I want to hold your Hand

Standard

Today was the final lesson for 5-1.   I can’t believe that the end of the school year is fast approaching which means my first year here is almost finished!

With the the end of the year almost here (including Christmas) I think an assesment of each class and myself would be a good thing to do.

I’ve learned a lot teaching this past year-I’ve learned that some students need you to hold their hand through it all.

5-1 :

This was a class at the beginning of the year I wasn’t sure was going to make it.

The students level as a whole was incredibly low.  Because of this there was a total lack of participation and lack of caring.

They didn’t care about English or me and it was so disheartening that my co and I decided that we would have to rework the entire lesson just for them.

I had decided to implement this lesson, but the day of, 5-1 suddenly decided to perk up, raise their hands, and actually enjoy  the lesson.

I was stunned. I had no idea what happened but I was wary. It wasn’t probably until the third class in a row that I realized this was to stay.

5-1 quickly became a class that I no longer dreaded.  The students really started to respond well to me as well.  Whereas once they weren’t interested in interacting with me, they had questions, and wanted to talk to me.

The thing that I was really amazed was they at least were trying.  Even if their English was poor, they asked their friend or did their best to try to to get their point across.

Somehow 5-1 went from being  a class that I had to call on to a class that now is so talkitive.

I think because they are akin to a child that has come out of it’s shell, I make allowences for them that I don’t for other classes.

It might seem like favoritism but I how far they’ve come.

That being said, I don’t scold them when they decide to use the “f” word on each other, or tell them they are being too loud.

But I know how far they’ve come.  They might not understand it but they’ve taught me so much and I feel so proud of them.

In some ways, they were probably the class that taught me most.

I really wish that their 6th grade English teacher will take the time to understand them next year.

5-9

I don’t know where to begin. Originally, they were a class I really liked.  Sure they were rambunctious but they were smart.

I don’t know exactly when it happened but about 2 months ago or so, the problems became extremely noticeable.

I always though my co teacher was being too harsh on them.  Sure my one student had ADHD and was often distracted but he was smart.

I then learned that their homeroom teacher was completely unable to control them.

Then the fighting began, then not doing their work at all.

It was so frustrating to me because half of the class that wanted to learn is very bright and wiling.  But they were punished along side their classmates.

Then the VP got involved.

It didn’t seem to help.

Then their homeroom seats changed completely and all the troublemakers sat next to each other in the back.

Then certain students started showing up 10 minutes late as if nothing was the matter.

I’ve never been more frustrated with a class-even 5-1 at the beginning of the year.

Then during the time that my co was unable to teach her class due to our other co worker dying that day I offered to teach her class.

The good half was very good, but the bad half was disgusting to me.

I won’t go into detail but I had to kick one student out of the room. It became clear they had no respect for me.

As much as a vengeful person as I can be I know they are students and children.  So I let me co deal with it. And deal with it she did.

Though the corporal punishment is outlawed, that didn’t stop her from having the half that treated me like shit do 50 of some sort of arm motion in the office while I taught the rest of them.

It was kind of nice, teaching the children that actually came to class on time and cared about learning.

At the end of class they were lectured and when my co asked me if I had anything I wanted to say I thought about it,

 

No amount of yelling or screaming or threatening will make them want to learn. I gave them a lot of chances and some of these kids will face the reality of how harsh the world is when they become middle schoolers. But for now I simply told them that I can’t force them to learn.  They are old enough to know to do the work without me needing to hold their hand.

If they didn’t want to do the work then they didn’t have to.  Granted they might not learn and get a poor grade on their test but it was up to them.As long as they were quiet in my classroom.

But if they wanted to make noise and say bad words and disrupt those who wanted to learn then they would be told to leave my classroom.

I don’t know how well it translated and I don’t know how effective it was.

Today was the best they have been in a while.  I wasn’t standing over them making them do their work and if it wasn’t completed when they were called on, they simply lost points for their coupon book.

I don’t think at that age they have the capacity to see how this kind of attitude will negatively impact their lives.  I didn’t. But I also didn’t openly mock my teacher and flip them off. So while I understand they are children, they are about to enter the sixth grade and where most children should have at least basic manners, some of these children are clearly lacking them.

Some I think need to get professional help like the one extremely disruptive ADHD student. I tried to be patient with him and let him do his own thing but when he became a hinderence to others, it became a problem and he was sent to the see the VP.

Next year the classes will be changed and the students will have new classmates.  I’m interested to see if some of these disruptive students will be policed by some of my other students and so on.

While in some classes, certain students have taken charge to police the class, this class, the students who are interested in learning I think have either given up or just don’t care.

I’m just glad that today at least they were manageable and I will never have to teach them another lesson again.

Next week the rest of my classes have their final class with me and some of those I’m really looking forward to in a sad way.

As for KPOP, after hearing so much about TWICE (and finally learning that they are products of 16 JYP show that I watched once with Whitney) I decided to finally listen to their song that has taken over.

It’s catchy as hell. It’s been on replay.  I also looked up the lyrics as well and surprisingly they are actually easy to sing a long to. The pacing and flow and words work really well for someone like me who is trying to get better at reading at a faster pace.

I think it’s a great debut song and the MV while a little creepy (I hate zombies) isn’t bad.  The only thing I really dislike is the part in the dance where they jump..I just think it’s an awkward thing.

Everyone says that the rest of the EP is horrible which is sad .

Anyway, give it a listen!

As for a song I’ve been anticipating for quite a while now, EXO released their winter comeback single last night at midnight.

I’m pretty new to the EXO fandom so I didn’t go through the heartbreak of Kris, Tao and Luhan.I arrived to Korea right as EXO’s promotion of Call Me Baby started and I remember walking through the record store with Whitney as the new album was released.  And then the Tao news broke.

I admit, while I love how simple and chill and stripped down this song is, the MV left me really confused.  I mean yes, the whale and Sehun as an astronaut is confusing on it’s own. But Chanyeol fighting Suho, and then members disappearing from the basketball court, bar, and DO’s car. Not to mention Kai’s mental breakdown in his hotel room.

But then I read a theory: all the crap that’s happened with the three members leaving and the drama surrounding them has probably been really hard on them but they’ve struggled through.  That maybe these are internal feelings of lonliness, isolation, losing friends and anger they had felt.  In the MV it opens with Sehun just floating in space and everyone happy.  But one by one they dissappear and the members that are left are angry/sad and then Kai starts destroying the hotel room.

Then there’s Chanyeol and Suho beating the crap out of each other, but still Chanyeol wants Suho to stay before Suho disappears.

In the end, the members start slowly coming back and they are together again and happy.  And Sehun finds a whale …which is the part that still has me all sorts of confused.

The MV itself is pretty simple but I guess after reading all these EXO-L s theories…it becomes extremely sad and bittersweet. I guess what I take away is that the happiness they used to have destroyed them when the members left or went off to do their own things but now that they are back together, they can be okay again.

While Miracles in December is this huge production-the MV and the sound with the orchestra and the vocals, this by comparison is so simple it’s almost laughable. But I think it shows their maturity.  They are able to pull it off were as some other groups might not have the vocal talent to do so.

I’m no going to deny the fact it’s nice to hear DO’s voice really clearly and that he was given more lines than Love Me Right.

But have a listen. While it might not be a “christmas” song it’s got that winter feeling to it.  And we will have their second title track to wait for as well. I’m hoping for a more Christmas sound or maybe a non despressing theme as seems to be EXO’s christmas  single trend.

Whitney also told me that Jellyfish announced their Christmas single to be coming out On the 15th at midnight!  Just what I need-more VIXX in my life.  Speaking of VIXX- Leo’s hair is now short and brown…..I’m probably alone in this thought but I love it short and while I wish it was black, the brown is still better than blonde.

But more on VIXX when Jelly Christmas is realesed.  For now, enjoy EXO’s Sing for You and if you need a pick me up after the sadness, give TWICE’s OOH-AHH 하게 a listen.

Can’t Say

Standard

Now that things are finally settling down a bit I’m going to try to get into the habit of at least posting once  a week again.

Today’s title is from VIXX’s Japenese single-which was also recorded in Korean and put on their latest album. If you can’t guess….today is going to be major VIXX themed. If you don’t like…bye bye.

I’m down to just 1 more lesson (2 for some classes) and then I can let the kids watch a movie.

Luckily I was told that I can reuse some of the summer camp themes because the students will be completely different…but I also had to come up with 5 more topics.

Because of MERS camp was moved to a 7 day period where I only taught for 80 mintues  per grade level.  But this time I am going to be teaching 2 80 minute segemetns instead for 2 weeks.  I will be dying to sleep on that plane.

 

This past weekend was actually just what I needed. As previously mentioned, I had to deal with a death in the office, attending my first korean funeral, trying to fight not getting sick (here’s a spoiler, I lose) and getting ready for the end of the semester/finishing my winter camp plans.

 

I woke up Saturday tired and much sicker but I was able to pull my (sick) self out of bed and go to Seoul. Whitney and I both were wanting to go to the VIXX exhibit and there was no way I was passing that up.

I was able to sleep on the bus….until I realized just like Air Con in summer, Koreans don’t understand that you don’t have to keep the system on the whole time.  I started to sweat about an 1 into the ride.  As my friends know I’m not someone who complains about heat much.

It didn’t help that we got stuck in major traffic due the the city hall protests. I was so thankful to get the hell off of the bus.

From there it was an easy subway ride to the exhibit. Anyone looking to go (I was told it ends sometime mid January??? I don’t know but hurry and go!) it’s at the Gangnam Tourist center which is located directly outside of exit 6 at the Apgujeong Stop (not rodeo) .

 

We wound up taking much longer but I should have expected that.  e immedietly got distracted upon entering. There is a large standup of all of them covered in sticky notes.  So we decided to do our own sticky note.  However between us not knowing what to write and talking like we hadn’t seen each other since the last coming of Christ, we took about 15 minutes just to make two sticky notes.  Sad.

 

After that the exhibit was on the second floor with a few pictures and 1 display on the way leading up.

It had the Voodoo Suits, the “cane”, different size voodoo dolls.  Both Whitney and I were shocked by how much bigger Leo’s suit was than everyone else’s-especially in the shoulder area.

After we managed to tear outselves away from that…we stumbled upon a group of starlights staring at the big screen that was showing all their MV in order and other behind the scenes videos.  Though the actual area isn’t huge, it was really nice.  There weren’t so many people that it was bothersome or that you couldn’t get pictures of what you wanted.

The main display area had the white version of the “On and On” navy suits, Vixx TV microphones, individual memebers things, pictures, slogans, the new bracelet (which mine came on friday!!!), and a lot more that my brain is now remembering. There will be pictures below.

There was also a lot of cute poloroids on the walls.

The piano from VIXX LR was there and signed and you could totally sit on it. Whitney said she had to touch where Ravi touched. Yeah. 🙂

There was also the stand ups that you could take a picture with which of course we had to do  Luckily real VIXX is taller because Whitney wound up being the same height as Hongbin and taller than N…which I don’t think is true.

EXO previously had been there and they had their handprints on the wall .

After tearing ourselves away we went in search of jellyfish entertainment. However we came from a different way than the instructions and wound up walking in the opposite direction.

Eventually we found it. It is so close to the main road that when you look down the street you see the giant Chained Up Poster.  It’s really close to the Apgujeong Station (I’m not sure which exit -sorry!) but I remember there is an Innisfree near the outside…and it’s not as far away as some maps say it is.

We went home on the bus and then had this really intense flavored honey garlic chicken from BBQ Chicken and then of course we wanted Baskin Robbins afterwards.

 

We exchanged our gifts. I got her the Suho paper toy pillow she wanted and then printed out the Ravi user guide.  But the highlight of course was my wonderfully written story that involved her many “horse faced” suitors. It’s one of those “how drunk  were you when you wrote this” kind of story. But I think it was pulizter work myself.

 

She gave me a ton of 2PM stuff, photocards from BAP and TEEN TOP fan meets and events, new mugs ( I sadly recently broke two mugs including the Leo mug….not happy) and the Beautiful Liar Leo poster she had had but didn’t want. So all in all it was a good gift exchange.

 

We then somehow wound up watching EXO’s first and second box (well parts of it).  She’s not a real big EXO fan outside of listening to their music, knowing 3 members and seeing them in concert.  But now she told me she thinks she can name at least a few more by name and face.

 

She had her BTS exhibition the next day and I wound up meeting my two friends here in Pyeongtaek where we  ate Indian and had “productive day” Sadly I was distracting and didn’t want to do any work and wound up budgeting for my next two paychecks which sucks because I am going to have to send the majority of that money back to the USA to pay of credit card bills.

 

With only a few more weeks left of actual school, and then winter camp, I should have more time to up date.

This coming weekend won’t be to exciting luckily so I can completely get rid of this cold but the following weekend is major Christmas shopping time and THe Nutcracker ballet as well.

I might start a twelve day Christmas song countdown to keep myself committed to blogging but that wouldn’t be starting until the 14th of December…so an entire week. It would be a mix of winter themed songs, religious songs (not pushing christianity on anyone here! I just happen to like these songs) KPOP christmas songs…and others.

 

As for today’s post I think that’s about it.

12295296_10205415324322456_3490853688918192199_n

11215104_10205415382603913_4852347754127161588_n

Voodoo Doll display

11219371_10205415385643989_3399257972299908741_n

The cane they stabbed each other with.

11222298_10205415346883020_3980612291926230771_n

Cute Polaroids ….sadly Ravi at the bottom got the glare

11223485_10205415336242754_7289068817239642175_n

N from Eternity and Leo from…his single with Lyn (I think)

12289587_10205415390964122_4778174684461082112_n

More Voodoo Doll Display

12348101_10205415350843119_3791913188360424314_n

Ken’s suit

12348030_10205415334682715_6506226888200674966_n

Display

12347870_10205415353483185_6016434050418701690_n

12346519_10205415413764692_7678549198760572121_n

Handsome Leo… or the man without a shirt as my mom called him

12345590_10205415342282905_316724971574109842_n

I wanted N’s earmuffs so badly!

12345451_10205415375483735_5372738394133010440_n

Leo’s illegible signature

12342806_10205415394644214_2827209595307682277_n

Outside Jellyfish Entertainment

12341629_10205415407404533_1363320436653179010_n

N looking so fly in that hat

12341019_10205415397724291_5869403361651965357_n

It’s always bothered me that Jellyfish logo is in fact …a goldfish…but it houses so many great artists…can’t complain

12316486_10205415344642964_1524926808603040721_n

Wound up a little blurry because it was so high up and i’m not by survey standards an average height for a woman

12316276_10205415340322856_7020348812767387751_n

I wanted those mugs…especially after breaking Leo mug

12314118_10205415374403708_4987139574127378159_n

Ravi’s loopy signature

12314071_10205415355323231_4627754206831888352_n

The infamous piano..

12311119_10205415372563662_8798294565386442635_n

VIXX TV microphones….dying of laughter at the Leo TV that clearly never happened

12310597_10205415357123276_28066784768453765_n

EXO Love! Kyungsoo!

12289674_10205415362363407_1407873425775632888_n

More EXO love because…how cute does DO look here

12308751_10205415410764617_177437058983703245_n

Ken!!

12308374_10205415380203853_8017434417519827937_n

Voodoo Doll Display

12291206_10205415348563062_7565578509557627543_o

Why so cute Ken?

12308301_10205415337962797_1255225106614489431_n

Last year’s seasons greetings calendar …and I just ordered my 2016 so excited!

 

Let It Be

Standard

I’ve been meaning to post but with what has been going on the past few weeks (more specifically the past few hours) I have not had the time to do so.

I meant to do a Thanksgiving post as well and list what I’m thankful for here as I did not want to spam my facebook friends.

  1. I am thankful for my job. Yes this week has been difficult with students completely disrespecting me but I am lucky to have this job.  I am even more thankful they want me to resign with them as well.  That means 12 extra vacation days, 100,000 won raise (which isn’t much) but at 2,000,000 won singing bonus.
  2. I am thankful for the friends I have made here.  At first it was really difficult but after being sent to the GIFLE training, I made some pretty good friends and I will be sad to see some of them leave. Meeting Korean friends has also helped improve my Korean.
  3. I am thankful for being able to establish better relationships with people here.  Even though I met Emily and Whitney in the USA, I’ve definietly been able to connect better with them here and form stronger friendships.  I’m especially grateful to Emily for not only basically saving me from a complete mental breakdown when I first arrived, but still inviting me over and allowing me to celebrate the holidays with her and her goof of a husband Rob.
  4. I am thankful for my friends who I don’t see. Even though Savannah and I are only a sea apart due to China’s strict laws and her strange hours, we don’t actually talk often. And Treasure is a nurse so her hours are also very strange.  But then the three of us manage to have some time together it’s as nothing changed.
  5. I am thankful for VIXX and KPOP. It might seem silly and petty but as I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, KPOP kind of got me where I am today.  Coming to Korea seemed like an unattainable goal but it is now a reality.  And during one of the most trying months of my life VIXX came in and gave me something to be positive and excited about.
  6. But I am most thankful for my family.  Both of my parents (as seen in previous blogs) made the trip over to Korea this past summer.  It was one of the best weeks I’ve ever had.  We did so much together, and had a lot of fun.  After talking with a few other friends, it’s seems not everyone’s parents are as supportive or happy as mine are that I’m in Korea.  So I’m thankful that they support me and are proud that I’m here. And of course I’m thankful for the Logan! It’s hard being away from him and only seeing him through a computer screen.

As for my students well…

Like with my insane workload, the new co teacher is the reason. I really like her a lot, and we’ve become good friends. But because she was thrown into this mess towards the end of the term with no clue how anything works, she’s had to play catch up and I”vve had to pick up the slack.  It’s become exhausting for me, working twice as hard on lesson plans.

This also is right at the time I should be planning my winter camp. But I was just informed that instead of only 5 subjects I need 10 subjects for winter camp…..10.   I don’t think even  college student would have 10 subjects in one term.

Now once again I have to scramble.  I’ve come up with Harry Potter American Camp which sounds strange but I think it will work.

Sadly all of this is nothing when compared to the trajedy that has happened.

My co worker-not my co teacher but an English teacher who works in the same office as me-someone whom I have known for my entire time here-passed away yesterday.  She had been battling (openly in our office) severe depression since this past summer.  There was an incident with her husband that really shocked her into this depression.

She cried almost everyday, and became very sickly.  Because I was told nothing other than “she is sick” I thought cancer or something.  I didn’t know the extent of what was happening so I did what I could to help but because I lacked the knowledge, I couldn’t do much

When I found out she was battling depression, I told her to come visit me in America or go some place warm like Guam.  To just go abroad and try to get away from the pain at her home.

So when she didn’t come into school yesterday morning, my co teacher tried to call her but there was no answer.  Then we were told she was in the hospital and finally that she had passed away.

 

Korean funerals are very strange for a person with a Western mind. In America, usually there is a funeral service a few days to a week later.  Everyone comes to the service and then goes to the gravesite. Sometimes there is a viewing beforehand.  We go back to  the house and make food for the person grieving so they don’t have to make it themselves.

In Korea, the day of and the next day, we have to go to a funeral home…but it’s a little different.  It’s a place where all the people who died that day or the day before go.  The person who passed is on a large printed picture surrounded by flowers and candles in a room where their family is and has to recieve everyone who visits.  Two full bows and a half bow to the portrait and then one full bow and a half bow to the loved ones. Then go into the hall next door to eat.

My co worker says we stay so the person won’t be lonely.  But I found it to be disrespectful to be eating  food paid for by the loved ones while the loved ones are still in the next room recieving the bows.

I guess I would think that the loved ones would not want to see all these people and have to bow to them.  They are already sad and tired and shocked.  But what was worse was making the children stay in the room with the picture of their now dead mother.  They were wailing and crying and I felt they should be allowed to grieve in private.

But I guess that is a difference.  In America privacy is respectful and respected whereas here everyone is in everyone elses business and it’s normal.

I paid 50,000 won to her husband (as custom) and then sat in the food hall.  It still doesn’t feel real.  There were many stories going around about why or how she died but I didn’t want to be apart of it.  In Korea, mental illness is still seen as negative and if she had deicded to take her own life, the family would feel shame. So their was a story to cover it.

But in my opinion there is no shame.  Yes she might have been too weak to stay on Earth, but it is not a shameful thing.  It is a way to spread awareness to this country that depression is real, and shouldn’t be tucked away from prying eyes.  Getting help for it should be encouraged and if the person couldn’t stand it any longer, there is no shame-they battled against something for so long that they couldn’t win.

Because my one coworker was so close and had been working with her, she has been especially hurt and sad.  She was unconsoalable yesterday and today is very quiet and sad.  My new co teacher was extremely sad and crying as well.  And when my male co teacher came in yesterday he was crying as well.

Because I don’t cry easily or often, I felt I had to be strong for the others and take care of things. So I covered my one co teachers class which leads us to the disrespectful students.

 

This is the nightmare class. Half of them are good. Half of them are extremely bad. Rude. Disrespectful. Obnoxious kids.

I had three bad words, a bunch of sarcasm, and even a middle finger.

Their usual punishment has lost it’s effect because of how often they have to do it.

I’ve read various things-time outs : I kicked one student of the room which helped mildly. Wait for silence- I’d be waiting all class and then get no where. Ignore it-how can I teach if I ignore them?

What I did was I took things away that they were distracted by and did not give them back. Made them stay late into their break time to finish the punishment.  And tomorrow when we have class, there will be a new punishment. Writing lines doesn’t seen to work. Moving desks doesn’t seem to work. So I will have to think of a new consequence.  It’s a shame that half of the kids want to learn and are eager, but they are not a class that will police itself.

Some classes, like my 5-3 class and 5-7 class will police themselves.  But the good kids in 5-9 don’t even seem to care about their classmates anymore.

With the semester being over so soon, I just want to get through the lesson, but I will not tolerate disrespect and bad words.

I saw some people said to call parents.  In the USA, I would send them to principal’s office. But here in Korea, if the VP gets invovled (which she already has) it’s serious. There is no parent teacher conference, there is no suspension, there is no phone call or note home to parents.  It seems like schools here are still at the beck and call of parents.  Public schools are no different than private schools in the USA.

People always say, oh your children must be so well behaved.

Let’s see.  Parents now adays had extremely strict parents growing up.  So they felt trapped, like they were living with only rules. So now they have children of their own.  And they let them run around like crazy people.

Korea is changing so fast. Years ago, it might be normal to give up your seat for an old person.  Nowadays that is no longer the case.  I saw an old man on the subway smack some boys with his cane so they would make room for him.Yes, it might be good that the eldery realize they no longer own the universe, but there still has to be some respect there (not even going to mention the lack of people who get up for pregnant women or women with babies).

Just like how children used to be seen not heard, now children can run around and not have any manners because “once they go to middle school they have to study hard for the next 8-10 years or so”. But I think this is not a good way to teach children.  It’s just like a classroom.  If you don’t give any rules and consequences at the start and them when they go out of line and you punish them, it’s unfair to them.

Children need to learn how to behave.  They don’t need to be in line all the time, and it’s ok if they act out every once in a while, but for children to have no respect for anything but their cell phone is getting out of control.  Korea will end up having nothing but rude children who grow into even ruder adults.

The Korean school system is flawed in many ways but this is just one of them.

 

Also I’m in the process of getting sick so I’m trying to battle it.  I’ve been taking medicine to help prevent and allow me a good night sleep.  But it’s made me drowsy and sleepy so I’ve been going to bed early.I’m trying to stay at least borderline healthy for my students and now my co teachers so they won’t worry about it.