Friday, March 28, 2014

Day 5: Badger Blogging Blitz

[Badger Blogging Blitz (BBB) 2014: Ashley ...meanwhile in Korea...Vicky Outside the PyxisMaggie The Traveling FlamingoDrew The Hungry PartierRebecca Rebe with a Clause]

Today is FRIDAY, March 29th. The weather today is partly cloudy and warm (high 75, low 50 degrees Fahrenheit). 

Daily Recap
It's Friday and the kids know it. Extra energy, extra laughs, extra enthusiasm for the games!

6:00AM: Alarm clock goes off. NPR's hourly newscast, check email, frozen blueberries, banana, peanut butter with a spoon, toast and jam, coffee, calcium supplement, brush my teeth twice with two different kinds of toothpaste.

7:30AM: Walk to bus stop. Notice a weird interaction between a high school "couple." The boy is standing next to me, drinking a milk box. The girl is about five feet away from where we're standing; she has her school uniform on and I recognize her from yesterday. The boy tosses his milk box on the ground, strides over to her, points down the street, and they walk off together, away from the bus stop. Weird...

7:45AM: Bus ride to Doji Elementary. I sit in the seat above the wheel which has a platform so my feet don't dangle from the seat (I'm short even in Korea). I'm unplugged, deciding to enjoy the sounds of my bus ride in Korea. I put in my earbuds around the third time the lady behind me vomit belches. Some breakfast was coming up with those burps. Slouch lower into my seat. The Doji kids get on a stop before the school, and one of the sixth grade girls sits next to me. I ask them how they're doing, "Fine, thank you, and you?" ^^

8:20AM: Arrive at Doji Elementary School. The crossing guard waves us across the street, and today I give him a middle-deep bow. All the students seem to be outside this morning as one of the teachers pushes a chalk marker, creating courts on the dirt playground. I later see they are paddle badminton courts. The kids say, "Hi," left and right and I pause in the hallways to look at some student made posters. I'll have to ask SH about them. I'm the first one again today, so I open the blinds, etc.

8:33AM: SH arrives in his casual Friday jeans. He dresses business casual on regular school days - nice pants and sweaters, that kind of thing. We talk about the intro ppt's and games for the day. Before the fifth graders come into the classroom, we stand in front of the classroom windows and watch the kids out on the playground. There's one girl who hasn't stopped jumping for the past ten minutes and this little boy is just running and running, holding a soccer ball out in front of his body with his hands. "What is he doing?" Haha, it's a light-hearted start to the day. 
9:00-9:40AM: 5-1 Class (Lesson 2-1: Intro). "Whose umbrella is this/that/it? It's mine. It's Minu's." I like the fifth graders a lot -- they're a lively group and seem to be pretty tight with one another. We start with a motivation clip: Finding Nemo "Mine" -- what do the seagulls say?  The Intro PPT is way too long, an error on my part, but the visual "activities" are fun to them. They play the Whose? Game board game with gusto!  
9:50-10:30AM: 6-1 Class (Lesson 2-2: Practice Speaking Key Phrases). "What will you do for the talent show? I'll play the guitar." I ditch the MASH game PPT to avoid yesterday's confusion, and we re-explain the concept of future prediction, the categories, and choosing one thing you don't like for each category. I draw my own MASH game on the white board and some of the girls shout out EXO and INFINITE for the "Who will I marry?" category. They literally lose their shit the second the letters hit the board. They get it now. They start stressing and stressing about what to write in each category. SH discreetly mentions to me that this is such a serious game for them and that they need lots of time. I describe how to count and eventually eliminate all but one item in each category. There are audible groans when EXO gets crossed off my example list, and cheers from the INFINITE fans when it turns out that I will marry the k-pop group. The squeals of embarrassed delight, ripped up sheets, and the refusal of one boy to show anyone his list is so... adolescent. I love it.
10:40-11:20AM: 6-2 Class (Lesson 2-1: Intro). I ask SH between classes if there is a Korean game like MASH and he says he's never played one but that the students really liked the game - all the pop stars, they like writing that. The 6-2 class is just as shocked and giggly and the boys, "Teacher, no, no," when I point to their empty "Who will I marry?" category. I make them write Kim Yuna, South Korea's hero and beautiful figure skater, as the "bad" item in that category. I'm really thankful for my co-teacher SH for this activity because he's a good teacher and it wouldn't have been a successful activity without him. He calms their concerns and I'm envious of the discussions he has with them. Most of the answers I see are understandably written in Korean, but there are a few names I recognize: L.A., NYC, and Paris are popular cities and there are BMW's and Mercedes under the car category. One student has "Monet" as a possible husband, which is awesome. Sharing all the answers at the end was priceless and I like to think I'm old enough not to care about this game, but man, my future in this class -- I will live in a shack in an alleyway, will have no car and no job, but at least will be married to the k-pop Big Bang. Why they don't buy me a mansion to live in, only future me can know.

11:30AM-12:10PM: 4- 2 Class (Lesson 2-1: Intro). "Let's play soccer. Sounds good. Sorry, I can't." I'm so fond of the fourth grade classes. I think they're at a really great age and a good number of them like joking and talking to me. The reaction to one of the book animations flipping off the playground bars: "OH! Wow!" The Intro PPT  and Coin Flick game go exceedingly well. I'm high on life as class ends -- they're happy kids. 
12:10-12:30PM: Lunchtime is my favorite time of the day. A chill lunch.

12:30-1:00PM: SH and I pause in the sunshine to watch the kids play paddle badminton and soccer outside. What a beautiful afternoon. I still got it when I successfully kick a rogue soccer ball back to the players with one nonchalant swipe of my foot. A group of students swarm around us as we make our way back upstairs to the classroom, talking and shouting, and asking us questions. We pass the posters, which are for Doji's Sports Day -- looks like my wish or another Sports Day will come true! The kids play a complex version of kawi-bawi-bo (rock, paper scissors) with SH I've never seen before. I watch closely but can't figure out the rules. Off to brush our teeth then quickly get ready for our last class of the week.

1:00-1:40PM: 4-1 Class (Lesson 2-1: Intro). The Intro PPT and Coin Flick game are once again a great success. SH and I talk about one of the boys whose English level is very high; he's one of the students that seeks me out to talk but is always so nervous about it. SH says he's nervous when he talks in Korean, too, which I sort of caught on to. He's a good kid and I just wish I had more time with the Doji students. It's the crappy part about splitting my time between two schools. SH said maybe we should have class on the weekends. Now that's a weary thought lol. 
1:40-4:45PM: SH has a staff meeting that lasts most of the afternoon, so I finish up my work and get a head start on today's blog post. A few more interactions with the kids that come and clean the English room. One of the cutest of all the cute kids I see every week dances around my desk and gives me a little flower. I'm irritated that I'm going to miss seeing the Doji students next week because of the GEPIK training. SH gets back from the meeting just as I'm leaving, "See you in two weeks, have a great weekend." 
4:45PM: Bus ride home. One of the teachers I met at the teacher dinner hops onto the bus with me. It's been a difficult week for her -- argument about a student with the student's mother. We talk about drinking alcohol on the weekend, cats, and coyotes. It's wasn't as random as it sounds. I need to make more of an effort to talk with my co-workers and worry less about lesson planning. 

Happy Friday, all <3

Daily Questions:

1. What's your favorite part of Korean culture/society? 

The food and the stationary. I wish I had prepped this question because I have so many things to say about the food - kimchi, pajeon, mandu, sam gyeop sal, meat sticks, fish pastries, odang, bibimbap.... it all feeds a deeply hungry part of my soul. And the stationary which brings out the best of the English language, "One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory," has also flipped on my need-for-cutesy switch. When I'd normally go for blue or grey, I now choose winking cats and baseball cap wearing teddy bears. There's not a week that goes by that I don't stop in my favorite stationary shop juuust to look. To be continued --

*Check out Ashley's blog post about stationary in Korea

2. Have you been able or wanted to keep up on current events in the U.S. - new movies, your favorite TV shows, news, etc.? Also, how do those things differ in Korea? What topics are covered in the news? Are people there as interested in TV/movies? 

Absolutely, I have been keeping tabs on current events  back home in the U.S. NPR's hourly newscast and NPR in general has been a life source for me. Listening to the NPR braodcast is like hearing the voices of my friends (looking at you, Steve Inskeep). I'm obsessed with Buzzfeed and I look to my Facebook and Twitter feeds for headlines and links to interesting and often times, humorous articles. I watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report (Comedy Central appon my iPad mini, which miraculously work without having to adjust the DNS code in Settings. Instagram and Snapchat have been invaluable ways to keep up with the daily, snapable happenings in my friends' and family's lives. Netflix worked for while on my iPhone but for the past couple of weeks it hasn't been able to connect (help!). 

As far as pop culture and film go, I listen to a lot of podcasts that discuss the events and films I'm not able to see (and let's face it, most likely wouldn't get around to seeing even if I was back in the States). I've found that increasingly I prefer ingesting pop culture and film this way - by hearing panel talk or reading reviews and opinion articles from people with the skills and abilities to do so well. It's almost enough for me until I sit down and experience the book or TV show or film for myself; for TV shows and movies, this almost always happens in the Netflix or On Demand phase [insert that discussion here]. I am a film student that probably doesn't watch as many TV shows and films as I should, but I am read up on a fair number. Tumblr is also a great place to get a glance at what's going on in the TV series world. Gotta love gifs.

I hear that Korean news is very sugar coated with the occasional, sensationalized murder story. Beyond that, I'm not sure. Koreans are as if not more interested in TV and movies. Part of that I think stems from the fact that they are socially obligated to work incredibly hard, a work ethic expected from a very young age. After school, most of my students study at hagwons, which are private schools that specialize in, for example, English or math. I have friends who work in middle and high schools who tell me their students are in school, studying, literally from 8:30 in the morning to 10:30 at night. These students don't see their parents until the weekend. Koreans crave the escape that TV, film, and other such media provide. This can be seen in the number of PC bangs (24-hour computer gaming rooms), in the number of decadently comfortable DVD bangs (private movie viewing rooms), and in the number of screens playing Korean dramas on the Seoul subway. 

Fabrics of My Day

Badger Blogging Blitz (BBB) 2014:
Ashley Wendorf: ...meanwhile in Korea...
Vicky Lee: Outside the Pyxis
Maggie Flamingo: The Traveling Flamingo
Drew Binsky: The Hungry Partier

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