
The first night we stayed at this really cute hostel called Indie guesthouse, it was really cheap and really clean and even included breakfast and the people were so friendly! It was also about a 2 minute walk from Hyundae Beach (the most popular beach in Korea) so it was a great location. We arrived that night and got a cab from the station but somehow managed to give the cab driver the wrong directions in Korean so ended up on the complete opposite side of Busan and a ridiculously expensive cab fair but hey, its how you learn!
That night we grabbed dinner and then headed out for the night and met up with a bunch of people we met at orientation and did some bar hopping along the beach, it was a lot of fun!
The next day we pretty much just lounged on Hyundae beach, it was so pretty!

That afternoon, the rest of the kids arrived and we took all our stuff to the new hostel that we stayed in that night with the rest of them which was also really good! It was called Pobi guesthouse and also included breakfast in the price and was about R140 for the night and they gave us towels and bedding and there was even shampoo and conditioner to use in the bathroom.
Once we all got settled in we headed off to Gwangali beach for dinner where the famous diamond bridge is, it was really pretty because the restaurants are all directly on the beach and the bridge is all lit up at night which looks stunning! After that we went down to the university district and danced the night away :)

They projected Ghandi quotes onto the sand at about midnight... it was so pretty!!

The next morning we all headed back pretty early as we were dead tired and pretty excited to sleep in our own beds :) It was a really great weekend!

Gwangalli beach is a lot more happening than Haeundae beach. There are countless bars and restaurants along the beach and the beach itself is not as crowded as Haeundae. 
Both are easily accessible by subway.