Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back to the salt mines...

Aka school. The new semester has started. I think most of the people who read this blog have already asked me about how my trip home was, or if not, I actually saw them, so I won't bother rehashing that in detail. A quick summary though would be "heart-warmingly wonderful but way too short". It was good seeing my grandparents again and spending time with both them and my sister (and my parents of course but I saw them fairly recently anyway), and those wonderful and understanding friends of mine that I managed to squash in around the edges. Apologies to those that I neglected - I really am a terrible person and deserve cat aids.

Oh and just for Timmy, so you don't get bored, here are some pictures. Haha^^

With JP, my travel buddy in Phuket
With Kate, Rekha and Lucy in Canberra

Getting rained on with Fran

Roast lamb dinner with Kate and Chris

Mum ♥

With T-bo in the 'Gong

mmm birthday seafood banquet courtesy of my awesome Grandparents!

Anyway, so that aside, I had a really wonderful teaching morning today! It was one of those rare times when everyone is in a great mood and everything goes more or less according to plan (100% to plan would just be downright freaky). My first years loved the Jai Ho video I showed and the food bingo game I played with them and their ferociously competitive little natures meant that they even demanded we keep playing past the bell until there was a winner. Second years were even better, as the lesson we are doing is rather dry and last year was a bit problematic since there was nothing I could do to spice it up beyond a few funny pictures in a powerpoint, but they really got into the debate I asked them for at the end and about 80% of the class managed a good non-BS opinion about their topic by the end. Even those that did BS, like the one who said he agreed with corporal punishment because it was very "sexy and wild", were hilarious so I forgave them. For those of you not on Facebook, these were my favourite quotes (for those of you who are, !)

Me: Do you think it's good or bad to give children candy whenever they want it?
Jun-Kyeong: It's bad because the candy is mine.

Me: Ok so why do you think corporal punishment is bad?
Seung-Euk: Colourful penniesmen is bad because I must have it too often.
Haha. You don't know how much I wanted to laugh every time Seung-Euk said "colourful punishment" or variation theorof ㅋ ㅋ ㅋ  I love it during this time before the good effects of the holidays have worn off and they revert to little vampires trying to suck out my spirit and patience. At any rate, I walked out of my second class with 2-5 (boys) feeling very happy and thinking that having class 1-6 (also boys) in the morning was a vast improvement. This feeling soon evaporated however as I realised that it now meant that due to these timetable changes, I no longer have class 2-5 (a relatively good class bar the general afternoon and boyish inability to concentrate or stop shouting out the first thing to cross their minds) last thing on Fridays - I now finish with class 2-6, who are absolutely appalling, at any time of the day since they are all the worst students from all the first year classes last year. Seriously, who in their right mind would group these students together??? Positive attitude with them is like throwing jelly against a wall, which is pretty much what also happens to my patience after 15 minutes with them. Anyway, hopefully they enjoyed their holidays sufficiently to get bored at home and we can get through the lesson on Friday. Be positive! Only 6 more months :)

So anyway, I'm still feeling that glow from this morning. I have one of my favourite 2nd year's girl's classes next and then the endearingly silly (read: stupid) but enthusiastic 1st year boys class after, so I think Tuesdays are quickly going to become my favourite teaching days.

Oh and one more thing - a comic strip for you! It's about a 'real' mystery about a girl walking home from school late at night who meets a woman looking for her lost baby. In the cartoon, the woman asks the girl where it is and the girl says "over there" and tries to keep walking...

Don't forget to turn your sound on before you watch it. And if you scare easily don't watch this when you're by yourself or at night. Might take a little while to load.

scarrrrrrryyyyyyyyy o_O!

For those of you interested in the food lesson, here is the link to download the powerpoint. The lesson is based on my textbook (Cheonjae Education's Middle School English 1 , Thomas Orr et al; chapter 7: 'Namaste from India') obviously, but it's easily adaptable.

How it works:
Announce that we are playing international food bingo (make bingo grids of 4x4). But first we need to go through the foods we will use. Students must guess what each food is and which country it is from (explain that each country is only used once or you'll get the same three or four countries screamed at you over and over again.. which will probably happen anyway) using the pattern in the slide. Whoever can guess the answer and make a full sentence (first hand up of course) for each food before we repeat as a class gets a point/other reward. Or just the satisfaction of beating everyone else perhaps. After allowing students to guess, lead students through each slide before moving onto the next one. I usually just say the "when I went to ..." and get the students to finish with "I ate ..." because of time limits but you could get them to finish the whole sentence. This whole process works as a kind of game in itself if you have enough competitive students. After going through them all, show students the final slide, ask students to fill in their sheets (with only the foods usually but they can do the countries if they are REALLY low level) and hand out the bingo grids. You should have printed out this final slide also. Read out the first half of the pattern sentence and students should guess the food and finish it, e.g.teacher: "When I went to England...? (What did I eat?)" students: "I ate fish and chips". If you are doing this for particular grammar, you shouldn't move on to the next one until they have finished the sentence properly, rather than just let them shout out the food. Winner gets whatever prize of course.
This also works well as a co-teacher lesson because during the slide the CT can help prompt the students make the second part of the sentence, and during the game you can alternate picking countries. Doing it my way usually takes about 25 minutes, but you could easily drag it out to 40-45 (i.e. a whole lesson) if you were being really thorough.

P.S. Please don't anyone wish cat aids on me.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


You know, I just realised that my co-teacher compared me to a disabled person earlier today when I was fumbling with the lock on our staffroom door and trying to close it with one hand. Maybe it was just co-incidence that she started telling me a story about disabled people when I was doing it... ? Dunno. Haha, weird day :)

Summer Birthdays and Summer Shenanigans

So I have no idea what 'shenanigans' means in Minnesota, but apparently it's something big enough to get into a tizzy and storm out of a bar over.

Oh and hello readers! <insert half-arsed excuse for not updating my blog more frequently to cover reality of extreme laziness here> At least this month I have a valid excuse or two to keep the lame ones company though - principally, the end of semester and the simultaneous start of summer camp, and secondarily, my birthday! (huzzah!) As a testament to my ageing faculties, and partly in defence of my long absence, it did actually take me a while and a random question from a teacher about my exact age to remember that it was in fact my birthday soon. Having failed to remember that, it was also a bit of a trial to remember exactly how old I was turning and the difference in age between 23 and 25, possibly because of afore-mentioned failure to remember exactly how old I am. (Darn math! You kids these days with your subtractions and divisions and whatchamacallits!) Celebrating a joint birthday with a borrowed KBFF (since both of our originals have left!), Christy and I had a lovely day of manicures, pedicures, Harry Potter movies and cake around Nampo-dong in Busan. Luckily, Christy doesn't seem to have been afflicted with early-onset dementia like me, and was most gentle in her mockery of my extremely blonde weekend, even when I was surprised that the cherry and almond ice-cream cake we had chosen after much discussion in the store had cherries in it. Later, we went out for Christy's birthday with her friends and had a quiet but fun night out at a nearby bar and of course noraebang, topped by the most magnificent night-club I've ever been to! Aptly named Superdome, the culmination of the evening was the roof opening to music from the Star Wars movies and being showered in fake snow. Beautiful! (I just realised that I didn't in fact get a video of this like I thought so you'll have to go there to see this wonder for yourselves!) It was also quite entertaining  - singing and dancing from the stage-shows, and an ajumma being physically dragged out of the club by five bouncers after getting mouthy, throwing beer all over people on the dance floor and then trying to take them all on and refusing to leave. Haha, Busan never fails in fun^^

The next weekend (last weekend), birthday celebrations were set to continue with a trip to Pohang, a coastal city in Gyeongsangbuk-do. Looking for a quiet weekend after a cocktail party on Friday night that had featured some particularly lethal drinking games, things didn't quite go to plan. Mostly due to the afore-mentioned drinking games and a challenge to the theme of "I don't get drunk. Drunk is for people from weak countries", a friend that I'll call Irish Pride (IP) barely made it to the bus (she had our tickets so we were very lucky that she has a conscience!) and having made it to the bus, trooper that she was held it in for 2 hours before we got to the rest stop before hurling her guts up. Off the bus at the other end and another chuck up, a run to the chemist (the fastest I've ever been able to explain a problem and buy the correct medicine for it!), another 40 minutes on a city bus, and 15 minutes walk with a stop or two along the way, and we were at the beach.

At this point, the less hungover of us wanted to get something to eat, so we continued down the beach. IP definitely needed a rest so she decided to hang back and have a nap as was. Being too hungover to take stock, the place she chose was unfortunately right in the middle of the beach with no shade. Being good friends that we are, when we'd eaten and come back to find her, the first order of business was of course photographic evidence of her solitude amongst the crowds. I'm sure at this point that the Korean tourists around were wondering what kind of people we were to be sniggering and taking photos of this poor hapless person evidently not very well that we'd apparently just stumbled on. Even after we'd woken her up and all gone off together, I'm sure they were still unimpressed, as we were also the only ones wearing bikinis (the usual Korean swimming outfit being not that much different from normal clothes, i.e. fully dressed), and after taking a dip we all promptly fell asleep on the sand, then after waking up took more photos of others still asleep.

IP on IV
Anyway, so after an otherwise relaxed afternoon on the beach where we'd all been at least a little burnt, it started getting cloudy and sprinkling, so we decided to leave and go find a motel. Getting up however, IP (at this point as red as a lobster, mostly from the walk from the bus) started getting the shakes. Protesting that she was ok, the rest of us got bossy and called a taxi to take her to a hospital. It was revealed at this point that she'd also had a bit of a cheeky chuck on the beach and buried the evidence. Which meant that she hadn't been able to keep down any water. The first taxi took us to a hospital nearby that proved to be closed, but luckily a woman (who must have been a nurse that normally works there or something) saw IP's state, called us another taxi and gave us some good advice to stop us freaking out that IP's hands were turning blue and she couldn't stand up by herself. Luckily IP was ok when sitting down, so she didn't redecorate the taxi. Whether it was to the driver's credit for understanding the urgency of the situation or just because he was afraid of that happening, he got us back to the city in under 20 minutes, where it seemed like it would normally take at least 30. Fortunately, a nurse at the hospital spoke enough English that they could figure out some treatment for IP (since the gaps in my Korean medical vocabulary are more like crevasses and the others don't really speak Korean). An injection of something miraculous for her migraine and a litre and a half of IV fluid for the dehydration later, things were looking less dire. Possibly gazing at the handsome English speaking male nurse and discussing the link between education and good looks amongst Korean medical staff for a couple of hours helped. At any rate, it was more than enough time for her sympathetic friends to take another photo. Hehe ㅋ ㅋ ㅋ

Anyway, so a steak dinner and the obligatory noraebang later, and it was a good birthday weekend where no-one died! Sadly it was drizzling that night so the fire work we tried didn't do anything and we were all to scared to go pick it up, but I did get a 'Happy Birthday' song from the staff at Outback Steakhouse and a commemorative photograph so it was all good :)

As a follow up, yesterday I went to the dermatologists with IP as her face had puffed up and started blistering quite badly - kind of like 3rd degree burns. They gave her some medicine, an injection, and some magic ointment though that seems to be doing the trick. She's sworn off the tipple but we'll have to see how long that lasts!

And that's the saga of my last two birthday-related weekends :)