Archive for the ‘club class journals’ Category

Em in Asia! 2013-06-24 21:25:51

Monday, June 24th, 2013

I’m sorry for the lack of updates.

I just… it’s hard for me to write when I feel like my heart is being torn into multiple pieces everyday. I came to the astonishing realization last week that some of my students don’t realize that I’m leaving. I’ve told them so often that I’m leaving – for vacation, I normally hasten to add, that they don’t realize that when I say that I’m going to America I mean that I’m not coming back. Furthermore, the Korean school year starts in the fall, so I’m leaving halfway through the year, why on earth wouldn’t I come back?

Last week I made it very clear that I was leaving. I told one of my second grade girls’ classes the number of weeks that I had left at our school and was surprised to find the class captain crying.

I got a phone call from my host mother on Saturday. She doesn’t speak any English so while I would’ve been scared talk with her on the phone my first year, it’s a mark of my improvement that without hesitation I picked up the phone and we had a short conversation. She wants me to visit before I leave.

Our program’s final dinner is this weekend and I can’t bring myself to be excited about it. I love F*lbright, but I can’t shake off the feeling that by spending a weekend elsewhere, I’m missing stuff here.

In addition I’ve been trying to make time to meet and see everyone I’ve grown to know over the past two/three years, make time for a new special person, teach special Friday classes, prepare for YDAC (we got 3rd place!) keep up my Korean studying, host visitors, hike mountains, plan for Camp F*lbright, pack up my belongings to mail to the US (check!), apply for jobs (I hate my resume. I hate my resume. I hate my resume), cry over my failing TOPIK result (partially joking), and keep myself together. It’s exhausting.

I found this letter in one of my club class students’ notebooks.



Yes, yes I am sad, and pensive, and happy, and nervous, and frustrated, and overwhelmed, and surprisingly numb. She’s a very perceptive student, but I don’t think she’ll ever realize how much it means to me that she used the word “our.”

Difficult Decisions

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Today in my club class we practiced speaking fluency, and our main activity was an ethical dilemma debate. To prepare the students, I had them do a speaking fluency activity, then write in their journals. The journal topic today was “Have you ever struggled with a decision? What did you decide? Why was it so hard?” Most of the students wrote about their decision to come to CPHS, but one student wrote about choosing between different flavors of ice cream, because she wanted to eat them all.

Student Profile: Member Koo

Monday, November 19th, 2012

His name isn’t actually Member, that’s just how Conversation Lee refers to him. Or rather, his name IS in fact Member, in Korean, just like how Conversation Lee’s name actually is the word for “conversation,” but Member didn’t quite own the name like Conversation did up until recently. Every time I ask Conversation Lee to present something, he starts by standing up and proclaiming ”I am Conversation Lee!” Member Koo’s acceptance of his moniker has been much more gradual.

Member Koo confuses me. He has, by far, the lowest level English out of all of my club class students, and possibly out of the whole school. I’ve never seen his English scores so I can’t confirm this, but I’ve never seen him write more than a sentence in English at any time, and he’s never voluntarily spoken in class. His behavior in my normal class is almost identical to his behavior in my club class – he’s apathetic and tends to fall asleep. I’m pretty sure his original reason for joining my club class was that he got cut from the soccer club along with Conversation Lee, and Conversation dragged him along.

While everyone else writes a paragraph or two in their journals, he writes one sentence. This is a vast improvement from the first few times we did the journal, when he would just copy half of the prompt and then stop. The thing is, though he’s only writing one sentence, that sentence is getting better every week. These days he’ll ask his friends for help. He’ll ask them to translate the prompt, how to spell a word, or how to spell something. When I go help him, he’ll actually look at me, and though he may not answer my questions verbally, he’ll start writing when I leave. He smiles and waves at me in the halls, and nods when Conversation Lee yells “See you in club class!” After six weeks of giving him scrap paper to use during journal time, and hounding him about not having a notebook, he finally brought one. Granted, it has another student’s crossed-out name on it, but instead of writing his name in hangeul, or writing it in Romanized Korean, he chose to write “Member Koo.”

I don’t know what his academic background is. I don’t know how he does in his other classes. I don’t know if he’ll choose to take my club class again, in fact I’d be very surprised if he did, but I’m glad to know that my class made some sort of impact. I hope he continues to try harder and improve, not because his English level is important (though, unfortunately in Korea there is a lot – some would say too much – emphasis on English language ability), but because I like the direction he’s going in as a student. I don’t mind that his English level is relatively low, as long as he puts in some sort of effort, even if that effort consists of borrowing another student’s notebook, and writing “Member Koo” on it.

Doff the Bear

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

The front of my student’s club class journal showcases a bear sitting on a table, next to a chalkboard covered in drawings of bears. However, what really makes this a masterpiece of stationary is the writing on the notebook.


His name is doff,
he thinks that the greatest physician in the world is optimism

Also, on the back of this notebook is a small polaroid of Doff captioned ”Doff’s story.”

I don’t know about you all, but if this was a TV show, I’d watch it. Doff and the magic of HOPE.

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.