Em in Asia!

My Experiences Living and Teaching in South Korea

Feeling the Love


All week the new students’ parents have been bringing in gifts (food) to show their appreciation to the teachers. I am so full of bread, strawberries, and 떡 (rice cake) right now.

I feel so much more at home here this semester than last. Last semester whenever students used to come into the main office I’d look up, make eye contact, smile, and look back down. This semester students actually come up and talk to me while they’re waiting for other teachers – or better yet, sometimes I look down to look back up and see that they are in fact waiting to talk to me.

Today two of my second grade girls came in to talk to me and ask if I would practice conversation with them Tuesdays and Thursdays during the lunch period. You could tell they were nervous because they had actually prepared a script with their request that they were reading off of, and they told me they wanted to “get better at English and become closer with me.” My heart just melted.

Yesterday was a testing day but I came to school right after lunch because all of the female teachers were gathering and having coffee and snacks to welcome the new female teachers. We actually have three, all of which are fairly young, and can speak some English. They’ve actually been seeking me out to talk with me, which I’m still not entirely used to.

On top of that, I’ve actually had multiple groups of students come up to me and ask the title of my club activity and tell me that they were going to/had already signed up.

Speaking of club activities, for my first day I’m thinking about having my students play Kings (sans beverage). Basically, I’ll fan out a deck of cards in a circle and give every student 10 M&Ms to start with. They have to pull a card and do the command associated with the card’s number, and they can either lose an M&M by failing to follow a command or gain one by doing it correctly. Here are the commands so far:

2’s – Tell us your hobbies.
3’s – Take one M&M from someone.
4’s – Ask someone a question using a past tense [과거]. That student must answer. 
5’s – Ask a question using a future tense [미래]. That student must answer. 
6’s – Give one M&M to someone.
7’s – 7s. Here the student who drew the card must begin by saying the number 7, the next student in place must then say 14, the next must say 21 and so on. The first student who makes a mistake or doesn’t answer for 5 seconds loses and has to give up an M&M. The game continues on from the loser’s position.
8’s – Sing a line of a song (Korean/English) OR quote a movie (ENGLISH only)
9’s – Change direction : Counter clockwise to clockwise or vice versa.
10’s – Categories : Here the student who drew the card must name a category. The student next in turn must then name something within that category. Then the next student and so on… The first student who makes a mistake or doesn’t answer for 5 seconds loses and has to give up an M&M. The game continues on from the loser’s position.
Jacks – I have never: Students put up three fingers. Students must take turns saying something they have never done. EX: I have never been to Europe. Whoever HAS been to Europe must put a finger down. Whoever puts down all three fingers first loses and has to give up an M&M.
Queens – ???
Kings – ???
Aces – ???

If you have any ideas please let me know!

posted under Cute Stories, School
2 Comments to

“Feeling the Love”

  1. Avatar March 20th, 2012 at 3:08 pm Julia Ruane Says:

    Your modified Kings game is AWESOME. Such a good idea… your students are really lucky to have such a creative teacher! Maybe for one of the cards that doesn’t have a designated task, you could have the student tell a joke (either in English, or if in Korean, try to explain it in English)… usually pretty fun whether or not the joke translates well!

    I found your blog through the UMW study abroad roundup blog… Your entries are always funny and well written 🙂

  2. Avatar March 21st, 2012 at 12:13 pm epotosky Says:

    Wow, thank you so much for the compliments! I probably should’ve said this in the blogpost, but Kings wasn’t my idea – I found it online and I’m modifying it to suit my students’ levels… wish I had thought of it though. I still don’t know how many students have signed up for my club class, which might make it a bit difficult to play, but we’ll see how it goes. I like your joke idea! I think I’m going to include it :).

    I actually found your blog through the UMW study abroad site as well and I’ve enjoyed reading it. It’s interesting to see how our experiences are similar (the spitting, red bean, and my personal favorite – our comprehension of language, though for me it’s koreankoreankoreankoreanTEACHERkoreankorean).

    I hope you continue to enjoy your time in Beijing, and if you ever manage to make it over to Korea I’m here until July :).

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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.