• 3.4 Winter 2021-2022,  Korean

    January 28, We’re back, baby!

    My throat is sore from the five hours or so I spent talking with my kiddos. A month apart! Not much has changed– 4-6 is as shy and fidgety as ever, 5-3 as excitable and loud as usual. 5-4 was shyer than before the break but 5-2 made up for any lassoing I had to do with their vibe. I can finally be the evil trickster I’ve missed so much. Phonics is my favorite part of every lesson and it’s what we spend the first quarter of class on so today I tripped up fifth grade with this question: Do “in” and “인” have the same pronunciation? Classes were split…

  • Korean

    Getting Dressed in Korean

    Feel my pain: these are the ways you say “put on” in Korean. The verb changes to match the type of clothing/accessory/makeup. For example, you put on clothes, fasten a watch, pull on shoes, fit rings and gloves, spread, lotion, do makeup, tie a necktie but wrap a scarf, pick up a bag but strap on a purse. My tutor asked what kind of man I like, “fashionable”? I said any is okay as long as there is some effort. But “If he takes more time getting ready than me, I really don’t like it.” For language corner, we can see how different Korean is in sentence structure which really…

  • 1.2 Fall 2019

    Week 18, Thursday

    During warmup I asked 3-3 in Korean what they ate for Christmas (hamburgers! fried chicken! ddeokkbokki! chicken stir fry!) and what they received for Christmas. Nick Jr told me “candy”: “Oh?” “Yes, the candy you gave me was a gift!” On Christmas eve he was the only kid hanging around the ddeokkbokki stand so I gave him one of the candies in my bag. Yes, I now carry candies in my bag like an old woman. I do mean that literally– old women here like to give me candy. 3-3 also has a new student. He’s Korean but spent the last three years in Kuwait. He told H that he…

  • 1.2 Fall 2019

    Week 16, Thursday

    One air filter, thirty six facemasks, one red sweater, one white sweater vest, one hand sewn money pouch, a traditional fan, a loaf of olive bread, one note from a student, one note from a teacher, some good news, a photo for the yearbook, two dinners, a hug from a special student who slung his arm around me and blinked very close to my face then went on his merry way. Today is G’s last week so gifts were exchanged and dinner was had. G: I talked with the principal and vice principal today. I told them about you: you are really nice and we work well together. There is…

  • 1.2 Fall 2019

    Week 14, Friday

    Upon leaving, Heejoo and “Wooseok is my boyfriend” girl shouted hello to me across the courtyard. They were holding hands so I slung my arm around Wooseok fan and asked what’s up. “I’m happy.” Heejoo said. “Why?” I asked. “Because boyfriend.” “Heejoo likes Joonhee In 6-1!” Wooseok fan shouted in betrayal (a role reversal from awhile back when the girls revealed Wooseok fan’s crush on a boy in 6-3). Heejoo quickly released hands so she could punch Wooseok fan and chase her around. Heejoo told me Joonhee is shorter than her but I told her don’t worry, when he gets to high school he’ll grow very tall (and at the…

  • 1.2 Fall 2019

    Week 13, Wednesday, a grave offense

    Today was a whole lot of good but I have to get something off my chest. This pertains to language and relationships so let’s have a fun language corner: Korean has a lot of politeness levels that can also be combined with various honorific conjugations. But for our lesson today, let’s focus and say that there are essentially three levels of politeness. Casual language that is used between close friends, lovers, people born in the same year, or from a much older to younger person; polite language which is used between coworkers, people who don’t know each other that well, and general every day situations; and formal which is used…

  • 1.2 Fall 2019

    Week 10, Thursday, Halloween & WayV

    I interviewed every third grader for their individual speaking test today. Having been the student of speaking tests in Spanish, Czech, and Korean I deeply empathize. They all tried and for the most part did very well. I know they’ve never had a test like that but today they looked a foreign person in the eyes and could say “how old are you? I’m ten years old.” I realized how small they are, sitting across from me. And I definitely have a soft spot for Nick Jr which I’m trying to keep from interfering with grading. G later revealed to me:“When I was in junior high we had a foreign…

  • 1.2 Fall 2019

    Week 10, Wednesday

    Guitar teacher saved me from another silent lunch by mentioning his Halloween; he was also in Itaewon at the same time.“Wow we could have seen each other.” I said, although the reality is Itaewon was crowded and my PhD friend is 6’4” so if I walked behind him, I was effectively a ghost. He added: “I went to Yongsan park on Sunday. There were many foreign families celebrating Halloween. I just walked around.” “Ah I see… you were walking off your hangover?” A moment passed thinking I was mistaken until he admitted with a small laugh aimed at the window “…yes”. On the stairs a rowdy boy and Strong Girl…

  • Korean

    I passed TOPIK Level 2!

    I am now officially and nationally recognized as a “high beginner”. Of course, it’s not until level 3 that I will be able to “carry out daily routine, with fair use of public facilities and able to socialize without significant difficulty.” Still some difficulties now but not forever.

  • 1.1 Summer 2019

    August 12, Thank you, Teacher

    I learned a lot from my female teacher this summer not just about Korean language but also how to be a better teacher. I took an hour to write her a small letter. It took so long because there is of course another tense to use when talking about a teacher (but not yourself). So hashtag “I tried” “making an effort”. Now I’m sure there are grammatical errors and awkward phrasings but hey, those are all part of the charm. I wish her the best and hope she does in fact get married to Park Bo Gum. 감사합니다~