Category Archives: teaching

KOTESOL conference done and etc.

Yesterday was the annual Seoul chapter conference and election. We had planned for 1-200 and had 4-500 show up. Apparently, free entry and lunch are a bigger draw than we realized… We also had a great line up of presentations, so that could have been part of the appeal. 🙂

We also had our elections. No surprises there. As usual, everyone ran unopposed. It seems working for free in your off-time is not as popular as it once was. So, I’m 1st VP for another year. Yay, me. 🙂 I’ll also be filling in as Secretary until we find a new one, since the previous one became 2nd VP and will also be filling in as newsletter editor until we get a new one of those… etc etc etc. The main thing is that we are finally rid of the outgoing president who didn’t seem to understand that he was not just a figurehead. The one good thing about his presence was that he caused the rest of us to pull together to do our best in spite of him.

Earlier in the week, The Seoul Podcast turned one! We didn’t have a guest or show notes. We decided to just talk about our personal highs and lows of the podcast’s first year. Joe was worried that we wouldn’t have enough to say. As if. I’m only quiet with people I don’t know. Everyone else gets their ears talked off. Joe and Stafford also have the gift of the gab. So, we ended up recording for three hours. No news. No Things That Make You Go Whaa… No Time Wasters. Just free-talking, as it’s called here on the peninsula.

I’m assuming Joe cut out quite a bit, because he was planning to add in an extended clip segment. If that sounds good to you, you can listen to it here. 🙂 I haven’t listened to it myself, of course. I could say yet, but I rarely listen to the show– I’d rather remember myself as being witty and don’t want to face evidence to the contrary… I also don’t particularly like the sound of my own voice. I can get a little screechy when I’m excited. I think Joe finally talked me through the adjustments I needed to make to keep my mike from cutting out at particularly screechy moments. It only took a year… 🙂 Maybe I should take computers out of my axis of evil…

Other than that, life’s been pretty quiet on the homestead. I got the marriage license from PBMX about ten days ago, but I haven’t been organized enough to get out of the house early enough to get to the bank before work. Getting foreign funds requires the patience of Job and forms signed in blood, and anomolies, such as wanting funds in AU dollars, can cause the teller to exhibit signs of nervous breakdown. I used to have a teller that knew me and knew that I sometimes got US checks and sometimes got AU checks, but she is gone. (She once confided that we were the same age, so she might have been retired.) So, now I have to deal with the cute young girls that are only used to electronic transfers. As long as they are cute…

Anyway, it will get done. I found out about a Korean school that’s at the same subway stop as the bank, so I’ll probably do it tomorrow when I go take a level test. If I get up in time…

I’ve decided that I’ve been far too lazy this semester. In order to prevent a teacher being laid off, I voluntarily cut my hours 20%. I still make more than them and I’m not paying off student loans at the current (horrifying) exchange rate, so I don’t mind. Actually, I’m kind of bitter that when one teacher leaves in May, she won’t be replaced and my full hours will be scheduled.

But I digress. My plan was to spend those extra hours getting things done, like work out, read books that aren’t for school, knit, you get the idea. I haven’t. I’ve been completely unproductive for the eight weeks since the semester began.

So, I’m going to check out the Korean school and I’m going to take a math class through LSU, if I can find a local test proctor. I’ve decided to take math out of my axis of evil this year.
My apathy hasn’t limited itself to home, either. I’ve been so unmotivated at work the past week or so. I just feel ready for a change and am tired of seeing the same faces. Some of my students I’ve had for years now. There are a few I would happily put in my pocket and bring home, but not all of them…

Most of the students have been driving me crazy lately. I think their parents are pumping them full of Red Bull before class. At any rate, there has been far too much singing, dancing, splits, high kicks, and loud-talking for me to be a happy woman. On the other hand, one student spanked himself in class the other day, I mean with the finesse of a stripper– he slowly swung his butt to the side and then smacked himself. Over and over. I almost had a stroke trying to hold in the laughter, especially since he was doing it as an act of contrition when he realized how pissed I was at him for all the annoying crap he had been doing just before that.

The Catcher in the Rye, not middle school reading

Once again, my admin’s lack of reading has had interesting consequences for me. Last semester, I had to deal with the relatively minor issue of explaining how an unmarried woman could be a mother. You may recall that I got out of that one when the students decided it was a miracle. Romeo and Juliet of course uses poetic language and euphemisms that I could glide right past…

This time, I may not get off so easily. The Powers That Be have determined that my middle schoolers need to read The Catcher in the Rye. Sigh. Clearly, they have never read the book or even a review of it. On the upside, I’ll definitely know who did their reading this weekend. The ones that DON’T have questions about why the woman took off her clothes in Holden’s hotel room and then a guy beat up Holden to get ten dollars for the woman, what horny means, and why was Holden so upset that the girl he knew sat in a car with his roommate, etc etc will be a dead giveaway… Sigh. I’m warming up my jazz hands as I write this.

I understand that not everyone likes to read as much as I do, even if I can’t always see my way to dating them 🙂 , but there is really no excuse for not at least reading reviews before assigning it to students. Barring that, open the book to page one, which has no less that four curse words. One would think after the Kurt Vonnegut Incident a couple of years ago, things might have changed…

My Students Never Fail to Amuse and I Never Fail to Not Have My Camera When They are Amusing

One of my first graders came in today wearing a fur-lined leather poncho (from India, of all places that don’t really need fur-lined leather winter wear). Another girl immediately ran up to her, lifted the poncho, and stuck her face on the fur and rubbed away, mid-chest level. As I debated whether I should just let kids be kids or if I should stop one from sexually harrassing the other, the boys started shouting, “Cony’s feeding Ahyun milk!” Over and over. Loudly. I just hope there are no parental phone calls requiring me to explain what happened in class.

Happy New Year!

I can’t believe it’s already mid-month! As usual “intensive” classes, held when students are ostensibly on holiday, are jam-packed with educational goodness. As a result, I’ve got a few bon mots from my sweet students. Here are some of my favorites:

Other than school, I’ve had a veritable flurry of brief visits. Week before last, my mother was here for a long weekend and today I had lunch with my step-father. He works for Delta, so he’s here for work. Mama was here for me. 🙂 I was working, so we didn’t get to do much, but it was still great to see her. My summer visit was cut short by the hurricane, as you may recall. I could link the post from September, but I probably won’t.

School is going well, considering the academic director got married yesterday. No major lapses in planning or fore-thought. A minor miracle here on the peninsula. I finished with my SAT classes, so I no longer have to think up rationalizations for the minutiae of English grammar on the fly.

Next week, I get to fast forward through a nude scene in the movie my middle school class is watching. It’s a class of boys, so I’m already snickering that they aren’t going to get to see the one part of the movie that would be interesting to them. Remember the films you watched in school? Wouldn’t a little nudity have made them more fun and interesting? Yeah.
My legs are dying at the moment. I’ve actually been sticking to my resolutions. No, not the one to randomly blackmail people that I put on my facebook page. My real resolutions: cut out processed foods and exercise. So far, I’ve learned that green smoothies are delicious, even if they look and sound vile; I’ve lost 3kg (yes, a sign of how far I have to go); and I’ve realized exactly how out of shape I had gotten. When I say it hurts to use stairs, I mean, up or down, three steps or three flights, I want to grimace in pain. By “want” of course, I mean that I probably am. Fortunately, I’m a foreigner, therefore, crazy. 🙂
I have actually been knitting, but I don’t have any good photos. A few weeks ago, I finished a February Lady Sweater in a lovely green. I finally got the buttons on after Mama left, but I still haven’t worn it in public. Maybe to next weeks’ SnB… I’m about 1/3 of the way finished with a Henley-style sweater (not from a pattern) in an eggplanty color. Aubergine, if you prefer. Dongdaemun was having a great sale on yarn, so I bought enough to make sweaters in four colors, including these two. 🙂 Now, I just have to make them. And finish them. And put buttons on them. And wear them in public.

I’m Also a Culture Teacher…

As a (hopefully) good teacher, I try not to let on when I’m feeling crabby or when my students are driving me insane. However, my perception and reality are not always one and the same. All of my students seem to have consumed several gallons of Red Bull immediately before any class with me this week, and it is grating on me. I hadn’t realized how irritated I was, until one of my students started looking like she was possessed– staring straight ahead with only the whites of her eyes showing. I asked what was wrong and she said she was trying to make her eyes look like mine. Apparently, I had been rolling my eyes with such abandon, that she thought I was purposefully trying to look like I was having a seizure of some kind.

Korean Kids Really ARE More Innocent

I’ve been reading Walk Two Moons with my 6th grade reading class and today our discussion included the revelation of a character’s mother having had a child before marriage whom she gave up. My students were VERY puzzled and kept asking in different ways trying to confirm that she in fact had not been married and yet had had a child. Finally, in Korean, one of the kids opined that it was a miracle. The book has a number of unusual plot twists, so apparently, a virgin birth required no more suspension of disbelief than, say, the main character’s mother dying in a wreck (which had also been revealed in the portion we discussed today). Fortunately, the virgin birth scenario seemed no less plausible to them than the rest of the story and I was able to put away my jazz hands. 🙂

I’m Ready to Have Something on the Needles

I haven’t had anything on the needles in a few weeks, since I finished this:

Like the error right there in the middle? It’s my nod to the Amish. 😉 I know you are also in awe of my ghetto lace blocking style. It works, though. This scarf was super-easy. It’s just two repeats of the tilting blocks stitch pattern. I did around 30 repeats. The yarn is Filatura di Crossa, I can’t remember the colorway, but it’s a nice autumnal blend of rusts and olive-y greens. It’s for my mom, as soon as I get it in the mail…

We had another contest on the SeoulPodcast, and here was the grand prize:

Not one, but two earpickers, an Englice dictionary, a “V-line” face massager, Korean stickers, some socks with gambling card images on them, and some random Korean candies.


We had Halloween at work this week. I forgot to take my camera one day, but here are a few kids from Wednesday.


I went to Yuldong Park to check out the foliage this past weekend. It was definitely not a date. 🙁 It was fun, anyway.

If you look closely, you can see that the bungee jump faces a huge church (above and slightly to the left of my head).

Don’t know what it is? Me, either.

Even the port-a-potties are nice. 🙂