Post-Halloween

I thought I wrote about how I decorated my door at home and I was going to leave a little basket of candy on the door for people, but I guess not.  I sometimes post things on my Facebook and then forget which I posted where.  Must be my old age, you’ll have to forgive me, haha.

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That was my door and I filled the little pumpkin with individual packs of Oreos (off-brand) and some other candy.
I honestly wasn’t expecting people to take much because Halloween isn’t as huge here as it is in other places.  It’s growing though with the kids because of their time in Hagwons and school with foreigners.  Anyway, here’s a close-up of my note:

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It says “Happy Halloween!  Free Candy!”

So…imagine my surprise when I came back home from work and dinner to find this:

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Someone had taken the whole pumpkin and left this in it’s place.  My friend translated the note and it basically says “My candy isn’t the greatest, but I hope you enjoy it and that it makes your time in Korea happy.”  Or something to that effect.

I was completely shocked and I’m still feeling all warm and fuzzy inside 😀 😀
How cute! 🙂  I loved that there was a handwritten note and everything 🙂

Aside from that, the Halloween party was hectic, but fun.  I danced to the song “Thriller” about 30+ times in 4 hours and I’ll be happy if I never hear the song again, haha.  I took bits and pieces from the original routine and put in some of my own stuff with it.  The original is too complicated to teach in a short span of time and I tried to make more zombie stuff so the kids would like it.   It seemed to go over well and it was nice for me as a teacher to not have to worry about having enough supplies and that sort of thing.

Anyway, off to run some errands then to my friend’s going-away party.

Then I’ll likely sleep the entirety of tomorrow.  😀  haha

Halloween Preparations

I thought I was finished but I had a few more things to share, but the other post is getting a bit lengthy, so I’m making another 😀

So, Halloween is coming up and I decorated my classroom for it.  The kids helped with the paper chain during their break time over the course of about a week.  They tried racing eachother at opposite ends and it was pretty fun.  They also loved when we stretched it out and they saw how long it was 🙂

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(Mom–that 3D Vampire you sent me is on the front of the door and the kids love jabbing their fingers in his mouth, haha)

Also, depending on their behavior throughout the week and if all of the work from the week is caught up (and er…how tired I am by the end of the day on Fridays) we’ll watch a movie at the end of class.  They have to do a worksheet with it and write down any English words that they hear as well as answer some questions on the back, so it’s not all fun.  They still love watching movies and this month I’ve been letting them watch kid-friendly Halloween movies.  Our classes are two hours long, and they usually only watch the first 20-30 minutes (depending on time) of the movies, but I think it lets them get the idea, and they write down the name of the movie, so I guess technically they could download it at home.
We’ve watched “Halloweentown“, “Hotel Transylvania” and most recently “Frankenweenie“.  I only was able to show Frankenweenie to my oldest kids (and…it was actually a bit darker than I expected for a kids’ movie) because the other ones were super slow workers this week and we had a lot to get caught up on.  The second class also had major homework issues this week and I was a wee bit irritated with them.
Frankenweenie and Hotel Transylvania are super cute though and I actually want to go back and watch the rest of Frankenweenie because I/we never got to finish it.

Let’s see…we’re also having a Halloween party at school next week.  Halloween isn’t celebrated here but it’s growing in popularity and you’re able to see more costumes and decorations for sale than a few years ago.  Also, most schools and especially the hagwons (after-school academies, which is where I work) put on holiday parties for the kiddies to make it more fun and to expose them to other cultures (and because they’re great advertising for the schools, ha).
At our school, the kids still come in at their usual times but they are lumped into groups and spend 30-40 minute intervals in each teacher’s room.  Each teacher prepares a different activity (to be repeated throughout the day for an unknown amount of students because the kids can bring friends).
I’m planning on teaching them a dance to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’.  I still haven’t decided if I want to teach them the official dance (which I’d need to learn) or just make something else up on my own.  Last year I did more artsy projects with the kids but it’s a lot of work when you don’t know how many kids you’ll have and trying to make sure you have enough supplies/trying to speed up the slow ones and provide some other entertainment for the speedy ones.
My plan is to show them the video and get some Christmas lights or something so we can turn out the lights in the room.  Then learn the dance and do it again and again until they’re exhausted.
I taught my students a routine to ‘Splish Splash’ awhile ago and they loved it.  It got them out of their chairs and it’s a great break from the usual.  They actually requested it on Thursday and we had a spare 10 minutes or so so we busted it out again.  haha 🙂
I’m also planning on making a graveyard cake because we usually have food as well.  We haven’t had a meeting about the party yet (er…it’s next week) and normally I’d be a bit concerned, but you sort of get used to the whole ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ system that’s in place.  Anyway, I can’t seem to get chocolate cake to turn out properly without boxed cake (maybe it’s me or maybe it’s my electric-style oven) so I’m going to do iced brownies instead.  There isn’t anything like this (ie: seasonal/festive baked goods) so they’re going to freak out.  I kind of wanted to make 3 of them because we have 3 sets of students (2-4, 4-6 and 6-8PM)…is that excessive?  haha.  Ah well…we’ll see how I feel when it gets closer.  I bought a jumbo pack of brownie mix at Costco, so I have the supplies…we shall see.

Allllllso…at my apartment, I have my door decorated like a mummy which was kind of fun.  I’m also thinking about putting a plastic pumpkin full of candy on the door handle on Halloween day/night with a message in Korean about taking some/Happy Halloween, etc.

Anyway, that’s really it for tonight.  I’ll leave you with some pretty fall foliage pictures from around my area.

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Annnnnd goodnight!

A Day in the Life of an ESL Hagwon (Private Academy) Teacher

I found this post and loved it, although her life seems a bit more…put together and structured than mine.  I thought it would be fun to write down how a “typical” day goes.

9:30 AM: My alarm goes off and I got out of bed.  I popped some oatmeal in the microwave and checked my email and Facebook.  I had some water, oatmeal and an apple and perused some new books on my Kindle.

10:15 AM: I got ready for work and went to an art store to pick up some white paper for my Halloween door (see the previous post).  (I use this time as my time for errands/work prep/laundry/cleaning/etc.)

11:30 AM: I returned home and started working on my door decor.  I cleaned up my apartment and finished the door.

12:30 PM: I made lunch for myself–spaghetti with leftover cooked chicken from last night.

1:10 PM: I put some apples, oranges, peanut butter and caramel in a bag and left for work–about a 10-15 minute walk.  I had a bag of about 8 oranges and things seem to mold very quickly around here, so I bring snacks in for my kiddos.  I also told my kiddos that they could try out apples with peanut butter and caramel yesterday.

1:20 PM:  I arrive at work, turn on the lights, unload all of my bags and turn on my computer.  (I write the date, the daily schedule and get things set up for the next day before I leave at night).

1:30 PM:  Organized the snacks, drew little pumpkin faces on the orange skin to surprise the kids and started working on correcting some student journals (Kids arrive around 1:50…usually…)  I also fill up my water bottle and get in a quick trip to the bathroom.  (I try to have as many of my materials pre-prepped before the day starts, so my mornings are usually pretty smooth.)

1:40 PM–Greet one of my students and chat to her a bit; grade journals; double check that I printed enough copies for today

1:50 PM–Students start to arrive and I remind them to get water, get out their homework and go to the bathroom.  I write the homework on the board.

2:00 PM–I close the door, remind students that it’s now class-time and to take out their homework. The students put their homework (English notebook and homework folder) on their desk and I check both and make sure they’re keeping their stuff organized.  Each kid takes home two reading books from their level home each night and they record it in their “Book Log” at the start of class.

2:15 PM: Reading time comes to a close and students use one of the four tablets in the room to take a reading test over one of their books.  They can do this by themselves, so I finish checking homework and take attendance.  I bring the attendance log to the front desk (conveniently right outside my door–small school).  I double-check the students test score (typically 3-5 questions) and write it down in their log.  Depending on their score (I take the general flow of the scores into account), I’ll bump them up a reading level, keep them at the same one or drop them down by one.  If they generally do well and bombed this particular test, I might have them take the books home again.
When students finished their book test (and got new reading books from the shelf and copied their homework), I gave them the next assignment for today which was multiple choice and matching grammar worksheet.  (Tuesday/Wednesday work)

2:30 PM: The stragglers are usually all here by now and I try to have all the testing/homework corrections and checking/etc all finished by this time.  I check that the students have copied the homework (again, all routine so they’re pretty good at this now).  If we get a new kid, I partner them up with someone else for about a week (or two…) until they learn the routine and feel comfortable.

2:30-2:50 PM: Everyone is working on their grammar and I check through it when they finish.  I use a different colored pen each time I check it.  I make the grammar sheets myself and try to put things that I know they have trouble with or things that I see they have issues with when they write in their diary/journal.

2:50-2:55 PM–5 minute break (not usually for me, unless I’m super quick)
They can have a small snack, work on the puzzle (I got a cheap one from the dollar store so they don’t run amok in the room) or work on a Halloween paper chain that I started up.  They can also finish copying homework and chat with their friends in Korean.  I remind them to use the  bathroom and get water.  (We have a bathroom pass so there’s only one out at a time).
Sometimes I’ll put a funny video or an English TV show clip on via Youtube and the Smartboard (Lucky us!)

3 PM (ish): Put away all of their class folders, pencils, etc.  We read our class book together with “Popcorn Reading”–the students say “Pop!” and pick who will read next.  We started this particular book already so it goes a bit faster today.

3:10-3:30PM–Work on parts of the workbook together

3:30-3:45 PM–They finish the workbook by themselves

3:45-3:50 PM–Cleanup: straighten the bookshelves, put away pencils, class folders (“yellow folders”) and I call them to the door to line up (based on how good they were today) and dismiss around 3:55.

The next class is lined up outside the door and they come in after the first class leaves.

Class 2 starts at 4PM

4-4:30 PM: Same as the first class

4:30-5:05 PM–Read their class reading book and start on their workbook (which is longer and more difficult)

5:05-5:10 PM–Break

5:15-5:45 PM–We finished the workbook for today(not all the way finished–on purpose because I have some kids that are MWF and I don’t want them to be too far behind tomorrow) and then did the grammar worksheet.  The 4PM and 6PM class have a longer worksheet than the first class (except two kids in the first class who are *nearly* strong enough to handle it, so I give the difficult one to them as a challenge).

5:45-6PM–Cleanup, Line-up and the last class comes in

I had two stragglers today and T/TH is a really small class so they got started around 6:10.  I chatted with the first kids as they got their stuff out.

6-6:20 PM (faster…usually)–These kids are older and my most advance (*my* most advanced, not *the* most advanced)
Book tests were finished then we popcorn read their book til about 6:55 then break.

7-7:15 PM–Worked on their workbook–We didn’t do a whole lot in it today because of the whole MWF//T/TH thing and missing students.  Gave them their grammar worksheet and they worked on it til 7:50 (nearly finished)

7:45-7:50 PM: Cleanup: straighten tables, desks, folders and the bookshelf (etc…) and dismiss around 7:55

Sometimes they help write tomorrow’s date on the board and change out the “Today is ______”/ “Tomorrow will be _________” velcro strips but we were running out of time, so we skipped it today.

I tidied up the room (cleaned the desks, straightened the bookshelf again), cleaned off my desk and shut off my computer.
I left around 8:10PM and came home to make dinner.

9:00-10:30 PM–Made a Powerpoint on Halloween traditions for Friday’s class, checked my email, looked at new pictures from the photographer for the Zombie Race, researched teaching certifications

11-12:15 AM (now)–Working on the blog then I’ll clean up from dinner, feed my hamster and get ready for bed

I usually work out in the evenings after dinner (around 10), but I wanted to get this Powerpoint finished.

With my classes, they’re roughly on a similar schedule:
Mondays:
New Vocab
Tuesday:
Grammar + New Book 1 + start on the workbook
Wednesday:
Wrap-up stuff from Tuesday + Book 1 + Workbook
Thursday:
Read Book 2 + Workbook
Friday:
Spelling Game and Tests + Finish Workbooks + Journaling/Movie/Wrap-up

Oh and the kids really liked the apple and PB//apple and caramel combos! 😀  I have a “you must try a bite” rule when I bring stuff in.  I say it’s ok if they hate it, but I want them to try it.  They gave me concerned looks when I spooned the peanut butter and the caramel blobs onto their plate, but nearly everyone finished.
I only had enough apples for the first class (which is who I promised it to), but they were a big hit, so I’m going to get more apples for the later classes too.

Annnnd good night!

Latest Goings-on…

Last Saturday was my 28th birthday and I went out to dinner with some friends.   The Daejeon International Wine Festival was that weekend as well, so we hit that up before going to dinner.  It was a pretty nice day–nice and relaxed as I was hoping for.

This past weekend I participated in the 2nd Daejombie Charity 5K Run (Daejeon + Zombie).  It raises money for a local animal shelter that is run solely by one older Korean woman (and a lot of volunteers).  The charity is called Daejeon Paws.

Last year I helped organize the race and this year I wanted to be a participant.  Specifically, a zombie 😀

zombie

😀

It was pretty fun.  They had professional/student make-up artists there to help us out if we wanted it (yes) and then groups of zombies were sent to various parts (or “infected zones”) on the course.  The runners would come through and we’d try to get one of their three life belts (think flag football).

It’s weird because I’m not usually that big on Halloween, but I think being a teacher has gotten me more into it.  I like decorating my classroom and sharing the holiday with my students because it’s not really a thing here (maybe in the future though because the kids get really excited about it).
I’m bringing in some caramel and apples today so they can dip them and have that experience too.  I was snacking on some peanut butter and apples yesterday and they were all so shocked at the combination.  It was kinda funny actually 🙂  So, I’m going to bring in some extra apples and have them test both (caramel and PB) out.

Oh, and I decorated my door at home too, haha.

This is what I was going for:

This is mine:

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Maybe more paper? I dunno.  My neighbors probably think I’m nuts.
I’m actually torn a bit on whether or not decorating was a good idea.  I know they don’t celebrate it here and it’s fun for me…but I’m in a different country.  Anyway, I dunno.
That’s what I’ve been up to 🙂

Done and done.

So, I went to immigration today and got myself sorted for the next year in Korea.  I’m thinking this will be my last year teaching in Korea.  I love teaching, but I’d like to further my education and I hope to teach in a more stable setting.

The after-school academies (or hagwons) tend to be a bit more unstable as they can be opened up with anyone with enough money (really) and they’re everywhere.  I really enjoy my classes and the school that I’m at so I’m hoping for another year like this one.  This past year seemed to breeze by pretty quickly.  There’s a bit of negativity though, and that can be a bit rough, but trying to keep my head down and do my own best with my classes and sort of just do what I’m doing.

I already have quite a few things in store for the coming year, so hopefully things go smoothly.

Here’s a teaser for the year to come–obviously things change and put this is what I’m looking at as of now:
*Hoping I get the OK to carve pumpkins with my kiddos at school.  Our classes are smaller and I’d LOVE to give them this experience.  Halloween isn’t really that big here yet (slowly…) so I’d like to let them experience making a jack-o-lantern.
I’m thinking that letting them draw and scoop out the mess would be best and I’ll do the cutting.
(Plus decorating my room a bit for Halloween!  Yay!  I love having my own classroom!)

* Christmas at home (first time in almost 3 years!! Squeeeee!)

*New Years in LA (first time!)

*back with ultimate frisbee in the spring 🙂  (Too many things going on in the fall right now to dedicate the time and money to it)

*Toying with the idea of Budapest in February (Yes, winter)

*Working on another surprise of sorts for my summer vacation— I sent my mom and brother on an all-expenses paid cruise two years ago (to the Bahamas, I believe).  Expensive, yes, but it makes me happy and I think that’s what life is about.  This won’t be quite that extravagant, but it still puts an extra spring in my step and makes my heart feel lighter when I think about it. My mom is a single mom and she works her butt off (and has) for years and years and never gets a vacation, so I had wanted to change that.

*Finish contract in September

*Thailand for a bit of muay thai fighting training

Anyway, this would be the dream scenario, but I like making my dreams happen.  So, we shall see 😀

Oh hey! 10 months!

Possibly a pointless post…but hey!  I like a reason to celebrate…

Today (even though it’s just after midnight) marks my 10-monthiversary in Korea
😀

That’s pretty much it  😀  haha


What I’m up to:
Today/Friday:
Work, dinner with a friend and beginning some cookie baking
(planning on giving cookies to co-workers, the lovely Korean lady (and her family) that run the 7-11 below my work, and bringing some to a holiday party on Saturday night)

Saturday:
Was debating going to Seoul to hunt down tango shoes, but thankfully I was able to find some and order them online (massive thanks to my language exchange partner…who should also get cookies, lol.  Says he really likes them).
Anyway, no need to go to Seoul now, and instead I’ll be spending the day baking and putting together Christmas gifts for friends.
Then a Christmas party that night.

Sunday:
Going to Seoul with a friend

Monday:
Work
Tango  (ahhh!  I forgot…I was going to bring cookies here too!  My new buddies.  And chances are high that most of them have never had homemade holiday cookies…ever.)
then Christmas eve/Christmas slumber party/brunch at a friend’s place

Tuesday:
Christmas!!
evening: Yiruma Concert

Wednesday-Friday: work (holiday parties and a language exchange thrown in there too)

Saturday:  vacation  (much-needed.  Ahhhh)

I’ve been making fabulous progress on my to-do list though, so it’ll be nice to have that finished up just in time for vacation  😀

*whew*

Anyway, good night! 🙂

…My tango shoes are from a company here (international shoes but the warehouse or whatever is here)…but hoping they get here by Monday… :-/
I’m not too thrilled about the prospect of walking backwards in regular pumps…

Holiday Plans/Upcoming Vacation

Ooh, look at me posting 2 days in a row! 😛  haha

The holidays are coming and I’m very excited.  (Mainly excited for some days off…and to be able to finally clear off my desk at work of all of the holiday play materials, lol).

Let’s see, we’re doing holiday skits and presentations next week at school (well–the kids are…not me, lol), and we’ve been very busy with that alongside regular classwork.
Skits are next Thursday and Friday (vacation starts that Friday evening/Saturday), and report cards are supposed to be finished, or nearly finished by then too.  (Almost finished!  yay!  I should finish them by this Friday).  We’re also having Christmas parties next week.  Also off on Tuesday for Christmas.  Busy busy!

In my life outside school:
I was planning on going to another orphanage to visit (with a group) and bring holiday cheer this weekend, but not sure now.  I went last week and it was really nice.  I loved feeling like I was part of something important, and it was nice to bring some joy to those kids’ lives.  I wanted to go to the second orphanage this weekend, but I’m also working on getting proper tango shoes.
My class is on Monday, and I found a place in Seoul that has shoes, but I can’t make it up there during the week…and they’re closed on Sundays.
I sent them an email getting more information, so I might end up doing that instead since I don’t have any other time to get it done.

Also, I’m attending a Christmas party on Saturday, which is hosted by the language cafe where I participate in language exchange.
Then I was planning on going to Seoul (ugh…again..two days in a row…so much wasted money on travel) on Sunday with a friend.

Monday:  work and tango and Christmas party at my friend’s apartment
Tuesday: CHRISTMAS!  and going to a Yiruma concert with a friend 😀 😀  So excited for this.  I’ve loved him even while I was back in America.
Yiruma & Kim Bum Soo–‘Grown Up Christmas List’
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5Yt_ozC_G0
Yiruma–‘River Flows in You’
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-4wUfZD6oc
Yiruma–‘Kiss the Rain’
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIbUNfg_wmM

Yiruma is actually from South Korea, so I think it’ll be fun to see him live in his home country. And it’s a holiday show.  🙂

then Wednesday-Friday we have classes again (with the Christmas parties and skits)
then….Saturday I leave for

THE PHILIPPINES!

So excited!  I’m going to the island of Cebu for 5 days!  yay!!