Archive for the ‘MW’ Category

Letter Exchange

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

My letter exchanges are booming. What started with just MW has expanded to include a 2nd grade boy (Solomon) I sometimes email with, a girl whose name translates to “Grace of God” who ended her letter with “and God bless you,” and a 3rd grade student who wants to practice English and expand her extracurricular portfolio for her college applications. So many letters…

Grace (of God) gave me her new letter today, as well as a small box. On the back of the box it says “Not Medicine – It’s Derma Cosmetics!” Inside the box are six pieces of chocolate, and three free lotion samples.

Also I just sent out a response to Solomon’s last email. His email is absolutely adorable.

“I have a short time at my home… so, I don’t spend sleeping time…
but, if i’m not sleeping, I will die… Ha..Ha… (just jocking, but I will very very sleepy in my school…)
don;t be disappointed, you can lead our chang-pyeong highschool students very well~^^
I bellive you and I will follow you well.
Umm… I think chang-pyeong highschool students are very smart and kind(?) …
but sometimes make a noise vey loudly…
I think you annoying this (or not) but please understanding our students.
because, our stressed study study study.. so, we talk to each other only a little time…
ofcourse, we quite and listen to teacher’s talk. this is not change.”
What a freaking sweetheart

Em in Asia! 2012-04-24 02:59:39

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

One last post for today, to balance out the negative one earlier.

Today I met with my lunchtime conversation girls. They had chosen “Democratic Uprisings” as the topic of conversation, which is pretty hefty for a fifteen minute lunchtime conversation. I asked for clarification, as Korea’s fight for democracy has been a very very long one, and they’ve had various uprisings.

“Do you mean when Korea fought for independence against Japan, or the demonstrations against the military dictatorship in the 1980s?”
“uh, 1945 지금까지… I think we are always in the middle of a democratic uprising.”

We then talked about how they dislike president Lee Myeong Bak because he doesn’t listen to the voice of the people and keeps pushing the Four Rivers project, and how Serena’s village is on the banks of one of those rivers and the bank is slowly eroding.

In case I haven’t said it before, let me say it now – these aren’t my highest level students. In fact, they’re right about average in terms of vocabulary and grammar. However, they choose a topic, look up vocabulary ahead of time, and really put forth a lot of effort. It’s quite incredible, really, and talking to them always inspires me as a teacher and as a foreign language learner.

Today MW (the girl who sweeps under my desk and who I exchange letters with) after cleaning came up to tell me that at the end of the month she was being reassigned. Students rotate cleaning duties each month so that no one gets stuck doing the same activity for too long, so I should have been anticipating it, but I didn’t realize it and I’m sad to see her go. She told me that most likely she’d be cleaning the science classroom, and that she was sad to change. She said that talking to me was one of the best parts of her day, and because of our conversations and our letter exchange she now had TWO favorite subjects instead of previously just math – math and English. She also assured me that she’d keep writing letters.

It’s the end of days

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

…is what I thought when I left the main building this morning to go teach second grade and first smelled the air – instead of the relatively clear and fresh air I’ve grown accustomed to, it smelled like smoke. I looked up and saw little twisted black spirals floating down, as all the kids ran to class with their hands over their face.

So it turns out that someone decided to burn their trash on the field next to our school, but the wind picked up the ashes and flung them into the air, and they’ve decided to land on the grounds of Changpyeong High School and in the lungs of Changpyeong students. I felt really really bad for the first period PE class…


This is a picture I took a few days ago, before the Trash Dust Bowl of 2012. I took this standing just outside the main entrance looking out at the soccer field and second grade (boys? not sure) dormitory. On clear days you can clearly see all of the mountains that surround Changpyeong… it’s beautiful.

When I first came to school I found another letter from MW, along with a little present. I had talked to her during cleaning period yesterday and she had apologized for not being able to photocopy the letter. I said it was fine and she could give it to me the next day. She asked what time I’d leave school and I said I wasn’t feeling well so I’d probably leave soon.

 DSC03262                       DSC03263

She made a box out of post-it notes and stuck chocolate inside. She is so cute.

That’s all for today, folks! Stay classy. Don’t inhale trash.


OHMYGOODNESS while writing this blog entry I found out that the hot water dispenser isn’t working. IT IS THE END OF DAYS. Now I have to use a hot water kettle to make tea.

Em in Asia! 2012-03-23 02:43:10

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

I got another letter from MW today. That girl is just too cute. We had a short conversation as she was sweeping all of our desks while her friends looked on and giggled (not in a bad way, but more like a “wow she’s so brave” sort of way). Right at the end she tapped me on the shoulder and whispered in my ear (Teacher! Have a good day!)

I can technically leave school at 3:30/4 but I tend to stay until 5 or so studying Korean unless I have something specific to do after school, because I’m just not productive in my apartment. However, I still haven’t finished (…or started) planning my lesson for second grade next week, and I’m meeting the English teachers for dinner at 6:30, so I think I’ll camp out here and lesson plan and study. I opened the 2nd grade English textbook to get some ideas and happen upon this gem:


Have you ever been hungry?
(당신은 배고파본 전이 있습니까?)
In my job I always get to eat delicious foods.
(저의 직업상 저는 항상 맛있는 것을 먹습니다.)
It gives me great pleasure.
(그것은 저에게 큰 즐거움을 줍니다.)
What is this job?
(이 직업은 무엇일까요?)

It’s a FOOD TASTER. (그것은 맛 감정사입니다)

Required: Big Mouth (자격 조건: 큰입)
Strong stomach (튼튼한 위장)
Patience to keep eating (계속 먹기 위한 인내심)
Not throwing up any food (어떤 음식이라도 토하지 말 것)

Wow. I mean just… wow.