Archive for October, 2012

The Ultra Skull Party

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

This lovely party was created by a group of 5 boys in 2.9.

“1) What is your party’s name?

Ultra Skull Party

2) What is your party’s symbol?

Skull and Crossed Bones

3) What is your party platform

A. Issue 1: Defense
Stance: Increase the number of hackers and buy more weapons because we are responsible for our people’s safety. Also, we should make more women soldiers.

B. Issue 2: Education
Stance: We think children don’t have to take further education. When children graduate elementary school, they should go military to save our nation.

C. Issue 3: Trade
Stance: We think we can lend our armies to other countries and make money.

D. Issue 4: Civil Rights
Stance: We think people don’t have right to speech because we have tank, gun, etc.

What sort of monster have I helped create?

Mustard Tights and Politics

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Well it’s Halloween week and while most of the other foreign teachers I’ve talked to are trying to do something Halloweeny, I’m getting in the November electorial spirit and doing politics. Politicans are scary, right? Last week we discussed issues and practiced writing with the “I think/believe _____ because _______” grammar form, and this week I broke students up into groups of five and had them create their own political parties. I had them assign each group member a role (presidential candidate, vice presidential candidate, campaign manager, publicity manager, and speechwriter), decide on a name and symbol for their party, (current favorite name: “Ultra Peace: UP”) and choose five issues and write their stances on them. This went over surprisingly well.

I had mentioned that we were going to debate in the previous lesson, so students asked if we were going to debate these topics. I said yes, we were going to have a presidential campaign and next week we would learn debate expressions and create campaign posters, and the following week we would debate. They just about lost it.

This lesson probably won’t go over nearly as well with class 2.4 later in the day, but I’m happy right now.

In other news, today I wore my mustard yellow tights again and yet again chaos ensued. Fistbump kid comes running up to me.

“Yes. Yes my tights are yellow.”
His friend chimes in “You look like 소녀시대!” I chuckle because I have no idea how my tights make me look anything like 소녀시대.
“DO YOU KNOW SEONYASIDAE? SNSD?” Fistbump kid shouts, trying to make his pronunciation of “소녀시대” as American as he can.
“Girls Generation? Yeah, I know them.”
Fistbump kid starts singing at the top of his lungs, pointing at me, as all of the kids in the hall stare.
“I am the best singer at CPHS.”
“[STUDENT'S NAME] – we have a saying in English. Don’t quit your day job.”

Em in Asia! 2012-10-29 02:55:59

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Today I’m going home, making cheese ramen and eating cake. It’s been one of those days. It’s been one of those days to such an extreme that I’m actually excited to go home and study GRE math.


(See Joe, if you’re reading this, us “experienced” teachers still have issues ;) . We just have better teaching days more frequently, hopefully. You’ll get there!)

Lessons Learned About Packing for Three Cities, Seven Days, One Backpack

Saturday, October 27th, 2012
  • You don’t need more than one pair of pants. Seriously, denim is a resilient fabric. Just make sure you put your napkin on your lap for meals!
  • Over pack socks and underwear. No such thing as too much.
  • Don’t bring extra tops. I ended up buying four new shirts on my travels!
  • Do bring something (small) to read!
  • Be prepared for all weather. I had sunshine, overcast, rain, and yes, even snowfall.
  • You don’t need make up.
  • Micro fiber towel that quick dries. A million thanks to Erin for this one. Compact, dry, and allows for free showers at all hostels!
  • Ear plugs — especially if you’re like me and CAN’T handle snoring. Expect the worst from your hostel-mates.
  • Bring ibuprofen. Your feet WILL hurt.
Post with pics and about my adventures in Amsterdam, Berlin, and Prague to come once I get a full night’s sleep!

Club Class Notebooks

Friday, October 26th, 2012

At the beginning of every class I have my students take ten minutes and write extemporaneously on a topic in their notebooks, and then I take them, edit them, and give them back each week. This not only provides them with practice, but they’ll have a portfolio full of short English essays they can take away from my class.

Last week’s topic was “Where would you rather visit, NYC or Utah?” I showed them two tourism videos, we brainstormed descriptive words, then I had them write. One kid decided to write something completely different.

“I want to LA. There are so many things. First there are a lot of buildings which are very tall, and there are pretty girl.

Second there are lots of gambler (?) I want to try challenging game, it will be very exciting, and theirs game will make a lot of money. So the money which they make will be spent item.”

Good to know one of my kids wants to be a card shark.

First Grade Boys

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

“HI GUYS! How are you today?”
“Teacher! So excited.”
“Why are you excited?”
“Next class we have computer games class.”

I look at the schedule written on the board.

“You mean you have computer science class and during that class you will secretly play computer games?”
“Yes! Very fun.”

The Party Bus, Pt 2

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

October 19, 2012

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

My semester is winding down to a close at the University of Cape Town and the phrase, “all good things must come to an end,” comes to mind as I reflect on these past few months. I can’t believe that I am saying this but there are certain things about being at school that I will miss over the summer. One thing that I will especially miss is the children at Manenberg that I have grown close to over the month.

Today was my last day with the kids and it was bittersweet. There is one little girl who I have really developed a bond with. When I walked into the classroom today my heart dropped as I scanned the classroom to realize that she wasn’t there. This is not to say that the other kids aren’t great but there is something about this one girl that has really got to me. Maybe it is because she reminds me of myself when I was a child. She has an impish smile, an over abundant amount of energy and she is always up to some sort of mischief. She is so much fun!

While searching frantically for her I felt someone jump on my back and wrap their little hands around my eyes. I reached around and started tickling and loud giggles ensued. I looked around and there she was! My little friend! I was so happy to see her and she was so happy to see me!

She then looked at me and told me, “let’s read a book!” What a change , she normally just wants to play games but today she wanted to learn. I was so sad when the time came for us to leave but I cannot wait for school to start again so that I can see her and continue to read books and mentor her. What a joy.

On Konglish and Body Parts

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Today I wore a belt that cinched my shirt at my natural waist, causing 2.2 to riot when they saw me. I’ve pretty much been wearing super baggy clothes recently (way more comfortable) so I think I just shocked them with my *gasp* waist.

“… what?”
“Ant waist! Ant waist!”

I then taught them the expression “hourglass figure.”

In which Em talks about Hiking and How She’s Bad At It

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

I hate hiking.

There. I said it. I’ll say it again: I hate hiking. Okay not really, but it can be incredibly frustrating at times. I love trekking, I love going downhill, I love looking at the scenery, and I love being outdoors with friends. I also love being at the tops of mountains and looking down and marveling at how from this height, I’m larger than the trees. I love the air, the sounds, and the smells, but I hate going up.

I tell everyone I like hiking because I want to like hiking. It’s a cool hobby to have, and everything about it speaks to me – except for the incline. I tell people that I like hiking (somewhat true) but I’m bad at it (very true) because I want to like hiking, all aspects of it.

This weekend a friend invited me to go hiking with her and some of her friends. This is only the second time we’ve hung out and, until the day of, I had no idea where we were going or who we were meeting, but I was very excited. It ended up being four of us, two guys and us two girls, going to Ma-i San National Park in Jeollabukdo, a province about two hours north of here.

As I partook in the Sisyphean task of pushing myself up peaks only to immediately come back down and prepare to go up again (only, unlike a boulder I didn’t roll down the mountain – I came down under my own power. However like in the myth, this trek seemed to go on for an eternity, and it was so unseasonably hot it could have been the Underworld) I marveled at how hiking is a terrible first way to meet someone. The three of them, all around thirty years of age and in way better shape than I was, were chatting as they strolled straight up at a normal pace as I huffed and puffed and turned bright red. You see, it’s not my legs that are the problem, it’s my lungs and my face. My legs don’t really ever get tired, it’s just that I don’t really sweat so I become overheated and then I can’t breathe. It’s frustrating because no matter how much I work out, or how in shape I get, this will always be a problem I have to work around. I tend to deal with this by dumping the contents of my water bottle on my head – also not something you do when you want to impress someone. At one point while we were going up a particularly steep part of the path and they were looking, walking and talking like actors in a Northface commercial, they turned to check on me and there I was, red-faced, water dripping from my hair onto my neck, probably looking like a bedraggled rat who lives in a sewer next to a factory that manufactures dyes. They all immediately burst out laughing, told me I was 씩씩하다 (brave/spirited/vivacious), and after I croaked out a response (probably some sort-of lie like “I’m fine, carry on”), we kept going.

Still, it was fun, the weather was beautiful, and I made new friends. We ate pears and ramen on the trail, took pictures, and chatted in Korean and in English. Afterwards we had dinner together and they didn’t  want me to walk from school to my apartment (a five minute walk) in the dark (it was 7 pm, the sun had just set) so they dropped me off at my apartment where I promptly crawled into bed. Other than the parts where I wanted to give up and lie on the ground, I had a great day. However, I’m rethinking going hiking with the teachers’ hiking club next weekend – I don’t know how much more of a beating my pride could take, especially if I end up being the worst hiker in the club which consists primarily of forty to sixty year-old men.

마이산: Ma-i san