Em in Asia!

My Experiences Living and Teaching in South Korea



Sometimes I miss SGHS – I miss the inherent craziness. Here students are more likely to talk to me as the general English level is higher, but it’s less likely that there’s any sort of real content. They’re just kind of using me as a bumper – which of course I don’t mind, honestly, it’s kind of my job, but I do miss that bond. I’d like to think that it’ll just take time, but I also honestly think that was part of the personality at SGHS, because from talking to my other foreign teacher friends they never had quite the same experience. However there’s a student at my school who actually seems like he’d be a better fit at SGHS than at CPHS, and I feel like I can sum up why just by saying this – the first time I met him he ran into another classroom and shouted “Call me Khan!” then made like, “remember me” hand motions and ran out. Totally SGHS-esque. I’ll even clarify this further – I don’t give out American names nor do I have my students pick their own names…I try to learn and call them by their real names. Nevertheless when I finally taught his class, I get to see “KHAN” written on his table tent in giant letters, followed by his Korean name in much smaller letters.

Today I taught the passive tense to class 1.7. This was the first time I was trying out this lesson, and I was trying it with the lowest level first grade class. Needless to say it was difficult. I rarely do lessons based around tech (movies, powerpoints, etc) because I like to have a backup plan if they fail. Well of course the day I show a movie clip (Ratatouille – and because I don’t want to take the credit for something amazing that I didn’t come up with, I got the idea from this awesome site) I find out the sound doesn’t work. I resolve to show the clip anyway, as students are answering questions based on the events they see, not the dialogue, but of course Khan steps in to save the day.

OHTEACHER ILOVEMOVIE. (I swear when he talks he half screams, and then like, waves his hands a lot. Kinda like – OH HEY. LOOK AT ME. I’MTHEONEGIVINGTHEANSWER. Yup. Got it. Thanks Khan).

and then he starts narrating.

“do do do do do. I’m walking. Oh hey guys. Oh no! scree ahhhh BOOM. JumpJumpJump!! Huh. Schuschuschuschu-”

Pretty much made my day.

posted under Cute Stories, School

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안녕하세요! My name is Emily and when I started this blog I had received a 2010 – 2011 F*lbright grant to teach English in South Korea.  I then decided to apply to renew my grant, so I am now staying in Korea until July 2012. This blog is not an official F*lbright Program blog, and the views expressed are my own and not those of the F*lbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.

I graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a degree in Philosophy Pre-Law and Classical Civilizations, and found myself 3 months later teaching English at SGHS. The town that I taught in, SG, is a small town of 12,000 people, an “읍” (eup) rather than a “시” (shi – city), and though it was sometimes hard teaching in such a small town I really enjoyed the unique experience of being the first foreign teacher SGHS had ever had. I lived in the largest part of the county which is significantly bigger (40,000 people) than the town the school is situated in, but is also considered rural by Korean standards.

During my second grant period (2011-2012) I decided to change schools and I currently teach at CPHS which is located in an even smaller town than previously, in Jeollanamdo.

This blog is meant to serve as a reflection not only of being a Native English Speaking teacher in Korea, but also of living as a foreigner in rural Korea.