Friday, April 30, 2010


I've been dreading this day since we found out about it (Wednesday).  Ian had an advantage;  we had the same style classes for six months, then Goam changed.  I'm still on the old system, so he has had practice.  Plus, I teach the same six lesson plans over and over, so all the thinking and planning had already been done.  He just had to make copies and walk the students through the books and games.

I, on the other hand, went in blindly.  Ian told me that the Korean English teachers would give me themes and that I just had to make plans based on them.  He hadn't printed any worksheets and he hadn't had time to make lesson plans.  Julia chastised me right away for not working hard enough to get information from Ian.  I insisted that I had asked every question I could, but he simply didn't get anything from him.  I called Ian and found out that that he had worksheets on his computer; but when I went to retrieve them there was no Microsoft Word.  So, they sent me to a different computer to make new worksheets while they tried to fix Ian's.  The average Korean's computer skills aren't all that great and this case proved no exception.  They gave up and just changed the tower.  So, the computer in Ian's room now has Microsoft Office, but none of his files.  I managed to get some materials together in time to take a few minutes to breath.  

While I was gathering what little sources I could, Julia came in and said, "I know you are angry today."  I told her that I wasn't angry at all, that I was just really worried about doing a good job in each class.  She nodded and continued, "I know you are angry today because there are a little bit problems, but please change your feelings before your class."  I had finally started to relax when she came in and said that.  Luckily, she only sat in part of my first two classes and spoke to me minimally.  She did interrupt me during one of my classes (she walked up to me and whispered in my ear as I was teaching) to tell me she thought I was wasting time with the activity I was having my students do.

But, all in all my classes went alright.  The day flew by because I had no down time.  But, I missed my students.  I don't want to change campuses, I'm far too attached.

Mom came to school with me today.  She originally was going to stay home, but she came and acted as my buffer.  I'm alright with admitting that at 23 there are still moments in which I would like the comfort of having my mom at my side.  Today I actually got to act on that feeling.

Thoughts from Mom:

Well, today I met the infamous Julia.  She was polite and friendly to me when I met her, but it was not long, about 20 minutes into the morning when she showed her true colors.  Let me go back just a bit, I have been at the other campuses with Casey all week and they were all void of Julia.  Everyone there was very friendly and the campuses had a good vibe about them.  It felt quite a bit like the schools state side.  The kids approached me and felt comfortable talking to me, even joked with me at times. The other Korean teachers talked with me and it felt very natural.  Now lets move forward to today, the moment I stepped into the building the feeling was very different, the energy felt bad, if you will.  The Korean teachers smiled at me politely but did not talk to me, and they seemed stressed.  The children seemed robotic and uneasy.  It really had kind of a military feel to it.  Julia came in and chastised Casey 20 minutes into the morning, for something she had no control over.  Listening to her and watching her I suddenly had a deja vu moment.  When I was fresh out of nursing school and at my first job, I had a head nurse who was Korean and exactly like Julia.  She was always riding everyone including me , and no one could do anything correctly.  It was a horrible experience for me and I was in tears most every day.  It was strange to have that feeling come flooding back to me today watching Julia with Casey.   I really feel for Casey and Ian having to deal with a boss like this.  It is hard enough being in a land you know nothing about with a culture so different than your own, but then have possibly the worst boss on the planet on top of all that.  I will just end by saying that at the end of today I felt completely stressed and drained, and I was just an observer.

Well, we're off to Busan in the morning and then Jeju.  There's a slight chance that I'll be able to update from a hostel computer, but it's more likely that there will a five day hiatus.  Check Facebook for short updates from Mom and I.

Enjoy your weekend!

Good night!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Some Moments from the Classroom

Mom took some video in my classes today and I thought I'd share a little with you.

Cameron is a young student of mine. He's a crier. Anytime something doesn't go his way he bursts into tears. But, he's also very bright. And quirky. When he feels he needs to understand something better, he has a hard time letting anyone else move on, either.

Cameron asks a question:

Mom didn't catch it on tape, but right after this he turned and said, "Cari? Are you wearing a hoodie?" in his classically too loud English.

Ann is one of my very favorite students. She's smart, silly and creative. Most Korean students are pretty satisfied with conforming (you'll see Jenny push forward with her task even while I'm distracted with Ann), but Ann is completely her own person. I tend to indulge her because I figure as long as she's practicing, there's no reason she can't express herself.

Ann talks about bodily functions:

Mom also took some video inside E-Mart, but her battery was dying, so it's a bit strange. If I can edit it, I'll post some tomorrow.

Wish Ian and I luck as we swap places tomorrow and I face a day of Julia.

Good night!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mom's Photos

I know you've all been looking forward to seeing Mom's photos.  Since we uploaded photos to disc today, I have a folder of them to share with you.

Mom took a video of one of my classes today, so I'll post that tomorrow.  Julia decided that Ian and I will switch classes on Friday, so that should be interesting.  Ian's system is completely different than mine.  We used to teach the same classes, but the Goam system was completely reworked two months ago.  Ian doesn't even use books.  He just makes lesson plans based on the Korean English teachers' classes.  It's going to be a rough day for me.

In random and tragic news, there was a double murder in Jecheon today.  A man killed his wife and daughter.  Last I heard, he hadn't been apprehended.

Now on to Mom's photos, starting in Cambodia and ending in Seoul, Gyeongbuk Palace.

Angkor Wat and Siem Reap: 

Tonal Sap Lake:

Hotel staff:

Cooking class:

Silk factory:

Mom's tuk-tuk driver, Vutha:
Mom jet lagged at the hostel in Seoul:
Seoul and Gyeongbuk Palace:

These two girls work at the palace.

Good night!