Em in Asia!

My Experiences Living and Teaching in South Korea

The Price is Right… again

November28

Like I said a few blog entries ago I’m doing the Price is Right with my students to practice big numbers and prices, and it’s been going surprisingly well.  I thought it’d be too easy for them, but they’ve been getting really into the cultural aspects (I’ve been showing pictures of coins and explaining who each person is, the name of the coin, the value in both dollars and won, explaining the buildings, and also the symbols and America’s motto). It’s also been really nice to see my lowest level kids, who granted are not low level at all, really break out of their comfort zone and shout out the answers to things.

The way that second and third grade students are divided into homerooms is based on whether they’re 이과 (Egwa – science) or 문과 (Mungwa – society). If they’re science track, they take a lot more math and science courses, and if they’re society they study language and social studies more. It’s very strange to see where students fall on either side of that line because some of my best English speakers are science track, including Future Diplomat… However, there are some programs (for example, some of the top university’s medical programs) that will only take students who were science track in high school, no matter how high a society track kid’s math and science suneung scores are. However, I haven’t heard of any liberal arts college program turning away science track kids for this reason… it therefore makes more sense regardless of your actual interests to be science track in high school, especially if you want to keep your options open. As someone who is obviously a liberal arts/social studies/society fiend, this makes me really sad.

One thing I’ve noticed with the second grade society track boys is they all have a strange fondness for using German, at least in English class. Something that distinguishes CPHS from other high schools (at least, that I know of) is the amount of foreign language offered at school. SGHS only had English and Japanese, and hanja (the study of Chinese characters – not the language itself). I’ve had numerous students speak German to me as a joke, and today by the end of class four teams had switched from English numbers to German numbers. “Team 1” had switched to “Team Eins” so I started calling them Einsteins, which made them giggle. I totally would’ve been that kid in high school. <3 문과

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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.



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