• 1.2 Fall 2019

    Week 2, Friday

    I’m so out of it I stared at my coteacher several seconds trying to formulate a question. TGIF! 6-2 and 6-3 are really… something else but my angels in 6-1 and 6-4 sandwich the baddies so I end on a good note. I mistook one of the sixth grade boys for Tank Boy. He was extremely confused and I realized my mistake after class when real Tank Boy ran by class saying HELLO I AM TANK BOY. He’s in fifth grade so it’s not outside the realm of possibility that they’re related. So I tell myself. I do have twins in 3-1 and 3-2. My bad. 6-4 made up a…

  • 1.2 Fall 2019

    Week 2, Thursday

    During lunch an infamous second grader poked his head into the teacher’s cafeteria and exclaimed in Korean “Oh! The new English teacher!” The doors are sometimes open so on occasion kids linger to say hello to the teachers and run away. In the afternoon I had fourth grade English club. They watched the original Jumanji and the boys LOVED it. I heard them say about the cop’s silly reactions: “so cute”. All the boys had a terrific reaction to the two adults almost kissing and I wish I had recorded it (are they going to? Oh? OOOoooOoOoOh). They also laughed at the scene where Judy shines a price scanner in…

  • Thoughts & Drabbles

    To Mary Oliver

    My favorite poet passed on January 17. To honor her legacy, I’d like to share her most widely beloved poem “Wild Geese”: You do not have to be good.You do not have to walk on your kneesfor a hundred miles through the desert repenting.You only have to let the soft animal of your bodylove what it loves.Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.Meanwhile the world goes on.Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rainare moving across the landscapes,over the prairies and the deep trees,the mountains and the rivers.Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,are heading home again.Whoever you are, no matter…

  • 1.2 Fall 2019

    Week 2, Wednesday

    How proficient am I in Microsoft Suite? I can use it in Korean. Put THAT on my resume. More fourth graders cried today; I guess puberty makes them overly competitive during class games and the result is a domino effect of tears. I saw Strong Girl, Weak Boy, and their new friend. He has claimed his new name is Tank. We now call him Tank Boy. Some of the kiddos want to high five me or hold my hand or back hug me. Students continue to Say “hello teacher” in the hallway and if time allows I stop and ask them in English and Korean where they’re going or what…

  • 1.2 Fall 2019

    Week 2, Tuesday

    After leaving school I ran into a parent in the parking lot. She actually introduced herself in English and told me that she’s American. She told me her daughter is in my fourth grade class and that she really liked the previous teacher (Yes, bummer I’m here instead). I have that class tomorrow so I’ll keep an eye out because I’m curious. Several small things happened today: Fifth grade homeroom teacher: wow pretty! the fifth graders talked about how pretty you were Coworker at lunch: omg! Your eyes are green! Next door after school teacher in the middle of scolding a kid: oh hi! I’m Jennie. This is a very…

  • 1.2 Fall 2019

    Week 1, Friday

    End of the first week. My sixth grade coteacher was out to attend her husband’s military promotion so I taught with a man who will also be subbing for my other co-teacher when she goes on maternity leave. I have… Some concerns. He’s a retired teacher but not an English teacher so our conversations today were incredibly… short. I’m honestly not sure that he speaks any English but he can read. Luckily my pregnant coworker said she’ll make a schedule for us so we can divide and conquer when she leaves. She felt a bit worried for the future and I told her that I was also little bit worried…

  • 1.2 Fall 2019

    Week 1, Wednesday

    I received a special gift from one of my fourth grade girls. After 4-1 (don’t tell the other fourth grade classes but they’re my favorite) three class comedians stayed after to sweep. One is a carbon copy of Seungkwan from SEVENTEEN. The three boys chatted with me in Korean about our favorite Korean foods. They were incredibly patient with me and so so cute. In another class the kids figured out very quickly that I spoke Korean and one little boy has ESL down pat because he asked in Korean “do you speak Korean?” And made a little talking hand gesture at the verb “speak”. Earlier this week I left…

  • 1.2 Fall 2019

    Week 1, *First Day*

    My goodness, what a day! Firstly let’s note that anyone who says it’s faster to travel by subway means only the subway and not the five escalators and elevators and staircases that require getting in and out of the station. And another fun fact I learned today is that the previous teacher was also from the same US city. Small world! The most surprising part of my school is that during training they told us to never use Korean in class. However in my school, English classes are conducted mostly in Korean since the kids are too novice to understand English directions. In fact, third grade is the first time…

  • 1.2 Fall 2019

    Updates from a Shoebox

    Very small quick update from the far east: while my school is in the north, it turns out my shoebox apartment is about 30 minutes south in a super trendy college area three stops away from Gangnam*. Living arrangements are a bit small (studio is around 250 sq feet) but having lived in a true thimble over the summer I’m really happy with the arrangements. I’ve somehow managed to Tetris all my hoarded belongings into one closet. *For those that don’t know, Gangnam is the Manhattan of Seoul and is known for shopping and plastic surgery. And of course it’s featured in “Gangnam Style”.

  • 1.2 Fall 2019

    Placement, Part 2

    After week(s) of anxiety about my placement in the vastness that is Seoul, it turns out my final placement is less than one mile from where I spent the entire summer. I’m crying, life is so funny y’all.