Three Months in Korea!

Today marks my three month anniversary here in Korea. I would have a hard time imagining a better last three months here. While my job can occasionally be stressful, the kids are fantastic for the most part, and the entire experience in general is something I wouldn’t trade for the world. As promised, I took pictures of my classes. I forgot one because I was ending class late and kids were already running out, so I’ll take it tomorrow, along with more pictures from school. Without further ado:

Purple class: (from left to right, back to front) Jong Sa, don’t know, Je Min, Seung Bin, Kyeong Seop, don’t know, Sooyeon, Min Ju, don’t know, don’t know, Da Eun, Min Su, Nana, don’t know, don’t know. Seung Bin, Kyeong Seop and the boy in white throwing up the peace sign in front are the worst trouble makers. The girls in general are quite well behaved and intelligent, particularly Da Eun. This is my worst class of the day. If you took any two or three of the boys out, it’d be much easier to control, but getting all of them in one room is just horrid.

Je Min on the left, Sooyeon center, and Da Eun in the background.

Another pic after two more kids showed up, but the only one I know is Evan, the one in the far back left. Nana, Min Ju and Sooyeon are the three girls in the center with Da Eun trying to run in.

Pink class: (same order as last picture starting with the boy in white in the back left)  Kang Ho, don’t know, Lily, James, Ruby, don’t know, Julian, Elena, Stephanie, don’t know, don’t know, don’t know, Edward, Tommy, Magic Tree, Joseph, Nick, Eun Su. Eun Su and Magic Tree are the trouble makers, but usually the worst I have to deal with is kids getting loud.

The girl standing up left of Elena (green headband) is Julian. She’s the brightest out of them all. Absolute great sense of humor, too. Elena is a jokester, too. We’re doing a story called “In the Sea” and she has a special little dance for each animal.

Red class: (starting at the boy in the hat) Bill, Annie, don’t know, Jim, Sunny, Sunny, Ruby, Alice, Bella, Stella, and June in front. Not pictured: Jacob. Annie, Jacob and June are the only two students I’ve had before. All of these kids are basically from A1/2. They’re all pretty good kids for the most part. The second Sunny has a little of an attitude, much like her older sister.

Blue class: (starting with the far back) new kid I don’t know, Ken, Alex, Crystal (shame you can’t see her, she’s adorable), Yu Jin, Anny, Andy, Jacob (should be in Red class), Jake, Tom, L, Ken. You probably noticed I have a fair number of repeated names already. It’s normal to just call kids Ken 1, Ken 2, etc… For some reason they don’t use the last name. This class has Ken I. and Ken K., but I can never remember which one is which.

Green class: Nicole (the only new student in the class), Julie, Flora, Tiara, Lina, Sarah, Ella, Jessie, Ace, Chris, Joy, Steve, Mark, Ahran (I’m pretty sure he means Aaron, but this is how he insists on spelling his name) and Evan. Ahran and Evan are actually twins, but I think they look nothing alike. Mark used to be a big of a trouble maker, (he was formerly Brian the Liar) but the chemistry of the new class suits him a lot better and he’s settled down and become really productive in class. Overall the worst problem I have is them just getting a little too loud in their eagerness to participate. Ella and Jessie have spotted me in the Dunkin Donuts and spent the last ten minutes loitering around so they can stare and wave through the big glass windows near non-stop.

Yellow class: (starting at the girl with the pink strap) Kelly, Julie, Tom, Ella, Sam, Jack, Wendy, Jean, Han Eul, Harry, Sally, Cristina, Sarah, Judy, Sonic and Moses Jo. Jean and Sarah (sticking tongue out) are the only new kids here, but they’re both super smart and cool, though Jean is a little quiet. Moses Jo is super smart and super eager to answer questions, but he gets loud and disruptive, and purposefully feeds kids wrong answers so he’ll get a chance to answer instead. Sam (glasses giving you the Rico Suave look) is super smart and fun.

Orange class: (starting in the green) Ariana, Julia, David, Teresa, Tina, Sarah, Steve (who needs no introduction), Jasmine, Ye Rim, Jake, John, Kevin, and the jokester in front with the book is Melvin. Not pictured: Jenny. Tina told me Jenny wasn’t coming because her shoes “are gone”. You already know a ton about Ariana, David and Steve. If I wrote about every single cute or cool exchange we had, I’d probably spend all of my time at the computer. They’re three kids I wouldn’t mind stealing and running back to the States with. Julia is new, but fairly outgoing, and I think she’s either in Ariana’s class or they’re good friends. Sarah and Ye Rim other new, as well, but they’re still super quiet and shy.

Not pictured: Navy class. Coming soon.

Brown class: (starting at the tall kid with glasses) Danny, Harry, Nick, Butch, Diana, Kelly, Lisa, Deena. I’ve butted heads with this class my fair share of times, but a couple of the less responsible students have dropped out of the program and the class is getting much easier to manage. Danny is the only consistent problem anymore. He’s the oldest and largest student, and I think he’s starting to feel like he doesn’t have to follow directions anymore. Diana is a funny girl. She has a t-shirt with some of the most interesting Konglish ever. It reads “Mickey (the Mouse) is an independent, positive thinker and burn leader”. I have no idea what a burn leader is. I have a picture of her in that shirt on my phone from when she brought a duckling to class. Butch is probably my favorite overall.

You might notice that a fair share of my students don’t have English names. I talk to other teachers and they say that if they have a kid without an English name, they just kind of assign them one. I don’t really care that much. It’s not like Korean names are that hard to remember. Sometimes they’re actually easier than trying to remember the same five names for 30 different students. I’m just not going to tell these kids they have to pick an English name if they don’ t want to. Sometimes Koreans (both my students and Korean friends my age [well significantly older]) ask if I have a Korean name and say I should pick one. I’m not at all opposed to assimilating with the culture. In fact, I try my best to. I just don’t see how picking a Korean name would make a difference. In the first place, I don’t know anything about Korean names, so I wouldn’t know what to pick. Secondly, I just plain don’t want to.

After maybe five minutes of gesturing through the glass, I finally figured out what Jessie, Ella and some boy with them wanted. They kept making signs for eating and donut shapes. I thought they were trying to get me to eat a donut in front of them. Then they kept making begging signs, so I realized they were begging for donuts. I had them come in and let them all pick out a donut a piece. Just as they were getting them, one of their grandmothers walked in, and I was afraid I’d look real creepy buying three third graders donuts, but she just asked where I lived, then the kids thanked me and they left.

Today went pretty well. I spent all morning working on different Millionaire games for the different classes, then spent most of the day playing the Slap game. The three classes that didn’t bring in cards yesterday had them today, for the most part, so they’ll get to play tomorrow. In general, the kids seemed to get really into the Slap game. Now all my classes know that I can’t give out candy anymore, but they’re still pretty stoked about getting points, especially know that at the end of the month they can get 5,000 won out of me.

Tomorrow I’ll be taking my camera back to school to take some pictures of the last class, as well as around the school. I took the time I was locked out of my office this morning to walk around the school. I’d never really explored it fully. I found a couple funny things worth posting pictures of.  Thursday is also my short day, which thereby makes it my favorite. After work I’m going to meet James for hookah, pool and drinks.

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