Pretty Good Week So Far

Monday was a pretty awesome day of work all around. I really like the beginnings of months when there’s tons of new stuff to do. The classes were finally (mostly) sorted out, so I could begin teaching the new material. Monday we pretty much just listened to the new stories, then I started going over vocabulary by having them read the English words, then giving them the Korean translation.

Dave is now working at my school three days a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, teaching two advanced classes. I have to admit, I’m mildly jealous. He’s pinched a couple of my best students (three have switched over and two attend both my class and his). I’m not sure exactly how big the classes are, but I’m told every single student in the older class has been to or lived in the States for some time. I wouldn’t throw my own kids to the wolves or anything, but I’m sure once he settles into the new schedule and gets used to it, it’s going to be a lot of fun to teach. I’m super jealous of having a two whole classes of kids like that. Two girls that switched, two of my Sunnys, were among my favorites.

Still, I’m really happy with my classes. I got a couple handfuls of new students. Some are the really bright kids from A1/A2 (one girl Stella is so proficient in English I think she must’ve lived in America for awhile), and some are just new kids to the program.  Most of them are girls and really shy and quiet, but a girl named Sarah is probably one of my new favorites. She’s really smart and active in class. I think the other kids just need a little time getting adjusted to me and the program. I think I’ll take my camera in tomorrow and take pictures. I know I’ve never actually photographed all nine of my classes, and now I can go through and name pretty much all the kids.

Today was a little rocky in parts, bust mostly good. I told every class except my first graders that they had to bring in index cards to make flashcards today. The first class, not a single kid brought them in, so I had them put their heads down for awhile, then we just read. I re-explained it all to them again, so I’m hoping tomorrow we’ll be making flashcards. The second class, only two kids brought them in. After that, I think word was spreading, because four straight classes all the kids had index cards, and some even ran off as class started to go buy them at the children’s stationary store nearby. Then, of course, my last class, only one kid brought them in. Still, I’d call it a fairly successful day.

Tomorrow will be nothing but making flashcards for the three classes that weren’t catching my meaning Monday, or playing a game with the flashcards in my other. I’m still trying to figure out exactly how I’ll do that. I’ve got a couple ideas, but I can’t really decide. I think perhaps the most engaging way is to play something called a Slap game. Basically, split the class into two teams, then push some desks together and have one kid from each team come up. Place cards Korean side up and say one English word, and the kid who slaps/picks up the correct card first gets a point. Play to a specific point number.

I’m doing my best to extend my repertoire of games. I try not to play games too often, but I usually end up playing Hangman 2 (Wheel of Fortune without any money or the fun of spinning an arbitrary wheel), and I can tell there’s a significant portion of kids that are getting sick of the game. It’s also a game that’s easily dominated by one or two exceptional students, so I need to find something that is a bit more team oriented. Dave has a power point presentation for a Who Wants to be a Millionaire game that he e-mailed me, but I haven’t had the chance to get around to editing it to fit my classes. I feel like that’d be a fun game for them, too.  The only other news from school is that I’m no longer allowed to give out candy to the kids. The principal says it’s not good for their health. I was afraid there’d be a riot in my classes, but they actually took it pretty well.

After work, I went to the dwejigukbap — pork soup — place where you can get unlimited sundaegukbap and bibimbap since I hadn’t been there in awhile. For my next article for WorknPlay’s e-magazine, I may see if I can do a food review for the place. Not so much about the restaurant, but for the method of eating the food they serve. I don’t know if it’s a very normal place you can find commonly, but I love how it’s operated. They basically bring you a very plainly made sundaegukbap and a bowl for bibimbap and you make it however you want using all the banchan, so you can customize your meal.

During dinner, James called to ask if I could hang out for pool and beer. We actually hung out last night after my language meeting. I finally beat him in pool, after probably ten total games. By the end of the night, I beat him three or four times, but he’s still in the lead of the series. He’s a cool guy, but I just don’t have the time to play pool and drink beer every day. It’s expensive as hell to drink at the Banana Bar and then take a cab back. I may see him Thursday and have hookah.

I biked to E-mart after dinner and bought a toothbrush and toothpaste. One the way out I impulse bought some gear for the World Cup. I got a bandana, scarf, and Korean flag. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it back to Cheonan after the camp Saturday in Incheon, so I can meet up with Chang-ki and go somewhere public to watch South Korea take on Greece.

Today was my first time riding my bike since the incident. My knee doesn’t hurt unless I touch the exposed part to something. I noticed this morning that I have a couple stains on my sheet from where my knee pressed on it before it developed a sufficient scab. Pretty groddy. I guess I’ll be washing my sheet sometime soon.

I’ve also tried asking around about the best way to get a cat cheap here in Korea, but just yesterday I saw a sign posted in my apartment that forbids cats and dogs. I’m not sure what I’ll do. I feel like there’s a pretty fantastic chance I can get a cat without anyone knowing, but I’d hate to get found out somehow and draw the ire of my landlord. But still… Kitties are cute. What a conundrum.

Maybe pictures of all my classes tomorrow.

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One Response to “Pretty Good Week So Far”

  1. Aw man have you seen toygers?? Bet cats ever. When you’re stateside we’ll have to find a way to shoot a few games. I love having you mention it in your blog as often as I do. Cute kids, is “Sunny” a popular name for them to choose? I ask because I know a Korean Sunny.

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