Saturday, July 7, 2012

long overdue...

oh, hey, rainy season. 

so despite my promises to write in this regularly, i have failed. spectacularly. it has been over two months since i've updated, and for that, i apologize.

since i last wrote, a term has ended and a new one is nearly halfway over -- we just finished week six of thirteen. i only have a little over four months left on my original contract here, meaning it's time to make some decisions about what comes next. my plan for now is to stay longer, but negotiate a term off either next spring or summer so i can come home for a bit. not sure if i'll be able to swing it, but i'm going to try. korea is still just too wonderful -- and my time here has gone by far too quickly. i'm not ready to say goodbye yet.

it's finally "hot" here, by korea standards. i haven't seen it break 90 degrees yet. the humidity here sucks, but really isn't any different from what i'm used to. the one thing about summer in korea that's really thrown me off is all the rain. summer means monsoon season. we've only had a week of it so far, but i'm already miserable. i need sunshine! especially when it's july and that's the time of year to be spent outside and in a swimsuit and sweating. the rain stopped last night and we actually have a weekend of blue skies and sun, so this morning was spend sunbathing at a park with a book. i'm thinking tomorrow may be outdoorsy... perhaps a hike and a picnic? i need vitamin d so i can survive the rainy weeks to come!

work is still great. this term i have some really spectacular students who just make my day better. the elementary kids in particular. this term i'm only teaching level two classes -- meaning these kids are really quite proficient in english. these classes are twice a week, one day dedicated to reading and the other to listening. each lesson is based around a particular topic, from honeybees to allergies, high fantasy literature (i got to talk about lord of the rings all class!) to bats (which also included a short reading passage on chupacabras?). sometimes the lessons are a little dry, but we find ways to have fun. for the most part, the kids are really receptive to my antics and i do my best to add interesting things to the lesson. for the bats lesson yesterday, i tracked down a good video of the congress bridge bat colony in austin, which they loved seeing. they were fascinated by the bats and asked me a million questions about what it looked like in person.

i'm also, after months of keeping my fingers crossed, teaching one of the masters literature classes. the theme is literary adventures and we're reading the true confessions of charlotte doyle, the hobbit, kidnapped, and peter pan. the students in this class have just moved up from lower levels, so literary analysis in english is still very new and intimidating. but guiding them along has been great -- they're starting to understand how to craft a strong thesis and express their analysis and interpretation of events in the novels. they've still got a long way to go, but they're definitely making progress. sadly, class was cancelled this week and next week because, as middle school students, they have their quarterly exams in their regular schools right now. we'd just started with the hobbit, but won't revisit it because by the time they come back, we're beginning kidnapped. with the other levels, classes being cut during middle school exam time doesn't affect the class -- each lesson is just for that class, so if you miss one, no big deal. with masters, it's cumulative, and we have a limited number of weeks to spend on each book. so, it's a bummer that we won't have a chance to finish the hobbit, but oh well.

besides work i've been trying to explore here and there. lately there's been a whole slew of birthdays, so the weekends have been spent in seoul celebrating in some fashion. my latest resolution is to go hiking more often. i've only done a little bit since getting here, and i'd really like to do more. there are a few mountains in seoul that i've got my eye on... originally, that was the plan for this weekend, but the rainy weather has made my knee so, so achy. since i'm gimpy, i'm going to take full advantage by resting and napping today, so hopefully tomorrow i can go for a walk up the small mountain near my apartment.

i also just bought my ticket to japan! my vacation is coming up in almost two months, and it is high time that i (finally!) go to japan. i'm really excited. i've been looking at all kinds of travel sites and blogs for ideas as well as listening to the suggestions from the friends i'll be visiting. i can't wait. though i do need to brush up on my japanese... it's seriously rusty after six? (or seven?) years of disuse. i've decided i'm staying in the general tokyo area, somewhat because i won't have a huge budget for this trip, but mostly because i don't want to cram too much into ten days.

that's really all i've got at the moment. life hasn't been particularly eventful, but it's been good. my birthday is coming up next week, so i'll try to post sometime soon to recap the festivities. (well, part one. part two comes on the 21st -- corey's birthday is a couple weeks after mine, so we're doing a joint party that weekend.) i think i'm going to challenge myself to update this weekly. i've come up with some ideas for entries -- like a review of the strange (and delicious) korean snacks! (there are SO MANY shrimp/squid flavored chips, and they're kind of excellent.) or maybe my observations about fashion here -- some of it is amazing, but then there are still a whooooole lot of mullets... and i've always got great stories about students to share... so, i make no promises, but i'll try to update more! really truly. i would even pinky promise this -- which is a SACRED oath here in korea. i make pinky promises with my students all the time.

but also, give me some feedback! family and friends: anything y'all want to hear about in particular? leave me a comment and let me know!


1 comment:

  1. Dear Zannah,

    I follow you on Facebook, so I don't mind the breaks between Blogs. I gain a lot looking at your 'adventure' photos of friends and your trips to various places. Also, I especially love the drawings and notes and photos of your students!( I share them with other teachers and my students). You are 'living life' as well as being a full time teacher, so it's okay, if you can't make those Blog deadlines.

    If you do stay for another year, and are teaching Master Classes, perhaps the literature can be rearranged for next year, so that the Hobbit is taught completely and not lost during exams. At my school, we have so many assemblies and schedule changes during the school year, I feel the students are short changed by these interruptions. And it's hard on the teachers. Once, I was told by an administrator, that the sign of an excellent teacher is the one who can go with the flow and adjust the curriculum as needed; the person who can think on their feet and find that 'teachable moment' has what it takes. Often times this has nothing to do with the planned lesson. I am to that point where I don't write out lesson plans, but walk in with a good working knowledge of where we left off and where we are going. The most important lessons are the 'life lessons' and students really want to be heard and seen. I am finding with Sophia, she already reacts when she feels she isn't doing something perfectly, so I am encouraging her to take chances and value her choices. This seems early for a three and a half year old and I wonder if it is a cultural thing?

    I guess I am curious about how your knowledge of the Korean Language is going, would love more stories of your students, looking forward to photos from Japan and tales from Tokyo. Believe me, your trip isn't that far away; it will come quickly - We are now under a year from moving to Poland and I have only ten months left of being a teacher at SRHS.

    We will be camping on your Birthday, Sophia's first trip to Hendy Woods to see the magical, old Redwood Grove and sleep in a tent! So have a wonderful Birthday, we will be thinking of you and love you. XXXOOO