Em in Asia!

My Experiences Living and Teaching in South Korea

My bodyguard


My school is fairly small as far as high schools in Korea go, (but apparently pretty average for country schools), so there are 6 classes in each grade, 3 grades total, which makes for roughly 450 kids. As a result of having such a small number of classes per grade, I teach every single 2nd and 1st grader at my school… which actually only amounts to 12 classes and about 300 kids. Unfortunately I don’t teach any of the 3rd graders, because they are busy preparing for the really intense university entrance exam I mentioned earlier, but in November when they finish taking the test I will teach them which means I will be up to 18 classes, and I will have taught every single student at my school. Pretty cool.

Even though I don’t teach them, I still see and interact with the 3rd graders pretty regularly. The school building itself is actually pretty small and my desk is in the main 교무실 (teacher’s office) so I see them there, however most of my interaction with students is either walking to and from my classes or in the cafeteria. My student interactions tend to follow pretty specific patterns:

1) The relatively normal but extraverted student approach: EMILY HIIIII!/Hello Teacher!/Anyeongha-hehehe-hello!
2) The shy student approach: Me: “Hello!” Student: stares/giggles/runs away
3) The infatuated male student approach: EMILY TEACHER I LOVE YOU! (usually a really loud scream across a huge distance – either from across the hall/from the second floor balcony/across the caferia, etc) followed by some sort of heart-like gesture (arms over the head connecting to make a heart, heart with the hands, etc). This happens a lot more than you would think.

However, there is a specific group of 3rd year boys (5 of them) whose interactions with me don’t tend to fit into these categories, and I never quite know what to expect from them. I was walking outside away from the cafeteria back to the main building when I passed one of them. He immediately stopped what he was doing and positioned himself in front of me with his hand stretched away from me out in a defensive position and said “today – I am your bodyguard.” I laughed and said okay and we walked together for approximately 30 seconds before his friend came over to say hi to me, at which point my bodyguard for the day promptly starts yelling “BAD GUY!” and starts chasing after the guy trying to put him in a

This is my life.

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.