Em in Asia!

My Experiences Living and Teaching in South Korea

Yeonpyeong is a Sad Panda – North Korea Part II

November29

In an effort to give my students a more creative vocabulary so that they can answer the question “how are you?” without the dreaded “I’MFINETHANKYOUANDYOU?” I taught a lesson on feelings. In doing so I inadvertantly learned about my low level students’ reactions to the North Korean shelling of Yeonpyeong Island. Note: this is my crazy, difficult to handle all girls’ 1st grade class (remember, the American equivalent of a 1st grader is a sophmore, so 16 year old girls), definitely not indicative of the energy levels of most of my classes).

EMILY TEACHER: Okay class today we are going to talk about FEELING words.
*explanation of “feelings,” explanation of “words”*
 How are you today?

STUDENTS: I’MFINETHANKYOUANDYOU?!

EMILY TEACHER: *Strained laughter* But how are you REALLY? That is what we will talk about!

*Slide 1: HAPPY. Picture of a smiling cat. Girls freak out (TEACHER! CUTEUH!!!!!)*

EXAMPLE: “I am HAPPY because I have English class!”
*silence*
No one?

STUDENT1: TEACHER NO! BAD.

STUDENT2: I am happy for EMILYTEACHER!

EMILY TEACHER: Oooookay, is anyone sad?
*Slide 1: SAD. Picture of sad panda. Girls freak out (TEACHER! CUTEUH!!!!!)*

STUDENT2: SCHOOL!

EMILY TEACHER: What?

STUDENT2: schOOOOOOOL! schOOOOOOOL! SAD SCHOOL!

EMILY TEACHER: You are sad because of school?

STUDENT2: YES.

ALL STUDENTS: schOOOOOL! schOOOOOL! schOOOOL!

EMILY TEACHER: Okay, any other reasons why we are sad?

STUDENT3: North Korea! North Korea! *punching motions* pyewwwww pyewwwww pyewwwww *makes rocket noises* kapoooo! kapooow!

EMILY TEACHER: Yes, they attacked Yeonpyeong Island.

STUDENT4: YES! very saduh.

STUDENT3: War! WAR!! Emily Teacher leave Korea, North Korea war. Everyday we die. EVERYDAY WE DIE. EVERY.DAY.WE.DIE.

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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.