Em in Asia!

My Experiences Living and Teaching in South Korea

I belong!


Well, on the school’s computer network at least.

In most (I hesitate to say “all” because though I’ve never heard of a school without it, who really knows) Korean schools there is something called “Cool Messenger.” It’s on every computer, and works as an inter-school messaging system. Random cancellation? Send out a cool message. 4th and 6th period classes are being switched? Send out a cool message. Need to talk to the 2.7 homeroom teacher about one of your problem students? Send out a cool message. It’s a great tool for spreading information quickly – but it sucks if you can’t understand Korean, or if your computer isn’t hooked up to Cool Messenger.

About a month ago when the computer teacher installed printer software onto my computer he noticed I didn’t have Cool Messenger, and checked up on why. Apparently the foreign-teacher computer has never been hooked up to Cool Messenger because since I’m F*bright and not EPIK, I’m not on the Board of Education’s “Teacher at CP” list and while there’s nothing illegal about me being here, they still don’t want to get into a strange bureaucratic tangle. I accepted that I’d never be cool enough to join Cool Messenger, shed a silent tear, and moved on.

Well, cry no more, foreign teacher! Today after my 2nd period class I came back to my desk and my co-teacher told me that the computer teacher had spent awhile looking into the regulations, and how Cool Messenger works, and because it’s just a inter-school system, there shouldn’t be a problem with putting me on it. So now there’s a little icon that says “Emily” on it that people can message at will! I still haven’t gotten a message, but, it’s nice to know that I could. Potentially. Possibly. Perhaps. Probably not though.

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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.