Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Teaching in Korea....6 Months Deep

So In one more week I will have officially been in S. Korea for 6 months now!....Wow how time flies!! I still wake up some mornings and still cant believe that I am living/working here.

So my next few blogs will be out of order...one I skipped a lot of events that happened since I've arrived here....and two I have been really lazy when it comes to updating my blog in a timely fashion. So here goes Blog: A Day in the Life of a Korean Student~

**Hagwon: (학원) A private academy in South Korea, i.e. not public schools. Foreigners who teach English in South Korea either work at a public school or a hagwon, though hagwons are not only for language. There are hagwons for all school subjects and a student will attend any kind of one depending on what subject that student's parents want him or her to focus on.**

That said, let’s have a look at the typical day in the the life of a fictional Korean middle school student.

My School Day, by Park Hyeun Jung. English Name: Hero

Monday to Saturday, I wake up around 6:30 to 7:00. Eat a quick breakfast of rice and seaweed soup, put on my uniform, and walk to school. Some of my friends have to take the city bus, but I’m lucky.

My classes are math, science, Korean language and literature, morality, social studies, English, physical education, music and art. Math is my favorite, though I like social studies, too. I do a couple hours of self-study in the morning. During this time I usually work on assignments from my afternoon classes.

At lunch, I get to talk to my friends.

I finish around three. When I leave, I’m pretty hungry. If I have any pocket money, I’ll buy some food from the old lady’s snack cart. I don’t get to eat until I get home.

After School

From three until five, I do self-study at the library. I try to finish up my hagwon homework. Some of it is pretty hard, but it’s helping me become a better student. Besides, if I don’t finish, the teachers will call my mother. That’s never fun.

I go to hagwons for math, science, and English, one each. Some of my friends go to two different hagwons for each subject.

Three days a week, I have English and math. Two days a week, science and Korean hagwon. I spend a couple hours at each one. In math, we’ve been working on geometry, and that’s pretty fun. English hagwon is okay, though the foreigner teachers smell funny. At least they don’t give too much homework. I think they’re lazy but I get to talk a little bit. For my Korean teachers, we mostly memorize vocabulary and translate articles.

After Hagwon(s)

I get home from the hagwons at about 10pm. I used to stay later, but the government recently passed a law that says all hagwons have to close by 10pm. At home, I’ll eat a little dinner with my family. Dad is usually home to eat with us, but sometimes he has to work late and I don’t even see him; he leaves before I’m awake and gets home after I’m in bed.

After dinner, I study and do homework. We recently moved to a bigger apartment so my sister and I could have a room just for studying. Tonight, she’s working on English homework; she has to translate four pages before class tomorrow.

I’ve got to get ready for a math test at the end of the week, so I’ll probably study until about one or two. I’m so tired, and all I want to do is sleep, but I’ve got to finish. My future will be ruined if I don’t.

Good Night

And we think we've got it bad in the States.....these kids have no social lives....chances to be kids, and to explore what their passions are and learn what they like and dislike!! Following article please read:

Time Magazine: Teacher, Leave Those Kids Alone

At times I do feel bad and somewhat sorry for Korean children....but then I step back and realize that to them this is normal. This should not be considered normal AT ALL!!! But, who does not want their child to be the Best of the Best....to bad there is over 49,000,000 people in Korea that are all competing to be the Best of the Best.

On a better note I do feel as if I have been an impact, an eye opener, and a gardner....all while being able to teach here in Korea. An Impact, because most of my children have been very open and receiving of me, eye opener because the are always shocked when I tell them that I was born here and they cant understand if I was born here why is my skin so dark. And last but not least, a gardner...as a teacher we all plant a seed in each child we interact with on a daily basis. Its our jobs to water and feed that seed, and not all seeds become beautiful plants but you know you did your job when at least one seed has blossomed into a flower since the day you started teaching. Thats when I know Im happy with my Job here in Korea as a teacher...I leave you with a few pics of my workplace and my kids!

My School...ChungDahm Institute (CDI)

My Daily Ride in the building I live in....Its also home to 7 other Hagwon schools(competition)....Kids all day everyday!!!

One of my Favorite Classes Fall Term 2011

One of my Students Dressed in her Hanbok @ School

Monday, January 9, 2012

Seoul Searching.......My story of finding 이가영 Soul pt. 2

Story Continues....

So my Social worker from ESWS has been in contact with my birth mother and had tried to convince her to meet me while I was here in Korea...She was angry at first and didnt want to meet. I believe the feelings and emotions she was going thru were that she was not prepared to face reality. At first this hurt me, but I had to come to and understanding with myself of how it would be if I were in her shoes. And Im sure this was all very sudden and not expected for my birth mother. So I continued to pray for the best that one day she would come around.

On October 31,2011 I received an email from my social worker at Eastern that my birth mother had contacted her back and had come to the conclusion that she would like to meet me while I was here in Korea!! It has been three months since last contact between my birth mother and my social worker and am still anxiously waiting for her to decide on a date when she would like to meet. Patience is on my side. So to say the least the first three months of me being in Korea has been an emotional roller coaster. Now the waiting period....sooooo

During the past months of waiting I have been staying very busy with work and living the life here in Korea. I have successfully filed and obtained my F4 visa which is for Overseas Adopted Koreans which makes me now a Kyopo (교포)= Korean person who was born and had Korean citizenship but raised abroad. This will give me more rights to work here in Korea as a Foreign Korean Resident.

Other than that Im continuously trying to better myself here in Korea...I am a work in progress!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Seoul Searching.......My story of finding 이가영 Soul pt. 1

As you all know I moved out to South Korea at the end of August 2011. My mission coming her was to work as an English Teacher for CDI (Chungdahm Institute). But I also believed that God directed my path and led me to find this job specifically in Korea. The last time I was in Korea was May 1985, I was 17 months old. I have no memory of Korea, the Language and of my birth family. So on my journey to Korea I made it a priority to do some "Seoul Searching". On May 10th 1985 I believe my soul was left in Korea, I dont believe that my soul died but I did always feel that apart of who I was, was missing. Being a mixed, biracial adoptee, growing up in Colorado with a very unique family was difficult at times. I have two brothers and one sister that were also adopted from Korea. I always wanted to know about my background, where I came from and who I was. A lot of info was simply papers in a file with the words "unknown".

So about a month after arriving in Korea and getting settled into work, I started my search. The search was prompted due to the fact that I needed specific paperwork for a F4 Visa and that I had to get from my Orphanage ESWS (Eastern Social Welfare Society). After a few emails back and forth with the social worker there I got some good news and bad news. The good news was at one point back in 2005 she had contact with my birth mother. The bad news was that the contact info was out dated and she could not be reached. So she continued to try and contact the Korean Government to find her.

On Wednesday Oct 12,2011 I went to the ESWS office in Seoul to have a mtg and file review with my social worker. As soon as the mtg started she shared with me some good news...that the Korean Government contacted her back with my birth mothers info. She is currently married to a Korean man and has two children. She was hesitant to call because when she did the husband picked up and it can be a sticky situation when you try to regain contact with them. She only wanted to speak to my birth mother so she hung up and attempted to contact her via telegram.


BREAKING NEWS!!! South Korea on HIGH ALERT!!!!!

As everyone knows that Kim Jong Il has died. The news yesterday morning/all day was swarming the TV and internet with the latest on North Korea and Kim Jong Il's death. They are worried about the safety of South Korea, China and Japan. There are no threats but its the unknown that they are preparing for. As for me I haven't noticed any change here in South Korea. And if anyone is concerned which I assume no one is because I got no calls, I am fine, safe and going about my daily life! Praying for the Koreans....

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Let's Learn Our Numbers (숫자) !!!

There are two sets of numbers in Korea, the native Korean and the Sino-Korean Numbers. Sino-Korean numbers are borrowed from Chinese. Generally speaking, for expression involving dates, money, foreign loanwords, minutes, seconds and counting beyond 99 Sino-Korean numbers are used otherwise its the native Korean numbers.

You might be wondering why some numbers are skipped in both numeral systems, this is because there are certain patterns to achieve the numbers in between.

In Native Korean, to express let say 11 it’s 열하나 (yolhana) so the formula is 10(열)+1(하나). This is the reason why after the number 10 only numbers in multiples of 10 are provided up to 90. So you have to memorize at least 18 numbers in Native Korean.

While in Sino-Korean, to express let say 32 it’s 삼십이 (sam-ship-i) so the formula is 3(삼) X 10 (십) + 2 (이). There are few numbers to memorize in Sino-Korean, with just 13 numbers to you can go up to a million already.

Monday, December 12, 2011

스팸 (SPAM)

I broke the monotony....and tried SPAM for the first time ever!! It was ok...had to get pass that it looked and smelled like dog food coming out of the can....and was really salty! But had it with eggs rice and siracha....NOT BAD....but definitely NOT BACON!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Let's Learn Korean Together!!

Let's start with the basic...I will add a few words each week so everyone can learn together!!

Hello 안녕하세요 (Annyong haseyo)

Goodbye 안녕히 가세요 (Annyonghi kasayo)

Hello on the phone 여보세요 (Yoboseyo)

Yes 네 (Ne)

No 아니요 (Aniyo)

Thank You 감사합니다 (Kamsahamnida)