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Then I turned into an art teacher

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Prior to Christmas season, I started crafting during Halloween. It became a bit of a hobby of mine, to fine new crafts and stuff during my free time at work, thanks to pinterest!  These are just a few of my creations. I should update the rest soon…

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Haba life as of 8 months

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Roy and I painting and preparing Halloween decorations. My boss started seeing the crafts that I was making for the Halloween party. Once I heard that my coworkers were going to be working all this overtime to deck out the whole school, I wanted to contribute. So during my scheduled classes I started having the children make little crafts to decorate their classrooms. When I  think of school as a child, I always remember the whole room being covered in art by the students. Makes the students feel super proud when they dosomething and it goes right on the wall. They loved it. and so did my boss, she told me to stop teaching my normal English class for the rest of the week until Friday when the party was, and make crafts, every class, every age. Wow. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but it became quite the project.

It was fun all in all, but I am not sure being an art teacher is really my gig. The kids loved it though, and that’s what’s important.

Here are a few samples of their work.

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Berg’s class (7 years old) Gangnam style below their skeletons 🙂

 

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Friday fieldtrip to see Cats, in Korean of course. Scary if you ask me, even the 3 year olds went. Some cried, some laughed, and some slept. I slept. haha

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Angela my favorite, and I playing around. Being productive learning English of course.

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Wednesday club with 4 year olds. Made itsy bitsy spiders from egg carton. Thanks pinterest!

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Just some paper googles haha. Daisy is a gem.

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Pink in her googles.

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Hair play time with my 7 year olds.

 

 

Obviously always doing productive things with my students. Crafts, or playing… Haha. Love my job, most days.

Ohh Korea

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Hello four readers 🙂

Just wanted to post a random hello. I have been jotting notes down in my phone lately about things that amuze/amaze/and just down right confuse the shit out of me about Korea. Life in general makes absolutely no sense. Me being here does, but aside from that.

I came to Korea to expand my love and knowledge of Asian culture. 9 out of 10 days, I do love it here. With that being said, it is almost month 8 of my stay. Probably the first 5-6 months I would have began this post with ‘I want to leave, I hate Korea, especially my Boss.’

Adjusting to a non-English speaking culture has been a rough yet life changing experience. I know that those are generally the words that people use to describe this experience, but well, they are quite fitting.

Yesterday, I was asked to attend a meeting at school. The teachers have meetings every Tuesday at 5pm. Since all of my coworkers are Korea, the meetings, therefore, are in Korean. My boss and head teacher do not speak a lick of English. Like talking to my most basic 6 year old students. How are you? I am 7 years old type answers. Amusing, yet sad. How do you own a hagwon that encourages English, yet you yourself cannot and do not care to learn even a fraction of the language.
Who am I to say though, I came to Korea and lasted 3 weeks in my Basic Korean Language course through a language class that was free. Hey, Saturday morning 9 am, just isn’t my thing.

Her role in this school reminds me a little bit of the landlord I had in college. I remember that when I was first looking for apartments, friends and peers of mine would tell me to be careful when looking for a place and that landlords are often called ‘cash cows.’ She puts on the biggest smile, changes her voice completely (my coworkers and I have fun immitating this), and even changing her appearance to impress parents and community members that walk through haba doors.

Back to the meeting, sorry I am a rambler, and non-editor of this blog (no one is, cantcha tell). Excuse the laziness.
Nuri, is my coworker. She interviewed me and I have probably mentioned her and her relationship to me in earlier posts. She is a nice person, but basically does not give me the time of day, and couldn’t give a shit less if I was happy, adapting well, etc to Korea, which is often a huge role of having a foreign teacher come to this country fresh off the boat.
Nuri ‘Kelly we will have a meeting tomorrow discussing the reviews from Tim, it is at 5pm and you should attend.’
Kelly ‘Okay sounds good.’

Tim is the trainer for the cirriculum that I teach. He was a very nice guy and came to observe my class and style of teaching right in the middle of practicing for the parent observations. He was really helpful and gave lots of good advice for me and my job. I had to teach the rehearsed class that we were practicing for the parents, and found it quite amusing the things that he had to say.

The parents class was supposed to be all fun and games for the students and to show the parents that the students were well engaged and totally super fantasically over joyed, emphasis on SMILE! It was pathetic. We were told not to incoorporate phonics (a normal part of our lesson) because it was infact boooorrriiinggg. Go figure. Learn English, not so much fun, but memorize English is fun. Woo.

Ohh Korea.

So lovely trainer Tim came back with some really good and helpful advice. I guess he had a talk with the boss also, basically telling us to change the entire plan we had for our cirriculum for the next 4 months until the end of the school year. The 5 year old class for instance should only be using the toddler cd, and not doing the structured cirriculum, they’ve been doing for the past 8 months, and are already  on level 4. It’s basically memorization and not really learning much of anything.

Anyway after sitting through 40 minutes of a Korean meeting, I asked to leave. They gave me my evaluation and that was that.

4 months and counting 🙂 I think I can I think I can.

My mom (hi mom!) recently asked me what I think about teaching as a career. Basically, I think this experience is not something even remotely close to base the career of teaching after. I am not a real teacher, most days. I am a puppeteer. I enjoy it, but it is exhausting. I have a private lesson Thursday evenings and teach two 10-11 year old girls. They are really a fresh perspective of what teaching could be like. I can have a real conversation and correct easy English skills of basic knowledge.

On that note, enjoy the blog as it is.

I will try and post something more interesting soon. ❤ xo

Haba Play School

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Friday Birthday Party 🙂

 

 

Hello again! So sorry to my three readers that I have not update in some time. As far as comments show, I have three special readers, Mom, Aunt Gail, and Colleen 🙂 And a shout out to Nicole who also left a comment before. Thank you all for the motivation to keep my monthly update.. ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ (that is text laughing in Korean) sounds like K sound kkkkkkk

This week at the haba hagwon nightmare of an institution, I call my job, we had parent observations. After a little post on facebook about this said experience, a traveling friend I met last year, Chris put it perfectly ‘That is the day I realized I will never be able to teach in Korea again.’

It is a tramatizing experience. The homeroom teacher of the class or a Korean English teacher, and myself, with 8-11 kids depending on the class and their parents, grandparents, and housemaids snuggled into one little classroom. Oh how darling this week was. Due to the extreme hangover look in this photo, I treated myself to some ladies’ night at the local bar (free drinks 10-12 for ladies) after this was all said and done. Tuesday had 1 and 1/2 hours of observing and Thursday was 2 hours straight. 4 classes, 30 minutes each. My cousin Justin asked for an explanation of why I recently commented about the Korean school system vs. the American school system. I’m sure you can find this on your local google page, but I think I will try to make a more personal experience for him and those others interested.

I work at a private school in Korea. I attended public school my entire life in America. Korean private schools are also called hagwons, academies, etc. My school has children 3-7 which is Korean age (1 year older than American age, when you are born you are one, and everyone turns a year older when it is a new year, nothing in Korea makes sense, trust me, just bare with me). So the children are technically 2-6 years old. The school day begins at 8:40 when the first bus load of students arrive and the latest stay till 6 pm. This is also a kindergarten, so I guess it would be more considered full time daycare for the 2 year old class. I do not teach the 2 year olds, but I do teach 3-6 years old, daily. The school is entirely taught in Korean. There are 10 teachers plus me. There are also two assistants for the younger classes, one in the 2 year old, and one in the 3 year olds. The biggest class is 13 students. So there are roughly 55 students in the school.  It is definitely a small school and more of a homey type for the children, or that is what the idea is I suppose.

This week for parent observations I got to see first hand how ridiculous the hagwon title is. Parents pay a minimum of 700,000 korean won and a maximum of 1,000,000 won per month for their children. That is easily converted to USD as  1 million won is $904.00. For the two weeks prior to the parents coming, my boss watched every class I taught tweeking and changing just about everything I thought I was going to be doing for the parents. We had to make obnoxiously large posters and display boards for games and activities we had to do to make it appear like the students were having a ridiculously fun time. We had to be extremely cheerful, loud, and happy the entire time. We were not allowed to directly discipline students, remind them not to speak Korean, or do anything they would see as negative, like we are usually told to do during normal class time. I created correography to many songs and stories that we read. I wish I had pictures. I even made little headbands with different animals on each for the students to wear and participate in one of the stories. Farmer and the Carrot. A story about a farmer trying to pull up a huge carrot from the ground so called all his animals for help. And one by one they came up and helped the farmer (me) pull up a huge carrot. Then while the parents were here, we gave them some real carrot to eat when we pulled it up. These kids are 5. It was cute, everyone loved it, crowd pleaser, yadda yadda. We also did songs and dances like itsy bitsy spider, I’m a little teapot, and those are the only popular ones you would know of. Our cirriculum is made entirely of stories, songs, chants, poems, and action activities. It is good way to learn English, have students memorize stories and songs and dances for two months and bam move up to next level whether they are on track or not, right? Wrong!

I was never a fan of school as a kid. As I grew older I remember trying to avoid it at all costs some days. I am pretty clueless and I will be the first one to admit, how the American school system operates. I do know that many people like myself come to Korea with the intention of gaining experience and going home to America, Canada, and other English speaking countries and find that there is such a huge difference, Korea is not technically ‘teaching.’ I am aware of that. For some reason also, I was always the kid to say ‘When I grow up I want to be a teacher.’ Probably had something to do with the fact that I idolized my older cousin Kirsten and she is probably a fantastic teacher. I do not think that is the path the big man up there had for me. I am okay with that, unfortunately my career path did not come with a Plan B. So that is something I need to figure out.

Korean schools make me laugh. Parents pay a shit ton (excuse me) of money for a ridiculous puppeteer show. I have had my picture taken numerous times, been interviewed, classes filmed, recorded. I have been published in multiple magazines, a newspaper, and various publications. My PICTURE is the most important part of my job. Thanks for the blonde hair pats it’s really working to my advantage this year. Baaahaha.

I knew what it was like when I applied and they required a picture and skype interview to make sure I was really the person I said I was. Only in Korea (asia).

I’ll end with this. I recently attended this Stand-up Comedy night in Gangnam (yes Gangnam is a real place). It is basically a bunch of expats like myself poking fun at the world around us, Korea and Koreans to be exact. This one guy put it quite well. He said something along the lines of, If you look around and see a 6 year old wearing heels and ask why is there a 6 year old wearing heels. You replace Why with of course and everything will make much more sense. Of course there is a 6 year old wearing heels. Only in Korea.

Much love xoxo

p.s. I’m staying another year 🙂