Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Dan and Tan are embarking on another adventure for 5 days. On October 3, Korea will be celebrating Chuseok (한가위) which is equivalent to Thanksgiving. During this holiday Koreans return to their hometowns to pay respects to the spirits of one's ancestors. We decided to leave Korea all together and are headed to Beijing to celebrate their national day on October 1. This national day will be a special one for China they have shutdown central Beijing to celebrate 60 years of Communist rule. We are so excited to continue learning about other cultures, be in the same city as the 2008 summer Olympics...the birds nest that we watched in awe from home, and most of all climb the Great Wall of China. We have been very blessed to have this opportunity and want to thank you all of you readers for keeping up during our year abroad.

Dan and Tan
(P.S. The picture above is a Chuseok gift from Dan's principal..these little fish are usually served at bars and restaurant as snacks)

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Sometime ago I posted about my co-teachers. Well, since that time our English Department has grown some. When I first started back in March I had two co-teachers, Kate and Grace. I taught with them for the majority of the time. In the first semester I taught 3rd and 5th graders with Grace. I had six 3rd grade classes and four 5th grade classes. I taught four 6th grade classes with Kate. Now that we are in a new semester I am now teaching five 4th grade classes instead of the 3rd graders. Co-teaching is really easy. We pretty much dominate the classroom together. In our textbooks there are four sections to a chapter. I do the lesson plans for the 2nd and 3rd periods of each chapter and Grace and Kate do the other two. We feed off of each other very well. I must say, lesson planning for these classes are really easy, mainly because of the book. The book give us a basic outline and we add and subtract from it as we please.
I have had another co-teacher, her name is Heather. I don't actually teach with her but we share an after school Special English Class. I don't particularly like the title but oh well. It is suppose to be for gifted kids not special in the sense of challenged kids. We have worked our schedule out so that she teaches the two hour class on Wednesdays and I on Mondays and Fridays. I fill in for her if she needs me too. She tends to be really busy. You see, she is not a designated English teacher she is actually a homeroom teacher. She teaches second grade. But because she ran the English program the previous two years, they Vice Principal felt it necessary for her to run the class.
I have yet one more co-teacher to bring it to an even four. Her name is Un Hey. She teaches in the BEST (Baekbong English Special Town) program. Once again, more of that special business. The new facility was built for after school English studies. The center is state of the art with a cooking room, dance studio, green room, reading cafe and huge multipurpose room. I answer to Un Hey when it's about my class in the BEST program. It's a writing class. and I just started it a few weeks ago. I teach it on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I love this class because I only have 10 students. It is much different than my regular classes of 35.
My other co-workers in our English department are Ben and Lydia. They teach strictly in the BEST program with the exception of a few hours. They are a couple from England. Latanya and I hang out with them often. We always seem to have a great time together.
So that's our staff. We all get along really well. I have heard many horror stories of really bad co-teachers and I find myself very lucky.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

School Overview (Dan)

To start off school life has been a bit busy. I have been on the move ever since the semester started. School here in Korea is structured differently than the States. For one it is completely ran by the government, and with government comes a lot of paper pushing, bureaucracy. To order a new ink cartridge for the printer, for example, can take awhile. There are forms that need to be filled out and signed. All while, I could easily go down to the Staples equivalent and buy it in twenty minutes. Instead there is a process that must be followed.
It is also a process to record my overtime hours. When I work extra teaching hours I must fill out a paper with my lesson plan and all. That paper must be filled out by my co-teacher with the Korean translation. I must then sign the paper and then go down to the first floor and get the administrators signature. From there I move to the Vice Principal and get his signature on the second floor. Also on the second floor I must go to the Principal's office and get his signature as well. This is all assuming they are all in their respective offices at the same time, which is never the case. I teach twice a week for this particular after school class and must get the signatures often. It's a hassle to say the least.
Another difference in the school system, is the start of the school year. The school year in Korea starts in March. The first semester goes from March to July. They have a little over a month of a summer vacation, and then the second semester begins in late August. The second semester for the most part lasts from August to December. The winter vacation is a little over two months long. The students do have to go back to school at the beginning of February for two weeks to wrap up the second semester. I have been told that those extra two weeks are designed to finish up any curriculum that was not covered in the bulk of the semester. I also have been told that most classes are usually taught with fun activities for the students.
Another major difference is the school hours for the faculty. Here teachers and faculty are at work from 8:40AM to 4:40AM. Though school lets out at 2:40 we are all obligated to stay the remainder of time. It is designed so the teacher does not take work home. It gives us plenty of time to lesson plan. I am usually done with my main English classes by lunch at 12:10. From their I have about two to three hours of free time to prepare for classes. I am running two after school classes at the moment. One of them is an special English class and the second is a writing class I have mentioned before. Other than those major differences school is school. Kids still act like kids.
Next post I will go into more detail about my co-workers and students.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Fall is here. I don't know if I should be excited or not. I mean the weather is nice and cool and the humidity has subsided. It's just when I think of it getting cool I only think of the Winter to follow. It is definitely a light jacket kind of weather, in the mornings and evenings anyways. During the day it is warm. Not too much is happening as of lately. I started an additional after school class for some overtime. It is a writing class. When I told my mother I was teaching writing she was quick to point out all the mistakes I use to make in primary school as well as the mistakes I continue to make as an adult. Thanks for the support mom, just kidding. Anyways I have ten students in that class and I bought a couple of books to use for the semester's curriculum. It's only two days a week, so pretty easy money, I say. My other special class has dwindled from 22 students at the beginning of last semester to 17 as of late. And because of this Swine Flu epidemic our whole after school center has seen a drastic drop off in registration from the previous semester. I just realized I have not really talked too much about my school and keeping you all updated. I think I will follow this post with a focused post about school life. Bye for now.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Long time no see

Is this week over as yet???? The weather is starting to change California weather has spoiled me. It is too chilly in the mornings and evenings that I have to bring a jacket! I have traded my summer dresses and shorts for pants and long sleeve shirts...Argh. This has been the longest week ever so I decided to write on the blog. It has been a long time. I am enjoying teaching and traveling it has been an absolute blessing now I'm trying to guide my life in a way that it has more meaning and purpose. This really stresses me out cause I have no idea been what I want to do. Anyway, my school hired a new English teacher named Shin. I am so relieved to have a new English teacher. This is her first job out of college. Over the past few weeks we have spent a lot of time getting to know each other it amazes me how much we have in common. She is really outgoing and loves to ask questions about America the way she talks about it sounds like some magical place. It is but when living there you take everything for granted. Shin cracks me up her new dream is move to New York be a teacher and a part time NBC news correspondent because she read an article about Jenna Bush her exact words "If Jenna can do it so can I" Her positive outlook on life inspires me. After lunch we started a language exchange program I help her with her English and she teaches me Korean.


Monday, September 7, 2009


Well according to the poll I posted last week (to the left), we have very few followers or we have a lot of oblivious followers. I wanted to get a feel for our audience. According to the poll thus far we only have five people who read our blog, one of them being me. If you can please take the time to click the appropriate answer, we would appreciate it. It will help us out, so we know if we should be blogging more or less.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Back to School

We are back at it again. The second semester officially started this week. It's sad to know that our summer vacation is over. However it does feel good to be back in school. I must admit I missed my kids. Latanya most certainly is not too happy about being back at work. The getting up early is not her idea of fun. Other than school starting back not much else is going on.
We had some Mexican food the other week. In fact we practically had a whole Mexican week. There was a Mexican festival in Seoul. It was a grand re-opening of a restaurant. Plenty of tacos, quesadillas, margaritas and beer. We also ate at On the Border as well. It was really good. The unlimited chips and salsa were wonderful.
Also, I will be trying to get a lot of overtime in the second semester. Because of the new after school program my school asked if I wanted to work in the afternoon as well. It should be a good opportunity to make some more money.
Peace for know.