Posts tagged ‘teaching english’

February 7, 2012

7 Lessons my kids have taught me

“I hope you learn something from those kids.” -my mom

And you know what mom? I have. Here they are. Neatly organized into a list. Not only am I a kickass teacher, I’m also a pretty good student. Who takes notes. And then organizes them. And shares them with her friends. So here they are:

7 Lessons my kids have taught me over the 3 months I’ve taught them.

Side note: Today is my 3 month being-in-Daegu (and therefore teaching) anniversary!!!

1. Be kind- one person can make a difference. I was really really sick a couple of weeks ago but Kayla asked me to take one for the team because we were already short a teacher. Anyway, I went into class, assigned work, and put my head down on my desk. 30 seconds later I felt a tap on my shoulder. I look up and Jamie asks me if I’m ok. I tell her I’m not feeling well and before I can even protest, she walks behind my chair and starts massaging my shoulders. I was all “oh Jamie you really don’t have to do that” and then she goes “don’t worry teacher, I do this for my mom when she’s sick. This will make you feel better.” WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THAT? I love that kid. And she brightened my day in a way I can’t explain in words. And she was right… I did feel better.

2. Laugh til your stomach hurts. Do this at any time. For any reason. Do it by yourself. Or with a friend. Do it in a tree. Or just to be. In a box or with a fox. In a house or with a mouse… sorry for getting all Dr. Seuss on you there there. But you do get the point. Laugh! Be merry!

3. Be silly. Have fun. Don’t take life seriously.
I think the following picture pretty much sums it all up. I asked Caden to finish writing the date. And this is what he wrote: “Today is… your special day!!!”

4. . Experiment. Push the envelope. Define your own limits. So I have this one really adorable kid I teach. But of course he’s also the class clown aka trouble maker. And this kid will come into class everyday and find a way to annoy me until I yell at him. And then he’ll stop. It’s almost like he’s testing my limits everyday. And in the process, figuring out what he can and cannot do. Some days he gets away with a lot. And some days he doesn’t. But that doesn’t stop him from trying. every. single. day. This kid will go far in life.

5. Don’t hold grudges. That kid I talked about in #5. He does something bad. I yell at him. He stays mad at me for maybe 3 minutes. And then he’s all teach-ah! Look! At! My! New! Lego! Set!

6. Be generous. Share. Even if you have just one cookie left.

7. Tell those you love… that you love them. And here’s proof they love me:

I think as kids, we all know the secrets to life, to happiness. And in the process of growing up, we forget. So here’s me reminding you to go out and play, laugh, get in trouble. Life is too short to take seriously :)

December 2, 2011

And they do it with so much Adorable.

From spending the day with kids to hanging out with my Korean teachers (some of whom have kids a few years younger than me) to partying into the night with other foreign teachers who are mostly in their 20s, I’ve learned this: we’re all pretty much the same. And we all want the same things: to be heard and to be loved.

I’ve learned that you can make a connection regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or culture That all you need to do is look for the similarities and love the differences. That keeping an open mind means understanding who you are is constantly changing. And that staying true to who you are doesn’t necessarily mean drawing lines and keeping yourself locked in.

I’m reminded to play. During every minute of my work day. I’m reminded to laugh and be silly. I’m reminded that life is lived in the in-between moments. Those moments in-between the question and the answer.

And I’m beginning to learn to accept every moment as it unfolds and not question, expect or want anything else. Yup, these kids  are teaching me more about life than I could ever teach them. And they do it with so much adorable.
November 20, 2011

Reasons Korea and I were meant to be… Part 2

1. I only believe in well behaved obedient children. Those are the only kind that seem to exist in Korea. They call you teacher, bow to greet, and never speak back to you. The fact that they’re also ridiculously adorable never hurts either.

2. 24 hours everything. Moving from Toronto to London was painful. I mean don’t get me wrong, I fell in love with London. But that’s another story for another day. The ONE thing that upset me about the city, though, is that nothing is open past 8. Oxford st shuts down at 8. How random is that!? It’s like oh hey we’re gonna tease you be all cool and stay open past 6 but not 9. Oh no. That would be ridiculous!

And if you wanted food in the middle of the night, you had to go to tinseltown. Again, LOVE the place but it’s not everyday that you want a thick chocolate-y milkshake. Wait. Did I just say that. All this kimchi must be getting to my head. But the point is, Korea is my seoulsister when it comes to this. (clever word play, no? I’m going to pretend I made that up and take credit for it.)

24 hours is how life should be lived. And sleep is so overrated. Especially when you get this sudden urge to clean at 3am and you’re out of cleaning supplies.

3. They pick up garbage everyday. No waiting for your weekly neighbourhood garbage pick up day while upping the funk smell factor in your garage. How AWESOME is that!?

4. In Korea, I’m a millionaire. Sure, a bottle of water costs 1250 won. But my bank account? In the millions, baby.

November 15, 2011

We’re basically best friends now.

He walked into class with his usual game face. If it had a name it’d be called she ain’t gonna crack me.

Today’s passage was about deciduous trees. Because I actually knew what it meant and how to say the word, I was way confident. Between every reading activity, I’d do the usual.

Me: So what’s your fav movie?

Him: blank stare.

Me: Did you see transformers?

Him: blank stare.

This went on for most of the class… and then I remembered something a friend told me. Everyone has dreams. Get him to talk about his.

Me: So what do you want to be when you grow up?

Him: Bat

Me: Pardon!?

Him: Bet

Me: Can you write it down?

Him: *writes V-E-T*

Me: REALLY!? I LOVE animals… I have a dog.

I knew I had hit gold and I wasn’t about to let it pass me by. I pulled out the trusty iPhone and showed him this pic:

and the rest, as they say, is polyps-deciduous tree history. He told me about his 2 pet hamsters named Happy and Luck. And his 4 huge goldfish the size of his hands.

We bonded… and we’re basically best friends now.

And that, my friends, is how it’s done.

November 14, 2011

Solo Teaching, Polyps and Polka Dots

Yesterday was my first full day of solo teaching, sans Korean teacher. (I thought the sans would be appropriate since the Korean are obsessed with their French pastries and it makes me sound so sophisticated… you know, now that I’m an English Teacher.)

Ok, who am I kidding. I’m not. I have no experience teaching bar the few kids I tutored during high school and my short stint at chuck e cheese. I mean, sure, I love kids and I played school all.the.time as a little girl. I remember the first teacher I fell in love with. Her name was Miss. Wolf and she was beautiful in every sense of the word. She had these perfect french manicured nails that I’d admire while she turned the pages during story time. And she wore these beautiful polka dot blouses. I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. And here’s me making that dream a reality: I got a shellac french manicure the day before my flight and made sure to pack all my polka dot stuff.

But… I’m slowly realizing that it’s going to take a lot more than a manicure and polka dots to really make this dream a reality… the one of not just looking like a teacher but of actually being a good one.

One of my classes (the TOEFL level) has just one kid in it. This kid is smart. And knows more English than I do. I know this is the public domain and at the risk of thoroughly embarrassing myself (after that Clorox story, I figure anything goes here) I’m going to admit that I had no idea what polyps was. While preparing for this particular class, I freaked out and had to plug in my headsets in the teacher’s lounge (for obvious reasons: not to oust my stupidity in real life too) to hear how the word is properly pronounced. Just in case I had to correct him during reading. And this kid? He just breezed through it. Even knew what it meant. DO YOU KNOW WHAT POLYPS MEANS!? 

Anyway, he’s smart. Can read. and knows the meaning of words like polyps for god’s sake! But he refuses to speak to me. The only words that come out of his mouth are… words on the page. And answers. The correct ones. But conversation with Tia? Nope. He wasn’t having any of it. So I did what any sensible teacher would do.

Googled child psychology. English teacher tips. How to teach English abroad without pulling your hair out.

So that’s my story. BUT I’M NO GIVER UPPER! I’ll be back for more. And I’m going to make this kid talk. If my life depends on it.  Yes, I’m kinda dramatic like that. In the meantime, if you have any tips on how to make a 15 year old shy Korean boy talk, please send them my way.

And because every post is better with a picture… or two…

Wanna know what the BEST part about living in a country where you don’t understand the language and therefore the signs is? You can amuse yourself to no end making up sign meanings … I think this one says “DON’T TAKE PICTURES IF YOU’RE WEARING STRIPES AND POLKA DOTS… AT THE SAME TIME.”

Oh and Mom, this picture is for you… LOOOOOOOOVE ME

November 13, 2011

Cheers to the freakin’ weekend

If there is a right way to do your first night out in Korea then I’m pretty sure last night was it. Met some pretty cool foreign teachers from all around the world. Okay, so the majority of them were from America. And Scotland/England. That’s all-around-the-world ish enough, right? We started off with dinner then went bar hopping. And ended the night in true Korean style – at a noraebang (Korean Karoke)

Shot of SOJU! (Korea rice wine) This stuff is STRONG and tastes so yummy when mixed with juices. (Pictured here with mango juice)

So I’m pretty sure this little holder thing exists elsewhere in the world but I get excited about stuff like this, okay? HOW COOL IS THAT! (no pun intended) and here’s a fun fact my new friends were impressed with when I mentioned it: 4 degrees is colder than the average temperature in a fridge – 7 degrees.

You know those moments in life when you can’t believe how much you’re struggling? And with such simple things too? No? Never had a moment like that? Ok. Well in that case, let me bring some colour into your life. I’m just going to come out and say it. No sugar coating. I have no idea where I live. I mean I don’t even know how to say my address. So you might wonder how in the world I got home last night? Bar hopping and then getting home in your own town is mission enough. Well, let me introduce to you.. USE #358468 for the trusty iPhone:

Ya, go ahead and laugh. I asked my head teacher to record my address in Korean so that I could play it to my cab driver at the end of the night. And that’s exactly what I did. Laugh all you want. But I got home. Safe. Booyah.

And here’s me living life on the edge this morning (aka breakfast of champions aka I have-no-idea-what-I’m-about-to-eat and hope it’s nothing outrageous)

The important thing is I had a game plan. It was an epic fail. But it was a plan nonetheless.

My plan was to show the girl at the family mart the picture of chicken while nodding yes and point to the picture of the pig while shaking my head no. (the Koreans love their pork- everything is pork) but I hadn’t thought far enough ahead to think to download a pic of veggies before I left home (in the case that they didn’t have chicken) Now I know. And in the meantime, I’m going to pretend this is vegetarian. If you know for a fact that it’s not, please don’t tell me.

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