Thursday, February 25, 2010

Jenny's Birthday

Today we celebrated Jenny's birthday. She showed up in a cute pink dress in honor of the day. Her parents brought a chocolate cake, fruit, cookies, orange juice, potato chips and of course fried chicken. It is very hard to believe that tomorrow is my last day teaching them before they move on as 7 year olds!
Cute little Jenny

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A week full of craziness

This past Saturday we had our Festival event. All of the parents, along with endless other family members, came to watch our students in their end of the year production. I woke up that morning feeling so nervous for my students. We had been practicing for about 10 weeks and I wanted them to do well. It ended up going so smoothly! I arrived at the building where we were performing to be greeted by a few early students. Soon the others came and they were getting shuffled around by the Korean staff as they were putting on their costumes. My class was up second. First, we did our story called "The Magic Train Ride." Each student has a destination as they traveled along on the train. They each had on a costume that represented their destination. We went everywhere from outer space, to underwater to a land of cakes. They were a little confused about the microphones however they spoke loudly and very clearly. I felt so proud! After a fast costume change, we sang "Its a Small World." They has to wear these ridiculous flower costumes. They sang well and remember the whole dance! After, they sang two songs in Korean.

When the performances were over each teacher had to give a short speech on their class. It was very hard to sum up these past 7 months. As I was giving my speech it really hit me that I had to give up my class. I have grown to love these 10 wild and crazy 5 year olds and it is going to be so hard to see someone else teaching them! After the show, the parents were thrilled! They gave my 6 bouquets of flowers. They also gave me a book full of pictures and letters from my students. Each student wrote me a letter saying thank you for teaching them and telling me how much they love me and will miss me. Jenny wrote, "Hello! I am Jenny. I was happy you were my teacher but I am sad now. Why? We have to say goodbye. I will miss you. Be happy and healthy. I love you!" Lex wrote, "Hello Teacher. Thank you for teaching me. I shall never forget your kindness. I'm very very like you. Please remember me. A thousand thanks." I started to read it but I soon had to put it away so that I didn't cry right there on the spot! Jasmin's parents also gave me a great gift set full of lotion, facial cleanser and lip balm. They wrote me a letter saying, "We really appreciate your good instruction skill and warm love for Jasmin (and the other students.) Jasmin shows big jump in English ability. Everyday we have been surprised by her improvement. Thank you. Jasmin and ours will not forget your kindness as long as we live. London Teacher will be in Jasmins heart forever. Thank you very much." Each parent took tons of pictures and told me how much they enjoyed the show. My supervisor told me later that all of my parents told her how much they loved it!

This week has also been full of changes at LCI. 4 new teachers have arrived. They are observing classes this week before they start teaching next week. 2 are from MN, one is from Portland and 1 is from Arizona. We have also learned what classes we will be teaching for the new term, which starts on Monday. I have also learned that my classroom must change. As I said, my kinder class is changing. I am going to be teaching a 6-2 class which means that my kids will be 5 years old and in their 2nd year of English. They are currently at LCI so I know most of them. In the afternoons, 3 of my classes are changing and 2 are staying the same. I will no longer be teaching my newspaper class or my social studies class. They only book that I will be teaching is a reading book, at numerous levels. It will be interesting to get to know these new kids! One of the classes on Tuesday and Thursday is the highest level at LCI. I am very excited to teach them! I have also offically been asked to extend my contract. Lucy asked me today if I was interested in staying. She also asked if Fred would like to stay. We will see what happens!

It is very crazy to think that a new school year is beginning next week. I am excited to experience all of the changes at LCI however I am very sad to be saying goodbye to my Kinder students and 5 of my co-teachers. The next few weeks should be very interesting!

Daniel and Sean before "Magic Train Ride." All of my other students are in a line behind them.

Sarah and Jenny are ready to sing

Ready to sing

The head director, Lucy, and I

Pictures after the show
Lex, Samuel, me, Chelcy, Sean and Jasmin

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Happy Birthday in Korean

Singing to Mini in Korean

Celebrating Mini's Birthday

On Wednesday we celebrated Mini's birthday. Her parents came by with tons of treats! To my, and the other teachers surprise, the treats were mainly western. We had delicious cookies, rice crispy treats, lots of fruit, Capri Sun juice bags and a chocolate cake. We all sang to her and watched her enjoy the day.

Mini and I

My class and I

This week has been pretty hectic due to Festival. We have all been busy preparing for this Saturdays event. I am very nervous for my kids. They do a great job in class and I hope that shows on Saturday!

Each day I write my kids names on the board with a face describing how they feel that day. They get stars for doing good things. Each day they fight over who gets to draw me. Today, this was Louie creation. Every other day I just get a face but today Louie went extreme.

Louie and I

Samuel and I

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More Lunar New Year Pictures

View from the top of the mountain

Dried fish anyone??

Restaurants lining the fish market

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lunar New Year

This past weekend we had a three day weekend to celebrate Lunar New Year. A group of us, Janice and James from my school and their friends Geoff and Lori, Lucia and Eddie from the Jukjeon LCI and Fred and I, decided to head to Sokcho. We went there in the fall to celebrate Chuseok. We had a great time so we thought it would be fun to go again. This also gave us a chance to see the mountains covered in snow. We had no idea what we were getting into!

We left on Saturday morning at 7:20 and took the bus about 3 hours north-east to Sokcho. As we were arriving to the area, we were shocked by the amount of snow. We knew that Sokcho had a big winter storm but we thought that Korea's idea of a lot of snow would differ from ours. We were wrong! We all took different buses so once Janice, James and I got there we checked into the hostel and waited for the others. Another group of 4 people from our area met us for Saturday night. Once we were together, we headed for lunch. Fred met us after lunch around 2pm because he had a much longer trip than we did. We then went Waterpia. Waterpia is a great place filled with saunas, hot tubs, water slides and a wave pool. The best part is that over half of it is outside. We were able to sit in hot tubs while the snow was falling all around. It was so relaxing and fun. Around 8:30 we all went back to the hostel and ordered pizzas for dinner.
Walking around the national park in the DEEP snow!
At the top of the mountain

Walking around the temple

On Sunday we woke up and headed to the mountain range in the national park. We first took the cable car to the top. The mountains were beautiful, covered in fresh white snow, however we could not see as far as we could in the fall. We hiked around for a little bit which was very hard considering that in most areas, the snow was almost to our shoulders! We then went down the mountain and walked around a temple and saw a huge Buddha. After, Eddie, Lucia, Fred and I headed to the fish market for dinner. We went to the same floating restaurant that we went to in the fall. We had stuffed squid and crab. It was so good and fresh. We were literally shown the crab as the lady pulled it from the tank in front of the restaurant to cook it for us. After walking around for a while we headed back to the hostel. We spent the night playing cards and relaxing.

Restaurant floating on the ocean at the fish market
This morning Fred left at 11:30 and we left at 1:30. It was such a nice weekend and very refreshing to get out of Suji. Tomorrow we have a rehearsal for our big Festival production which is on Saturday. Another weekend shortened due to work. I hope this week goes well. On Wednesday we are celebrating Mini's birthday so that will be a good distraction from Festival.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sean's Birthday

The past week has gone by pretty fast. I spent last weekend laying low in Suji and relaxing. It was nice to have time to just sit without rushing to get somewhere. Life in Korea has been pretty uneventful. We got another little snow storm that has made the roads and sidewalks a mess. I am hopeful that it will melt away soon. On Tuesday we actually had an earthquake. It was very small and only happened in the province that I am in. It was around 6pm and I was teaching. I felt something but I just assumed that it was construction in the building or outside. On Wednesday I learned that it was a small earthquake.
Wednesday was meant to be an exciting day in my Kinder class due to Sean's birthday. (Did I mention that he is my genius student and the one I would steal and take to MN if I could??!)However, the birthday boy was a little depressed. His mother works a lot and was out of the country over his birthday. His dad has written me a note explaining this and telling me that they (meaning his mom only as dads are usually not very involved here) would not be able to celebrate Sean's birthday at LCI. Based on this, Sean came to school in a little bit of a depressed mode. The party was much smaller than usual. We had no fried chicken, cookies or the normal treats. The cake that was bought for him was strawberry and it turned out that he doesn't like strawberry. As I was passing out the cake he just kept saying, "Teacher, I only like chocolate." I have to say that I was very sad and depressed for this boy. During the lunch break I went into my classroom and took Sean into the hallway. I talked to him and this seemed to brighten his spirits. He then grabbed onto me and gave me a very loving and strong hug. I have to say that I haven't felt this bad for a kid in a long time. In the afternoon he was happy and he seemed to enjoy the time with his friends. After work a group of us went out to dinner to celebrate Christine Teacher's birthday, same-same birthday as people say in Korea. It turned out to be a pretty good day.

Sean and his cake
Sean and I
Notice the smaller spread
Enjoying the treats

Opening presents
This weekend we have a 3 day weekend due to Lunar New Year. I am going with a group of people, including Fred, to Sokcho. We went there earlier in the year over Chuseok. I am excited to get out of Suji for a long weekend!