Em in Asia!

My Experiences Living and Teaching in South Korea



Good morning blog readers! Considering I have no control over what time you chose to read this (heck, maybe I’m pontificating into a void here) or what time it is on your side of the world, I’m going to pretend it’s morning and that you’re as miserable to be awake as I am.

I hate mornings.

I just was not able to create a new lesson for second grade today, so I’m doing scattergories with them, and continuing to do my pronunciation lesson with first grade… I’ve got a ton of half-formed ideas, but I’d rather wait until they’re good and I have them fully formed and thought out than teach something that has the potential to be good and mess it up. Darn my type-A personality… Also last week I taught what I thought was going to be a fun lesson, but as my kids seem to hate writing (or maybe just poetry – my SGHS kids hated when I made them do poetry as well) it ended up being less fun. I was going to attempt to do a full-blown out poetry unit but with the reaction to the last lesson, plus the fact that this and next week is full of interruptions (I’m going to a conference, next week Tuesday – Friday the students are going on a trip, etc) the unit is going to be split up anyway so why not stick something fun in between the poetry?

I’ve been trying so hard to teach in units rather than teaching random lessons that don’t build on each other – but if you look at my schedule from the last three semesters, it just doesn’t work out. Part of it is that there are so many random cancellations and holidays that anytime I do attempt to teach a unit it tends to gets interrupted for at least half of my classes, and part of it is just due to poor planning on my part. You know, the same reason why I ended up doing a Halloween lesson halfway through November.

Anyway, I’d love to do a whole series of lessons on social studies – geography (probably mostly vocabulary, Konglish, and map activities) a lesson on government, and perhaps a variation of the choose a country lesson I piloted with SGHS’s advanced class last year. I’ve been scrounging around on the internet for ideas and I stumbled upon this really cool site set up by the Australian government called Discovering Democracy. I really want my government lesson to be active and student-centered, so I like their Design a Tower simulation a lot. Anyway, we’ll see how this goes.

(ps last week I had another simile about written me – “Emily is as beautiful as a flower.” – This one was written by one of the male 2.5 students. He gestured me over and pointed at his paper. I saw it, just kind of shook my head and sighed, and told him to get back to writing about his partner. I wish I knew the word “cliche” in Korean).

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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.