Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Videos

My classroom decorated for Halloween

'Orange Pumpkins' for the song competition

Happy Halloween

On Friday we celebrated Halloween. My morning began with a surprise. One of my students, Jenny, who will be gone for a month, came for the day! We tried to begin class as normal however the students could not focus. LCI was decorated, with black sheets, pumpkins, monsters and cobwebs everywhere. We were also playing scary music through the sound system. Many of my students were freaked out.

Then it was our turn to head to the 'haunted house,' aka play gym. Steve, Michael and Blake had worked the night before to make the haunted house, complete with 'eyes' and 'brains' to touch. One of my students Jasmin would not go in the house. She was crying and grabbing onto me as soon as we got there. Steve then came out, with a flash light up to his face, and summoned the students in. No more than 30 seconds later I heard my first blood curdling scream for 'LONDON TEACHER!!' I opened the door and yelled, "its just Steve teacher. Its ok." That did not help much. Soon I heard Blake yell for me to come in. I literally had to carry some of my kids out because they were too scared to move. Once I had scooped them all out to the hallway I looked around. Not 1 or 2, but ALL of my kids were crying and shaking. I then opened the play gym door to show the guys and to yell at them. I later found out that they were laughing and high fiving. After I got them to calm down (which was very hard because I was laughing so hard at the situation) we headed to the snack room. Later in the day Steve came to my room and asked the kids if they were a little scared. Sean very sternly said, "No Steve teacher, a lot scared." Did I mention that my class was the only one that had more then 2 or 3 criers. They all cried!!

We did not do any book work on Friday. Just filled our time with songs, candy and playtime. Before lunch it was our turn to sing our song. The kids did very well. I do not know who won yet.

After Kinder was over, I found out that I will be missing at least 4 of my kids for the next month.

The afternoon went on as normal. The kids were not in costume however they were still excited to see the school.

After school ended for the day we were told that we will be closed for the next week due to swine flu. Many schools in our area are closing so it was not much a surprise to us when we also decided to close. Fred's school is closing for 3 mornings. I hope that they will extend this break for him soon! All of the teachers decided to take advantage of this time to travel. A few teachers are going to Taiwan and a few are going to Thailand (Fred and I are going here for Christmas and New Years.) One of the teachers, Gina, and I are headed to the Philippines. We know that there has been some flooding but it is not in the area or on the island that we're are going to. We leave tonight and will be back on Saturday! Wish us luck!

Harry Potter (Louie) and I just hanging out

My class and I

Haunted House reactions

Jasmin, Jenny, Sarah, Mini and Chelcy
Samuel, Lex, Sean and Louie

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sport day, carving pumpkins and swine flu

Wednesday at LCI was Sport day. The day began an a sad note. Two of my Kinder students are going to be taking a month long 'break' because of swine flu. Daniel, my trouble maker, and Jenny, my smallest, cutest student, will be gone for weeks! Now my class is down to 8.

In the afternoon we carved pumpkins. Most of the students have never carved a pumpkin or even seen a real one. I took off the top and carved the face while my kids took out the insides. All of my kids were excited to do this, except for Samuel. He was not interested in touching the pumpkin at all! They had a lot of fun doing this.

After school we were told that all of our Halloween festivities have been canceled except for the haunted house. Many of the parents are concerned about all of the students being in the same room because of swine flu. (As if it can't spread from room to room in the air.) Also, many schools in our area, and around Korea, are closing. If we have to close for 2 or 3 days we were told that we would have to work on 2 or 3 Saturdays.

As of now, Wednesday night, the Korean government is strongly being urged by doctors to close schools for 'at least 2 or 3 weeks.' There are headlines all of the newspaper websites and on the news. We will see what will happen tomorrow!

Sarah and Samuel


Our jack-o-lantern

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday: Crazy hair day

Our second day of spirit week was Crazy hair day. Most of the students came to school with hair gelled, tied up or pinned in many directions. Many of the boys had their hair in spiky little pony tails. The girls had many their hair in braids, buns or styled with numerous hair pieces.

Louie, Samuel, Daniel, Mini, Chelcy, Lex, Jasmin and Sean

The class and I

The other teachers
Steve, Michael, Blake and James
Britney, Me, Shauna
Christine, Gina and Janice
Alan took the picture

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween Spirit Week: Monday- Pajama Day

Yesterday at work we began our Halloween Spirit Week. To start it off we had a pajama day. All of the kids looked very cute. It was very clear that a few of the mothers had gone out and bought special pajamas for the occasion. After lunch we had a quick photo session and 'parade' in front of the other classes to show off our pajamas.

My class: Lex, Jenny, Sarah, Louie, Chelcy, Sean, Samuel, Jasmin, Daniel and Mini


Lex, Samuel, Sean, Louie and Daniel
Sarah, Chelcy, Jenny, Jasmin and Mini

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Daniels Birthday

Today I had my first Kinder birthday party. We celebrated Daniels birthday. He came to school dressed in a very cute tie! The day began like normal however the kids were bouncing off of the walls with all of their birthday party excitement. We quickly went through our works books in order to finish before the party began.

Daniels mom, my supervisor Michelle and a few of the Korean staff came into my room to help me organize. We turned the 2 tables into 1 large one, set out the table cloth and plates and piled on the food and presents. Daniels mom brought cake, cookies, veggies, kiwi, Fruit Roll-Ups, juice boxes and of course fried chicken. Korean birthday parties always have fried chicken. We sang happy birthday, took a ton of pictures (a very hard task with 10 6 year olds) and enjoyed the food. All of the students had a great time! Daniel had many presents to open and he sent the kids home with goodie bags. They all got cookies, a pencil and a huge eraser (the boys got one with pictures from the movie "Cars" and the girls' had Disney princesses.)

Overall the day was a huge success and we all had tons of fun!!

The birthday boy

Daniel and I

My class and I
The class

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pohang in October

This past Friday night I took a night bus to Pohang. I left my apartment at 8pm and got on a bus in Seoul at 10pm. I arrived in Pohang about 45 minutes early, at 2am.

On Saturday Fred and I headed to Bogyeong-sa, a temple about 40 minutes from Pohang. We walked around the temple for a while before we hiked. We set off on a trail that went past a few waterfalls. It was a great day in Pohang! The weather was cool, sunny and windy. The sky was clear and blue. When we got back to Pohang, we sat around for a while before heading to a bar in downtown Pohang. A band of a bunch of Fred's Korean friends was playing. They played songs in Korean as well as American cover songs. It was a lot of fun.
On Sunday we had lunch at a great pasta place downtown. This has been our 'spot' each time I go and visit Fred. We then walked around for a few hours before my bus left. When we were walking around we saw a shop that had a MN Twins sweatshirt. When we were in Innsbruck, Austria we saw a Timberwolves wallet. We have found MN things in the strangest of cities. I left on a 5:10 bus and got back to my apartment a little before 11pm. I had the best time in Pohang. I love the city, with its laid back feel, the ocean and Fred.
Bogyeong-sa Temple
Hiking around

Fall in Korea
MN Twins gear in Pohang, South Korea

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Heading back to Pohang

I am so excited to say that I am going to Pohang to see Fred tomorrow for the second time. Unfortunately I can't take a bus until 10pm, which gets me there around 3am. There are a lot of buses that leave earlier but they are too early for me. They all leave around 7 however I work until 6:30. I have to go into Seoul again for the night bus instead of leaving from a terminal closer to Suji. I am just happy that I got a seat on a direct bus and that I get to see Fred.

Classes have gone well again this week. I found out that my current social studies class is changing to a newspaper class in November. I am not sure exactly what the class will be learning but I was told that they will read newspapers and talk about them. They will be comparing things in American and Korean newspapers. They will continue to write essays. I am very excited for this class!

The weather here has finally been cool. I find myself dressing in layers and wearing jackets all the time now. I am happy to stay that I have been enjoying the great Korean fall unlike everyone at home in MN. In the fall Korea is known for its great fall days with their bright blue sky's. It has been everything that I love about fall. The leaves here are changing and the apples are getting better! It is finally fall!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Preparing for Halloween

This past week was very uneventful. We have started to get ready for Halloween. The Korean staff ordered us all costumes, mine is Wonder Woman. We were also told about all of the holiday festivities that we need to prepare. We have to start to decorate our rooms. I have been coloring, cutting and making ghosts, pumpkins, bat and spiders for days! I have not a very artsy person so I am trying to be creative. Right now I am working on writing each of my kinder students names in black and orange on ghosts that I made. I also had the kids make jack-o-lantern pictures for my bulletin board.

We found out that on the 29th we are going to stay after school for about 2 hrs to decorate the rest of the school. The school is going to buy us pizza and beer. We have to turn the big gym into a game room, one room into a snack room, one into a face painting room and we have to make the play gym become a haunted house. Along with all of this, we are having a costume parade, a song competition (each class must learn one song. Mine is learning "Orange Pumpkins.") and we are going trick-or-treating from room to room. In order for the kids to get candy they must sing another song! I have been busy trying to teach my kids these songs so we don't have another "Lion Sleeps Tonight" disaster!

The week flew by overall! I found out that starting in a few weeks I am going to be teaching another class. It will be on Tuesday and Thursdays from 5-6. It is an upper level social studies and writing class. I am excited to teach it. I have this class now however it is a lower level so it will be fun to teach both. I am a little worried about the extra essays. I already grade about 20 a week and now I will have another class. It will be interesting! Once this starts, I will have my prep time from 6-7 so I will be working 2 more hours each week.

On Friday after school all of the girls got together at Gina's for drinks. It was a lot of fun to relax with everyone. A few of Gina's friends from the Jukjeon (the city right next to us, where the subway station is) LCI came over also.

On Saturday I went with Christine and Britney and joined a gym near our apartments. After I worked out I could really feel how much strength I am still missing in my knee. I hope that I can get it stronger now that I can do my physical therapy things at the gym. Later in the evening the 3 of us headed 3 subway stops into Seoul to Jeongja. We had dinner at a great Thai place that I had been to once. I think the girls were excited to have Thai also! Today has been a low key day.

I am very proud to say that my new (she isn't really new anymore, she has been at LCI for over a month) kinder student Jasmin can read. When she started my class I had to say each word and point to it and she would repeat me. Now if I say, "Jasmin, read number 3," she can do it! I am so proud of her! I have spoken to her mom a few times about her improvement and she is extremely happy. She wrote me a note one day and told me that she thinks my teaching is the best and she is so thankful that Jasmin is in my class! I was so thrilled and proud to read this and show my supervisor! I saw Jasmin and her mom at Lotte, the grocery store, one day and her mom told me that she also speaks Japanese. I told Jasmin that she is very smart because she knows 3 languages, and she said, "No teacher. No English!" I am so proud to say that she can now read!

Jasmin and I last week when we celebrated Chuseok. The picture below shows the flower that Jasmin made me. I now have it next to my desk!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sokcho Cable Car Video

The video I took as we rode the cable car to the top of a mountain in Sokcho

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sokcho, South Korea

This past week we had Thursday and Friday off for Chuseok, Korea's version of Thanksgiving. A group of 7 teachers from LCI (Janice, James, Steve, Blake, Michael, Gina) including myself, decided a few weeks ago that we wanted to go to Sokcho. Sokcho is a city of about 500,000 on the north-east coast of South Korea. It is very close the the boarder of Korea. Sokcho has a beautiful National Park called Seorak-san. It was so nice to be by the ocean and surrounded by trees and mountains instead of being in crowded Suji.

We left Suji on Thursday morning and took an express bus to Sokcho. It took us under 3 hrs to get there. We stayed at this place that a man and his wife own and operate. They have a few rooms above their house that you can rent. We were met by them at the bus station. They took us to buy some food (we had kitchens and a patio area to BBQ) and then brought us to their house. It was close to the National Park and outside of Sokcho which was so refreshing. It was really nice because we had 3 of the 5 rooms and no one else was there. We were able to sit outside, play cards, cook our food and feel like we had rented a cabin. From there we decided to get lunch and head to the beach. We sat by the water enjoying the weather. It was really warm outside and nice to be in tank tops and swimsuits for the first weekend of October. After the ocean we went to Waterpia. It is this indoor and outdoor place that is full of pools and hot springs. We sat there for a while before we decided to get a message. I have never had a message before and it was a nice splurge for vacation! After that we went back for the night and had BBQ for dinner. Fred joined us that night (well really 3 am) when his bus got there. He had to work on Thursday.

On Friday we got up and made breakfast before heading to the Park. We hiked a trail that lead to a waterfall. After we left the Park we went into town and went screen golfing. It was a lot of fun however I need practice!

On Saturday we went back to the Park and walked around a temple. Then we took a cable car ride to the top of another mountain. It was beautiful! We could just walk wherever and climb all around the mountain without any restrictions. We could just climb a peak that had a 100 feet drop off underneath it. That would never happen at home! We then went back to out place and relaxed and played cards before heading to the harbor for dinner. We went to a great spot that served tons of seafood. We ended up getting plates of shrimp and clams. Sokcho is also known for its stuffed squid. It was stuffed with carrots, potatoes and your basic stuffing. After dinner we shot off fireworks before going back for the night. We got up early on Sunday to head back to Suji to beat the traffic from the holiday weekend. It was so nice to be away from Suji!

Sokcho Beach

The whole group
Fred, Me, James, Janice, Michael, Steve and Blake