Em in Asia!

My Experiences Living and Teaching in South Korea



I promise one day soon I’ll write a blog post that doesn’t involve my teacher facebook.

Something a lot of my Korean students do is post pictures of celebrities as their profile picture on facebook. This gets really annoying, because over the last two academic years I’ve taught over 900 CPHS kids (this doesn’t even include the SGHS kids) and while I may not remember all (most >.<) of their names, I am pretty good with faces. Celebrity pictures do not help. What’s even more strange is that students will generally put a celebrity that they think is attractive as their profile picture. This, I guess, makes sense – if you’re going to put a random person’s picture up as your own then why does it matter if they’re the same gender as you – but it still creates cognitive dissonance when I go to write on their walls.

Anyway, TH is a male first/second grader (I won’t consider them really second graders until the new school year starts in March) and was in my club class. I waffled on whether or not to poke fun of him for his profile picture, but figured that as a student I saw more often he’d probably get that it was a joke.

The kid out-punked me. What do you even say to that. I’ll probably respond with my usual response to awkward things students say to me (Teacher! I love you!), either “Thank you” or “I know.”

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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.