Em in Asia!

My Experiences Living and Teaching in South Korea

April24

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.

posted under Cute Stories

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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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