Tales of a Gimnazium Lektor: Part One

A brief reflection on the workaday experience of a foreign teacher working in a Hungarian high school.

Given that I came to Hungary about a month and a half after I left Korea, the first question a lot of people ask me is something to the tune of: “So do you like Hungary or Korea better?” Continue reading “Tales of a Gimnazium Lektor: Part One”

Happy Thanksgiving from South Korea

All the students at school would like to wish you a Very Merry…Thanksgiving! I admit I’m a bit late with this sentiment, as that day of family feasting is likely fading in some people’s memories as Christmas approaches, but the kids are as cute as they were a month ago, so don’t be deterred.

Of course they needed a little prompting to shout, “Happy Thanksgiving,” for the waiting camera, but you may be surprised by just how much they understand about the holiday and its history. The video may not show it, but my first grade students can even rattle off the name William Bradford and spout off a fact or two on the Wampanoag Indian tribe. I suspect that is more than I could say at their age.

Closer Than We Think

Do you ever wake up in the morning, pour some milk into a bowl of cereal, and think, “Hmm, I wonder what on Earth children in South Korea eat for breakfast?” Find the responses to this query and plenty of other questions about the daily life of a student in South Korea in this video.

Do you ever wake up in the morning, pour some milk into a bowl of cereal, and think, “Hmm, I wonder what on Earth children in South Korea eat for breakfast?” Find the responses to this query and plenty of other  questions about the daily life of a student in South Korea in this video created by fellow teacher Seth Mattern.

Seth is a certified educator in the United States, and after the logistics of international pen-pal projects and video exchanges proved too messy, he created this website with another teacher in Colorado  as a convenient forum for cultural exchange between students the world over.

In addition to this, which I imagine is only the first of many videos to be posted in the future, poke around the website to read some essays by both Korean and American students, and responding comments. If you’re an educator anywhere in the world, and are interested in participating in the site, just send an e-mail and I would be thrilled to put you in touch with the appropriate people. Even if you’re not an educator, I know the kids would love to read any comments and answer any questions you may have.

These students are in fourth and fifth grade and recorded this around 8:00 at night, since they stay at our school until 9. You’ll find that later nights and longer hours spent in schools of all varieties are not the only differences between Korean and North American students. And as for breakfast in Korea, I’ll let the kids speak for themselves, but I suspect many will be surprised by their answers. Enjoy!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6VMWCKWpP0&w=425&h=344]

More poetry from the classroom

After some brainstorming about sensory details and exploration in the exciting world of similes, a refreshingly fun concept to teach, my 2nd grade class created these haikus together.

Let’s move with the rain,
God is showering at sky,*
Tok tok, it’s like beans.

Hard at work.

After some brainstorming about sensory details and exploration in the exciting world of similes, a refreshingly fun concept to teach, my 2nd grade class created these haikus together.

Let’s move with the rain,
God is showering at sky,*
Tok tok, it’s like beans.

Tip Tap: raining day,
Peep, peep: let us hear a song,
Tip, tap, joyful day.

Continue reading “More poetry from the classroom”

On: The Hogwon

Most people outside of Korea might guess that the word “Hogwon” is the Korean word for a hog farm or the name of some kind of hog-based commodity. I’ll admit I didn’t have a clue about what a Hogwon was until I started working for one. Even now that I am working for one, I still do not really know how to describe it, because there isn’t really anything like it back home. The closest thing to it is probably a learning center like Sylvan, but even that isn’t really the education model that can describe a Hogwon.
Continue reading “On: The Hogwon”