“This was unforgettable.” This thought has flitted across my mind many times in the past year. I will likely remember many Korean adventures for as long as I live. However, one afternoon I had the pleasure of hearing this from one of my own students. Ascencio is currently in the third grade. I don’t teach … Continue reading Lunch With Ascencio
I recently signed my “intention-to-renew” paperwork, nearly sealing my fate for one more year at Namak High School. While I penned these papers not long ago, I happily resigned myself to renewal months earlier. Four months into my Korean experience I began weighing my blessings and my blights. Blessings won in blowout fashion. The scoreboard … Continue reading One More Year!
After nine months, I can reflect on what experiences best prepared me for life and work in Korea. One such experience would have to be the semester I spent substitute teaching. On the surface, this seems obvious. “Oh really? Spending time teaching prepared you to be a teacher? You don’t say…” However, the mere act … Continue reading Learning From Substitute Teaching
At the end of last semester, it was difficult to motivate students to do much. Exams concluded as students prepared for the Winter Festival. Most practiced dances and songs before the festival and then watched movies after. However, by sheer force of will (and culturally-mandated deference to teachers), I convinced many of my classes to … Continue reading My Favorite Student Scripts
Last week I had the treat of two class-free days. Instead, every teacher and student convened at a mountain sports complex. Perched above East Mokpo, the complex boasted a green-striped soccer turf along with foot volleyball courts and grandstands. The Sports Festival was underway. I showed up with a foggy mind and sluggish movements. I … Continue reading Sports Festival
As I have mentioned before, my Korean expatriate experience is littered with both positive experiences and learning opportunities. However, it is the frustrating days and mistakes that contribute most to my personal growth. For example, I learned that I am not an especially kind grader. It all started during festival week. After delaying for much … Continue reading Ian Alienates Students with Harsh Grades
One month into the new school year, I have substantially adjusted to my school’s many personnel and office changes. In Korea, teachers and other public officials are required to change venues every 3-5 years in an effort to promote educational equity and discourage corruption. Therefore, statistically speaking, 20-33% of my school’s teachers are brand new. … Continue reading New Year, Old School, Big Changes