And then there were 5 ….

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Can’t believe there are only 5 more days of this 13day of Halloween Song challenge!

Today will also be an update as well because it’s Thursday and due to another school event (the amount in this month alone is staggering) I have no class.

Lesson Plans:

So with the Halloween holiday coming up, I wanted to do something special for my kids. I remember as a student, anytime there was a holiday, school schedules were a little different. It was exciting and fun and the best time.

But Halloween isn’t really a thing in Korea (like it is apparently in Japan). The students know the general idea-costumes and candy. But that’s about it. There’s no special event or anything (which makes sense) but I always was told that I’m not only introducing English to them but also to bring a little American culture as well.

So I decided last year to do some things that I remember loving as a student myself.

Now sadly there aren’t really costumes and I doubt the school would be happy if I asked the students to dress up next Monday.

So I decided to purchase some cheap things from the local store.

The first activity is called “Candy Guessing Game”

And to celebrate the holiday in class, I bought a clear glass jar, filled it with peanut M&M’s (I hate regular M&M’s and I will be eating them afterwards 🙂 I counted them as I put them into the jar. Then I have the students line up, look at the jar and guess how many candies are in the jar.

Now in my youth, the winner usually kept the jar of candies, but due to the fact I have 8 classes and Peanut M&M’ s aren’t cheap here, I bought chocolate bars for the winners. If you have smaller classes or find cheaper candy, then you can give the winner the jar of candy. I used Peanut M&M’s because of their color, size and the fact I want to eat them afterwards. I’m a little selfish.

I suggest though if you have multiple classes you wait until all classes have done the activity. If you announce the winner, students from other classes will ask what the winning number is and eventually all the kids will know the winning number. It sucks especially if some of your classes are on different lessons (trust me I know) but unless you want to put them in a different jar and redo it, it’s just better to wait until all of your classes have guessed.

The next activity is a Halloween word search to be done while waiting for their turn to guess the candy. Korean students really love word searches for some reason. It’s really easy to find these online. I chose a medium level one so the smarter kids have something to keep them busy for a while, and the lower level students can work with partners.

The final activity is showing a little bit of “Nightmare before Christmas”. Kids here love slightly bizarre things and animation-so I assumed they would love this. It’s a different type of animation than they are used to and as we all know Tim Burton is into some weird shit. I would suggest if you don’t have this than try Corpse Bride maybe….Corline apparently has a weird scene that involves some…kind of animation nudity  or something and showing that to kids without parent supervision might be considered bad taste.

Music:

Since there are only 5 more days left I chose Beast/B2st “Shadow”. This is one of my all time favorite KPOP songs though it’s less popular than their infamous “Fiction”. It’s maybe not as “themey” as other videos, but it’s definitely creepy…..especially the end.

It’s also appropriate I chose this for the 5th spot if a little sad.

Though not entirely surprising, Hyunseung left the group earlier this year.  He’s always been a little bit quieter and 4D but I felt like after his dad died he really changed a lot. I thought he was getting better the past year or so but with all the “scandals” he’s been involved, and his own solo album, it really felt like he didn’t want to be part of the group anymore. I think the saddest thing is that the members revealed they don’t speak anymore.

So now there are only 5 members.

To me this was a group that was way more talented than some of the bigger groups out there-because every single one of them had a talent. And while as individual members they were great, together they were perfect. They always sounded like the swallowed a CD. Their performances were always on point. There really was no fault with this group.

And then CUBE really ran them into the ground. No promotion, nothing. And they weren’t the only group to feel this in CUBE.

So I was relieved to see them leave. I’m grateful to CUBE for giving them the second chance they all deserved but it’s time for them to make their own label.

 

Aside for the typical post about music, I also went to the Lotte Duty Free Family Concert last Saturday. It was a first come first serve type of thing so I didn’t really want to wait too long because I would be far away anyway. Didn’t really matter because the seats didn’t fill up as much as I thought. I was pretty close to the field, though still far away. Luckily I was alone so finding 1 seat open is much easier.

Bad news, my EXO lightstick batteries died. Good news…I was surrounded by EXO-L’s.

I always forget how crazy EXO-L’s go at any event EXO is at. I mean this in the best way possible.

Other than EXO, TWICE, NCT (both units minus Dream), EXID, G Friend (the place was really quiet during their performance…I’m not a huge fan because I think all their songs sound the same, but I felt bad for them), Mamamoo (who were SOOOOOOOO amazing-the past few times I’ve seen them they looked super tired but they were all on fire and the place was SOOOOOO loud for them)….I think that’s it. There weren’t many groups but they each did at least 5 songs so it was really nice.

Also there weren’t any idiot hosts and filming so it went super smooth. It was nice seeing Lay do his song, but sad that EXO only did 4 songs. Though they finished with “Lucky” which is one of my favorite songs of theirs so it was okay.

 

Travel:

So I’m hoping finally this weekend, I can get to hiking in Goyang. My weekends have been so busy and I haven’t had time -plus it rained last weekend. I was invitied to go hiking with some of the teachers at my school last week but they didn’t tell me until I had been at school for a few hours already…and had no way to change before they left (I don’t understand how they thought that I would be able to go with no warning-like a day in advance would have been nice).

I really wanted to go hiking in the fall for the colors, but it’s been on and off rainy this fall (wow rainy season is finally here!)

So I’m hoping, weather barring (and physically -I started a new workout regime) I can make it to the mountains this Saturday and see some great fall colors, enjoy the crisp air, visit the town, and get a great hike in.

 

 

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This is (almost) Halloween!

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Today is the third day of my 13 days of Halloween Song challenge.

After getting started with the amazing Michael Jackson and then venturing into the KPOP world, today is something that haunted my childhood.

As an English teacher in Korea my kids are oddly excited about Halloween. So I try to make things a little exciting for them.

I remember as a student anything that was holiday, or out of the ordinary always made me very happy.

So I decided to make a candy guess and various other things that I will talk about during next week’s actual post.

But I wanted to mention it because I chose to use “This is Halloween” from Nightmare Before Christmas as an opening video.

Kids here really love slightly weird/creepy/animation things. So naturally they would love this. Some of them were a little irked by it. Even though the movie is rated PG it still is a slightly grotesque movie at times.

When I was growing up this was a very popular movie when it came out an has been ever since. It was my first taste of “Tim Burton” . But I wasn’t actually allowed to really watch it. It was “contraband”. My mom said it was too scary (and too this day it still is according to her). Oddly enough sex and horror were things I wasn’t really allowed to watch growing up but action and violence were okay which is probably the reason why I can handle that genre of movie well.

To this day I’m still easily freaked out by scary/horror movies. Thrillers are one thing but I do have a limit that is pretty low for a 26 (YIKES ALMOST 27) year old.My students love zombies and don’t understand why their teacher is afraid of zombies.

Haunted Houses, corn mazes, Haunted Forest….anything along those lines are extremely painful for me. I mean in a Tao crying. Baekhyun drooling, Kyungsoo running, Luhan screaming kind of way (Hint: watch EXO Showtime when they go into the haunted house…it’s a riot).

But I do love Halloween-to me it represents a little bit of creepiness with some good kid fun and all things autumn is known for-apple cider, cool nights, crisp apples, pumpkin flavored everything, candy, scented candles etc.

But living in Korea really deprives me of all of that. So now Halloween is just a thing that I use to get my kids excited so they don’ t realize they will be in school non stop until New Years.

Now I did find subtitles for this for any English teacher looking for them “크리스마스 악몽” (Literally Christmas Nightmare) and I have it posted below. The song in English is hard enough to understand at times and I noticed the kids this year with the subtitles were more into it than last year. If you are looking for the entire movie you might want to check your school’s library which is where I found mine, or on Gmarket for about 13,000 -just be aware it will need to be Region 3 (Asia)

I feel Witty, oh so witty

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Today marks first day of my second annual 13 Days of Halloween Song Countdown!

As mentioned prior, last year was a KPOP only theme but this year I decided to add in some other varieties as well.

I will also be updating my usual once a week update today as well.

So to begin…Lesson planning:

So apart from teaching bratty hormonal teenagers 8 times a week, I also teach hyper, daycare as well.

For the better part of almost 2 years I didn’t know how to teach them. I had no plan, no co teacher and worst of all an inconsistent class (some kids go and come day to day).

So there is no real way to make it a formal class -and I’m supposed to “teach” them for an hour.

Well quickly I learned that worksheets only kept them busy if I implicated a sticker system.

After much stress, annoyance and frustration on my part I finally hit a wall-I asked around but no one really had any answers because none of them had my problems.

So I decided to end up using a project I used during summer vacation.

I altered it for 1st and 2nd graders. Instead of 6 new words and 5 phrases I just used 6 new vocabulary words, a review of 8 (they have to look back at the previous worksheets or do it from memory). They listen to me and write it once in Korean and twice in English.

Then we watch the movie-because they are so young I am afraid they can’t read fast enough or well enough so I put the sound on in Korean and the subtitles on in English. After we watch about 10-12 minutes of the movie we go back of the words .

Like I said it’s not much but  the kids have really become much more manageable, and they never want me to turn the movie off.

Some of them even have become great with remembering the vocab words.

I decided to use Mulan as the starter movie-it  has music, action, comedy and it’s “asian”. They kids (especially the boys) weren’t really happy about it but now they are obsessed with it.I used Tangled and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (I would advise against this because of all the food puns-they don’t translate well) but you can use almost any movie.

It teaches the kids some new words, you get them writing in English (something that is very important because parents apparently only want to see their kids writing in English-it’s not as important if they can’t read or speak it I guess) and then you get to keep them quiet for about 10 minutes. All in all…a win for everyone.

Music Review:

Today I will be using this slot for my first day of 13 Day Halloween Song countdown.

What better way than to start it off with “Thriller”.

Such an iconic song and Music Video and it fits perfectly with the theme.

Now this was way before my time so I didn’t really understand why this was such a big deal-the dance- the music video never looked overly impressive to me. But when I got older and realized it was a pioneer of sorts in that regard, I understood that it was really the first time anyone had done that.

Nowadays (especially in Western Music) the idea of a MV has really gone down. I think that’s why people enjoy KPOP-the quality and sets and costumes are just done like no other. It’s something you don’t get when you listen to One Direction.

Travel:

Sadly despite getting paid I have not been able to travel-this weekend was mostly spent in a 7 hour rehearsal and then being lazy on Sunday.

However this upcoming Saturday I am finally going to the Lotte Family Concert in Jamsil (AKA I get to see Mamamoo and EXO!!!!!!!!! Can you guess I’m excited?)

But the following week I finally have some time and the means to go to Goyang. I’ve been wanting to go hiking for a while and especially now that the leaves are starting to turn colors (this sadly did not happen in Seoraksan because it was still very warm at the time I went).

I also wanted to get a feel for the area up there as I plan on trying to find a job there this coming March.

So that’s it-a short post but nothing too exciting has been happening lately. Tomrrow I will update with the second day of my 13 days of Halloween countdown.

You can call me Monster (teacher)

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Ok so I am still attempting to update at least once a week if only for my only sanity.

This week was …interesting to say the least.

Today I will discussing: lesson plans (specifically dealing with discipline) new music reviews, and because due to funds and time I haven’t been traveling -so I’m actually going to talk about my plans for upcoming Halloween.

Lesson Plans:

Next week when it is in fact closer to Halloween I will talk about fitting that into my lesson plans. But this week’s theme both here on this blog and in my classroom was discipline.

In my school you get two types of teachers-the kind that has their kids well behaved and keeps them in line-and the kind that lets them walk all over.

I teach with one of each.

My one Co is very good at keeping kids in line, sometimes too much that it dampens the kids spirits but they do learn and pay attention well.

Then there is my other Co. Some of our classes are good enough they can take care of themselves without me needing someone to help keep them focused.

Then there are my other classes who are in strong need of something. This week their home room teachers have been mentioned how bad they are.

My 5-4 class is a class I try to get out of the way on Monday. Originally this was a great class but due to one weird trouble maker ( I say this in the fact that he is actually a very quiet student but he teases the other kids so much – I just never hea it because he says it under his breath all the time) they have become a fighting  and loud mess. So to my despair, I wanted to die when their home room teacher said I would teach them again the next day (I don’t know why -we didn’t need to make up a class-I think she just wanted a break from them-according to my Co their homeroom teacher doesn’t like them).

My other 2 loud classes are somewhat similar to 5-4 in nature but each class has their own personalities.

But the question is how do you deal with disruptive classes with a Co who doesn’t realize children need limits and discipline-and when scolding them for being rude maybe not do it with a smile or laughing or making a joke?

The answer? Gotta put your foot down.

I warned my 5-4 class two days in a row-many warnings-and they still acted out -so for two days in a row they stayed late (ran into lunch time) and copied lines.

Most people would say  “use a point system” -we do but these days the kids aren’t as motivated by points as they used to-if  a student is constantly told he loses a point he won’t care anymore and makes a joke of it (it happens). Not to mention that my Co’s only want to have the students cash in the points 4 times during the whole year. So the lure of points and candies kind of fades for them.

I would like to make it more often but My strict Co is very set in her ways as well.

So what can I do?

For me I found the answer was time. I give them 3 warnings -if they get 3 warnings as a class they stay 10 minutes past the end of class. Yes I don’t like wasting my time but if it enforces the kind of behavior that they should have as 5th (almost 6th graders) than that’s all that matters.

Another issue is that my students are told what they need : folder, book, notebook and pencil pouch.

Most students bring these.

But in my classes with my lax Co , many students don’t bring their notebook or didn’t even buy one.

We use it a lot for warm ups. And I’ve asked them many times to bring it -some haven’t even bought them.

I’ve been asking since March. It’s October-they will be 6th graders next march and after that middle schoolers-they need to start taking responsibility -they aren’t 4th graders anymore.

And because as mentioned above, individual points don’t seem to matter, I’ve made the bold choice to take points away from the class a a whole. If one student doesn’t have his notebook the WHOLE class loses a point. If two students don’t have their notebooks the whole class loses 2 points. And so on-today my 5-5 class had 4 students who didn’t bring their books.

It might seem harsh ( my Co openly said “it’s not my decision it’s hers) but I am not going to supply these kids with paper every class because they don’t have an English notebook (like my Co does-this teaches them they never have to bring a notebook which is what happened).

I even told the class “if you can’t buy for a reason please see me after class”. I understand some kids might not be able to afford one and I don’t mind supplying one -the school bought many for me.

In Korea the lack of responsibility is something the WHOLE country top to bottom suffers from. But not in my classroom. Yes I am “only teaching them English” but I am also hoping they learn something else from my class-maybe how to behave or treat others …or learn to try something new…something that is beyond books.

With children I get why they do it “it’s not my fault it’s his”type of thing is common. But they are kids-adults should not be acting like this. It sets a bad example. So I try to teach my kids to be responsible for their actions.

Fighting is a common thing lately (great) but yesterday in my 5-1 class I had a girl and boy fighting. Normally I would let my Co deal with it but all she said was “stop crying” and to the boy “say sorry” which …literally all he said was “sorry.”

But maybe because I was tired of all the fighting or whatever, I had the two of them stay after class, explain to me what happened (hitting and calling one a name) write 2 sentences of an apology in Korean, read it to the other, and then give it to the other.

I didn’t want to coddle them but I didn’t want to just yell at them. I wanted them to actually apologize, know what they are apologizing for and face the other.

I don’t know if they worked or anything but it was better than just letting them walk off mad and crying.

Discpline is something that is so hard for foreign teachers. We are seen as a joke a lot. Many times students don’t believe we go through with our discpline and are shocked when we do. Many students treat out class like a joke (all classes not taught by their home room teacher-music as well) and will act in a way they would never in their home room teacher.

And I understand it’s a different class- a lighter class (they aren’t graded….) and I don’t mind joking or talking about silly things or even being loud in certain times, but when the students cross over into disrespectful territory and bratty behavior…then you have to check them back into line…otherwise you end up like my Co who couldn’t control her open class.

 

New Music:

Since I could talk about music all day and night I will just pick 2 songs (new or new to ME or just old goodies that aren’t popular etc) that I really enjoy.

And I will pick 1 new song I don’t really care for. This isn’t mean to offend anyone -this is just my personal blog.

So to start I would like to pick : Park Hyo Shin (박효신)

He is solo singer (not sure if he is considered a ballad singer or not) with the company Jellyfish and I first heard about him because VIXX (also with Jellyfish) has a member who is a major fanboy of his.

And with all the disappointing KPOP released lately I wanted to try something new. So I decided to look up his stuff. This is the single off his new album (I think it’s called I am Dreamer but i’m not sure) and it’s such a beautiful song. It’s called “Breath”.

*Side rant*

One thing that drives me nuts is when people say “I don’t understand what he’s saying” or “I would like it better if I knew what he was saying”.

1. google lyrics.  this is the generation of electronics right? and you can’t even work a simple google search?

2. pop songs (not in this case but for general KPOP) lyrics are typically not that great -I love the Backstreet Boys but “I want it that way” is no lyrical masterpiece -same with many pop songs of all generations. you aren’t missing out on much.

3. KPOP to me is discriminated for things that some other music isn’t. For example- if i gave you a video of the beautiful “Ave Maria” I bet all in, your first words wouldn’t be “I would like it more if I knew what the words were”. In case you didn’t realize, the song is in Latin and I’m pretty sure people who listen to this song aren’t native Latin speakers (dead language hello!).  You just enjoy the song, not caring that you actually don’t know what the song is saying-sure you have an idea but how many out of a random group of people would be able to translate it for me?  It’s just something I wish people would be more aware of.

*end side rant*

My second pick is going to be “Tonight” by SPICA. While the MV is kind of cool (in a super aesthic kind of way?) the song is just a great fun song that makes you feel happy.

I’ve actually seen SPICA twice and both times this song really stood out to me. They are a really underrated group -maybe because they are older? Some people say their visuals aren’t great (which I think they are all very unique and pretty without looking plastic) or that their songs just aren’t hits (which I can kind of understand after listening to a lot of their music). But their vocals are insane and their harmonies are amazing. I wish they had more songs like this that showcase their talents.

 

Now onto the song I didn’t really care for (This is going to be a SUPER unpopular opinion I can already tell) is the new BTS single “Blood Sweat and Tears”.

Now while I’m not a fan of theirs, I do listen and like most of their music. I even own a few copies of their albums.

One of the big reasons I never became a super fan is sadly due to their insane fans (yes I know I am an EXO-L so I don’t really have any room to talk) but within the past year or so I’ve definetly noticed their fans behavior …as have the rest of the KPOP community.

But I want to give their music a fair opinion so I do listen and watch the MV’s and try to ignore their crazy fans.

Now I really did enjoy I Need U, Fire and some of their older songs (Run was kind of boring and after my friend told me that Save Me sounds like a Justin Bieber song…well I can’t listen to it the same way). And the concept for this single looked interesting…but ….the song for me fell really flat.

I got a bollywood/sort of caribbean feel….it just didn’t work for ME (a lot of people loved it -their fans died so as long as their fans are happy that’s great for them). Also the MV …didn’t really do anything for me-it actually reminded me of the scne in Pride and Prejudice when Lizzie is at Darcy’s house looking at all the statues.

I also wasn’t really pleased with the way the lines were divided-I thought Fire did actually a good job-but Jin had ….1 line? (was it even Jin? I’m not a big enough fan to really know their voices and we all know MV’s are the worst way to tell who is singing what ). Groups these days are doing their best to spread out lines (evenEXO’s Sehun has lines now!!!!!) so I wish BTS would do that as well. Usually it’s V who gets jipped for lines with Jin. (I know at least that much about BTS). So at least he got that little bit of the chorus. But like I said a lot of people like the song(I do like their music…just not this one-so have a listen and make your decision.

Finally as I had mentioned I have no money (think 99 $ to last me until Monday 12pm) so I clearly can’t do much. I had planned on going to hike in Goyang this weekend but due to money and the fact I have a 7 1/2 hour rehersal on Saturday…that plan has been changed until the last weekend of October (I am going to the Lotte Family Concert on the 22 EXCITED!) So I can get some exercise in, and see the fall leaves.

So I will instead focus on “Halloween”. Last year I did a KPOP 13 days of Halloween on my personal SNS. This year I do want to do something a little similar but different as well-so I think I will expand it beyond just KPOP and post it in my blog. With Halloween being the “13th” day I will begin this series of posts starting next Wedneday the 19th. While I will (fingers crossed) being updating on this everyday for those 13 days -one most days it will only be the Halloween Video because I hve work and you know how life gets in the way.

So please look forward to that .

Ok that’s it for today. Hope you enjoyed it. I will most likely be combining the First day of 13 days of Halloween with my usual post.

Have a  great weekend.

 

I’m Still Alive

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I think I just read that my last posting included Dream Concert which was in…May..it’s October.

I could use the excuse that I’ve been busy and I have been. But mostly I didn’t really like where things were going with this blog. It became a mess of things and I had some personal things to sort out as well.

I’m still very much unsure of where this is going.

I know I revamped it a bit.

I still would like to keep certain aspects but I don’t think I have the will to keep it going every day.

For now I think I will just update once a week.

I still want to keep the teaching bit, of course keep the music/concert aspect, as well as maybe adding some other thing…but at this point I’m just really unsure what I want to do. I would like to ad travel but these days (read no money in my bank account) I am doing much less traveling.

So for now I will start with what I do know I want to keep.

-lesson plan

-music/concerts

-travel

 

So the first thing will be lesson plans.

Currently I’m teaching a super super boring lesson.  But it’s probably one of the most important lessons the kids should learn.

So my problem this lesson was -How do you turn a dull lesson that is super important into something they will enjoy and be wanting to learn?

My first thought was -play the fun games they love!

Bad news…my school updated it’s systems and no longer supports micrsoft office (something about how Gyenggio-do school system having to pay a bunch of money to microsoft) so any bomb game-or any computer game basically no longer works. Pass the ball, bomb games…..it sucks because not only do I lose games kids enjoy…I have to find something new to make.

So what do I do?

I think this is one of the hardest points for teachers-especially if you aren’t really free to create a lesson plan.

I am still very much tied to the book they supply-and even I know at this point the kids have to learn exactly what the book gives them because it is what will be on te test.

I am still searching for a solution for this problem. Because of the less than exhilarating material the kids talk more, respond less, and become nightmares.

Do you just grit your teeth and hope to get through this lesson plan? Or do you work your ass off and try to come up with something that keeps them interested for at least 40mintues of the class?

I’ll let you know what I decide to do. So far it’s 0-5-my class this morning was a nightmare- we only completed about half of what we were supposed to because they insisted on talking through their classmates turn.

Music/Concerts:

This is usually my favorite part of posting.

So so much. In brief overview I got to go to EXO Planet #3! And it was amazing! So so much…I won’t spoil it for anyone who plans on going. But just prepare yourself…because damn that Artificial Love dance. Sadly Kai was injured again…

Then I have attended some festivals here and there..and the VIXX fanmeet which which was amazing. Don’t underestimate Starlights …on that one day alone I wound up with 34 fans alone…It was a long fanmeet too. Kind of spilt between fanmeet and mini concert. Due to horrible timing though, the ending of the fanmeet became extremely depressing-they were finally have their solo concert that I had been waiting for since Utopia…the same time I would be going home to America….

The amount of comebacks have been insane. Of course I lost my shit over Exact! And then lost it again over Hades! And then had really mixed feelings about Lotto-which I do very much like now sadly…but just felt it was a bit of a letdown . But EXO and VIXX promoting at the same time…it was insane.

Now there are a ton of comebacks happening now and later this month. Luckily for me my major groups are out of the way so I can relax and watch all the other kpop fans have meltdowns-I mean this in the kindest way 🙂

I’ve listened and watched SHINEE’s new single. The MV felt very 90’s-early 90’s in it’s white background and insane clothes. The song itself felt very early 90’s -New Kids on the Block. For me the 90’s were a different sound because I grew up the mid to late 90’s . Song was good and I enjoyed how good Onew looked despite his ankle..but ugh Minho’s bad hair has to go!

GOT7 new single…felt honestly like a sequel to BTS Fire. I’m not even a BTS fan really so this is my saying GOT7 copied BTS.  But the arrangement (where the rap parts were, where it slowed down for some singing, the Trap/EDM chorus feel) felt very familiar. I wasn’t really expecting this and felt a little disappointed because of how much I really liked the past two albums (prior I wasn’t a GOT7 fan at all because of Girls Girls ….I mean come on).

There are so many songs out right now ( Ailee, Monsta X, etc) that I can’t spend all my time going over what I thought about them (plus I need a few more listens on some of them). But I will end with “Dancing King” by EXO because ….how could I not?

From everyone else I’ve talked to…it felt that Dancing King is what we all wanted Lotto to be…and wasn’t. It’s a great song. Upbeat and fun and funky with a really cool sounding hook. Not to mention that D.O. gets a lot more lines than normal (for a main vocal of the groups he gets a lot less than the other two *cough Baekhyun cough*) so I was really happy they let him sing more. THe MV was really fun as well because we got to see how YJS learned all the dance moves and saw some of his performance-not to mention the adorable little dances by Lay and D.O./Xiumin!

 

Finally to end today’s much belated, still messy with no direction post…I will talk about travel.

I was lucky enough to go home for Summer break. But in Korea, two weeks after the break we have another week long break for Chuseok (korean thanksgiving). Trust me those two weeks are awful because the kids are trying to resettle into school mode and sleep schedules (which parents don’t seem to care about any time of the school year) with also the idea that they get a break in two more weeks.

Basically it’s like labor day in USA-start school the week before and then have the holiday…it would just make more sense to extend it.

Anyway moving back to Chuseok-because of my vacation home during summer break, I didn’t have as much money to go on a trip.

Plus last year was a bit of a wreck-sure Jeju was beautiful and Udo Island was the best, but the trip advisors were awful, and a lot of things never worked out. WE didn’t go horseback riding or to the lava tubes and only have a few hours on Udo. They gave us like 90 minutes to climb this crater and back down (which I was fine but some people out of shape didn’t even attempt because of the time limit). They they were supposed to provide breakfast every morning which turned out to just be a muffin and instant coffee. Not to forget, the horrendous bus ride-this is a long ass bus ride almost the full length of the country and you are going to put us in crappy buses? the 2 hour bus ride to the airpot has nicer seats.

Clearly…I wasn’t planning on using that company again so I decided to make my own trip.

Ever since..last summer I had wanted to go to Seoraksan and climb it for Chuseok. But at the time I was still pretty new and uncomfortable planning my own trip. And most companies that were planning trips were wanting to go to Jeju. I would love to go back to Jeju but I didn’t want to go again.

So I decided to make a plan and go to Sokcho.  Earlier this year Sokcho became so popular due to it’s Pokemon thing. But I had no interest in that.

I would up going with a friend to Sokcho and we met another friend while we were there. Through there were some frustrating parts here and there I mostly did exactly what I planned.

The bus ride there was much longer than I initially thought due to the fact I was traveling on the day that everyone else was as well. Rest stops were backed up onto the high way!

It took about 5 hours from Pyeongtaek to Sokcho but honestly it was a great ride. The scenary was beautiful and the seats were comfortable. I had my own seat because I had booked it in advance. We stopped at a little rest stop closer to Sokcho and it was a cute little place.

I finally made it to Sokcho. But my friend and our guesthouse was at the other bus terminal. For those of you looking to go to Sokcho there are two terminals. One is called the Express Bus Terminal or “고속 “-this is for buses that go to the bigger cities like Seoul or Inchon. The other one is the Intercity Bus Terminal “시외” bus terminal-this is for the towns like mine which aren’t as big as Busan or Seoul

 

It’s a very easy Taxi ride from one to the other. My friend and I stayed at the HJ Guesthouse. It was a little pricy because of the holiday but it was nice. It was very close to both the beach and the Express Bus Terminal. (walking distance). It was also a bigger room with a kitchenette. It was much bigger than usual for guesthouses and it had a private bathroom. Even though they advertise English Speakers, we were only able to really talk to the 1 man who was there. He was very nice and accommodating when our wifi didn’t work.

You don’t have free breakfast like normal guesthouses because it was technologically what they call a “pension”. Not sure what the difference is really other than maybe this room was usually for like a full family on vacation for a week or two.

The first evening we went to the beach-it was very strange seeing Koreans at a beach. Sure the water was quite cold, but only children went in the water. About 100 adults stood and watched on the beach. It made one very self conscious while swimming in the ocean or trying to get out of the water.

The next day we did the main reason (I at least) wanted to go to Sokcho. I looked up the night before some maps of the park and chose what I thought would be a great hiking trail. I’ve been hiking before in Suwon which is a small mountain. So I knew this would be a little more difficult.

I chose the Ulsanbawi Rock Trail because it was advertised as the most popular. I did look at the map in the park and it said “easy-medium-hard”. The first part was so easy and the second part was pretty easy/medium. So I figured the hard part wouldn’t be so bad…..wrong! The last 1KM or so is almost completely stairs and it’s all uphill. And as if the 1 KM of stairs isn’t daunting on it’s own, just imagine that some of them are metal stairs attatched to the rock AKA you are suspended only by those stairs.

It was extremely difficult the last .6 km or so and it had gotten much hotter than I thought. My friend had never been hiking before and wasn’t really wearing the best shoes or clothes for hiking-it took her much longer than I-but I will give her props for making it up that rock and back.

The hike featured a lot of nice stopping points-a temple-another temple-some great pictures and “temple water” aka delicious mountain water that saved me. But what I didn’t realize was that the map said 2 hours….I assumed this was roundtrip…no it was one way. So between my friend having to stop for a while,s struggling on those stairs and waiting for my friend at the halfway point to climb back down it took about 5 hours. It was a damn good thing we started early.  WE finished with some Mountain BiBimBap and a Seafood Pancake that was way too big for any human to eat alone.

The next day we went to the Hot Spring -Cheoksan- so we could soak and relax from the day before. It was pretty cheap, I think about 8000W, and you have access to the hot spring and bath house. The  Jimjilbang was a seperate thing.

It was my first time at a Korean bath house and it took me a good couple of mintues before I could brave myself to strip down in front of a thousand naked Korean women.

They do give you a little towel but it’s not enough to really cover anything.

Inside there are about 5 or 6 different pools and a large “bathing” section. The pools are different temps (from super hot, to medium warm to frigid cold) as well as a “neck shower” (basically water just shoots down on your body) and a jet pool. But the real treat was outside-two hot spring pools-one wooden one and one stone one. It was so cool and I couldn’t help but to wonder what it would have been like if this was winter.

After about an hour or two we got out, and went on to the Abai Village. It is supposedly what Seoul looked like in the 70’s but now is mostly known for 3 things: being a North Korean Refugee Village, Special Abai Sundae, and the filming location of a drama.

Now I did try the Sundae -literally the whole street is lined with Sundae shops- along with fried shrimp. Because Sundae is normally blood sausage I have never eaten it but this sundae is seafood. So I gave it a try-not really my thing but the broth the sundae came in (we got the soup) was delicious.

Afterwards we did the “pull boat’ which was made famous by this drama Song Hye Gyo was in (a long time ago) where you pay 200W (sooooo expensive I know) and cross this little river.  The “captain” pulls the boat along with these hooks and you are more than welcome to help. It takes like ….30 seconds…but it’s a lot of fun and puts you at the other side of the river. I will say-if you are looking to go during weekends or holidays it is a bit of a wait so make sure you are done looking at the Abai Village when you cross.

The other side puts you in a cute little area with coffee shops and gift shops and some more seafood restaraunts. It eventually puts you out across from the Fish Market. (This fish market we tried our first night but my friend doesn’t really like fish and can be a little picky so we didn’t eat there-this however is the place that EXO came during Showtime when Suho and Luhan and Chanyeol went out shopping-you can even find the Hotteok place they ate it-the line is long!)

After the Village we went back and spent some relaxing time on the beach. I guess I’m used to spending a lot of time on the beach so I know to bring a beach towel, sunscreen and a book. Your Korean guesthouse will not have a “beach towel” or even a bath towel for you to really use to lay on. I would suggest bringing your own if you can.

Afterwards my friend and I met up with our other friend went out for dinner and ice cream. It was our last night in Sokcho.

The next day we departed. I went back to the Intercity Bus Terminal. The ride back was equally as beautiful and I took a lot of pictures. We stopped at another cute rest stop that I finally managed to eat those lovely “rest stop potatoes”. Literally they are just baby potatoes cooked in butter and salt…and they are amazing.

But after about the 3rd hour I was ready to get off the bus (and pee). We managed to make it back by the time it was supposed to get back despite all the traffic.

Overall I would love to go back to Sokcho but it won’t happen probably until after the winter because it takes too long for me to get there-I would only have a few hours there.

Transportation: My friend and I didn’t really want to learn the bus system for the few days we were there and we could walk to the beach or CU if we needed. We took cabs to and from Seoraksan , Hot Spring, Fish Market, and Abai Village (as well as my own taxis to and from the other bus terminal). It wasn’t overly expensive the most being 20,000W because we got caught in Seoraksan traffic.

As for traveling to Sokcho. As I mentioned above there are 2 bus terminals. Unless you are traveling from a bigger city like Busan or Seoul, you will be at the Intercity Bus Terminal. The bigger cities are at the Express Bus Terminal. Make sure you know which is which. They are only about a 6 mintue taxi ride apart and the taxis here are always at the stations.

If you are looking to book in advance, ask your co teacher to help you. The websites are in Korean and some of it is hard to navigate. I would suggest this if you are traveling on a holiday. My bus to Sokcho was packed full….my bus back however was not.

Bring some goodies and entertainment-the bus does have a 15-30 min rest stop but you might get hungry or bored.

Food: There are a ton of restaraunts around. The city is famous for “Korean style sushi”. I love seafood but my friend is super picky about her food so we didn’t get to eat much that was local to the town.

Activities:There are just so many things to do. Sure play your Pokemon but then take your head away from your phone and enjoy. You can go hiking Seoraksan (there are so many different things you can do there) or take the cable car for 9000W (I think …maybe it’s 12,000), do the Zip Line, relax in a hot spring, eat, visit Abai Village ,fo the Teddy Bear Farm, relax at the beach…so much to do in Sokcho.

Ok I think that’s all for now. Hopefuly I will remember this for next week! And hopefully I will figure out exactly what I want to do with this blog.

As I have mentioned before i do not edit these because I’m lazy. SO I’m sure there are a ton of grammar and spelling and …whatever else mistakes.

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The EXO Concert!! Chanyeol was by my section the most 🙂

 

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So full! This was Day 5 of the 6 concerts. My new lightstick and this super cute D.O. fan!

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Top: The Temple at the bottom of the hike. I think I read this is the oldest Zen temple in Korea. (Right) A huge Buddha…duh. (Left) The start of the hike-you can see the Ulsanbawi Rock in the far far distance!

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(Top) In the middle of the horrendous final 1km (Left) some of the rock stairs (Right)…the evil suspended metal stairs from hell

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(top) the highest rock is the finish line! (bottom two) view from the halfway point -which isn’t really a halfway point but it was the rest after the “easy to medium hike” with a temple

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Top-Mountain Vegetable BiBimBap Bottom-Pajeon that would take 8 people to eat it

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View from the top. Sadly it was a cloudy day and you couldn’t see too much.

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Abai Village

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Abai Village- I don’t fancy myself a photographer…but I find that this shot looks like a professionals 🙂

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Mountain photos from the bus ride home-felt very LOTR

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This is the cable car-you have to purchase tickets in advance for it.

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the 3000W potatoes from heaven

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this is why I love Sokcho-I don’t have to choose between Mountains or Beach…literally you look to the left you see mountains and to the right you see ocean.

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The fried shrimp (delicious) and the sundae soup

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Try to swim with all of them staring at you. It was strange.

 

Show me the money (for this job of wrangling 5th graders)

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I know..I’ve neglected this blog for almost 4 weeks now but in all honesty I have some damn good excuses.

Starting with the Mozart Concert/BTS weekend-it took me a week to recover from that and I was barely able to keep up with lesson planning. All I wanted to do was sleep.

Then I got horrendously sick from some sort of nasty virus/infection thing. I was bed ridden for four days though I did at least try to come into work but was quickly told to go home and rest.  I almost went to the hospital because my fever hadn’t been getting any better and I almost started to cry in front of my 5-1 class (which is like the worst class).

After that it’s been a lot of money calucating with a ton of events, concerts, visits coming up as a I try to fudge with my budget on what I can and cannot do. It’s hard.

Trying to find a flight that is less than 2000 is a changing game. And because the website is in Korean I can only do so much without needing me co worker to help me. sadly any price I see on the weekend I can’t get because …I’m at home.

Not to mention still dealing with my classes.

Today was a low spot. My first period class didn’t feel like paying attention. Most of them spent the time looking at their desk, looking at the floor. And even when I’m giving them the answer they won’t speak louder than a whisper.

My second period class however was worse. They wouldn’t stop talking, talked over my co teacher (she’s started to become a little more strict but by strict I mean she simply tells them things in a stern voice an that’s it -no consequences) so I had to take control of the class. They were wasting time -we spent 60 of 80 minutes doing basically nothing but a few drills. They either didn’t remember or didn’t feel like reviewing last chapter.

I told them in the beginning of the year that things build upon other things…so they need to ask for my help. What drives me nuts is the students clearly can’t do it, but don’t even bother to ask for help. I can give as much as they need.

I try to remember back to when I was a student-how did I act in the class that I hated the most? (Which was Math by the way). I would have to ask for help because otherwise I would sit there, not know the answer and if I was called on, unable to answer and thus embarassed. And my teachers gave me a lot less help -really expecting me to do the majority of it on my own.

But the students just won’t ask for help. They sit there looking confused or doing nothing until I have to volunteer to come over to help. Most of them have no interest in improving either. At least last year the students that I helped made vast improvements and were quite proud of their accomplishments. This year it seems the trend is to no care. And I guess if you are getting passed and not being grading ,really why should they care? The only thing I can do is keep them after class to finish work they did not do during class. It’s become relatively effective which is good but still the same students  sit there knowing they are going to be stuck during break doing their work, instead of asking me for help. It’s Lesson 5-they know better by now. I can’t coddle them like my co teachers.

As for my blog…with all the insanity happening soon I am going to suspend the weekly schedule until I have some free time again to post reguarly.  I will do my best to post as much as I can.

Like this weekend…I have Dream Concert! I will get to see VIXX and EXO! My two favorite groups. After that there is a Suwon concert that has Astro, Up10tion Mamamoo (who is also at Dream concert-so excited to see them!) and of course EXO again. That is followed by the VIXX fan meet …and then my friend is finally coming to visit! So my June is already looking pretty packed full so hopefully that will gie me something to write about.

Also I started really getting into this season’s Show me the money 5 – rewatched all of season 4 and even stared season 3 . Some of my students seem to like the show as well-which is on at 11 pm and contains several instances of swearing. #koreanparentingatitsfinest

 

(Concerts) Here, (Concerts) There, (Concerts) Everywhere

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When 5th grader Korean male students notice your hair first thing…it can be very confusing initially. It happened consistently last year as well as this year. I really thought the girls would be the ones to say anything but it’s always the boys.

You don’t realize how much your students pay attention to you. I only see mine for class once a week (though I will see some in the hallways).

When I think back to my own school days, would I have noticed a change in teacher’s appearance? I’m not sure but I most assuredly would not have mentioned it if I had.

This shortened week has been a little difficult but not to the point of anger. Between the zombie kids, kids who lost their coupon book, the weather, the stupid humidity that suddenly showed up (and then suddenly disappeared leaving a now chilly 60 degrees) and the fact that my concert is on Friday two days felt like an entire week of work.

I’m grateful that I chose to leave for Busan tomorrow rather than try to leave tonight. Because my friend is staying with me on Friday I had to do a major cleaning. For about 3 weeks I’ve been in and out of winter/spring clothes transferring mode because the weather has been so bipolar. So I had clothes all over the apartment-that combined with the nasty yellow dust that swept in last week..my apartment looked like a group of raptors had been living in it.

I stayed up all night and 8 1/2 episodes of Downton Abbey Season 6 I was (almost) finished. And I woke up feeling like a truck had hit me.

So I will relax (with the nasty weather outside) and finish packing, and get things kind of in order for Saturday.

My weekend is going to be a lot of concerts…I just won’t be going to some of them.

My concert happens to be the same weekend that BTS is holding their latest concert. Over the span of 13 months this is the third solo concert series in Seoul. Seems a little excessive especially considering all the things they have been doing the last year.

So some of my friends will be going to that concert instead of mine on Saturday while one of my friend is going on Sunday so she will be able to make it. But hopefully we will be able to meet a little afterwards. My co teacher asked me if I’m nervous. I’m really not-I don’t get nervous for concerts because we will be performing as a group. I’m sure if I had been a soloist that would be very different. But I’m more excited than anything else. I’m glad we will be having two concerts because we worked really hard for this.

For me this was more about reconditioning my body, voice and overall skill rather than learning the piece because it’s one of those things where I don’t forget it. So as sick and tired of it as I was on Sunday and even yesterday, today I am starting to feel the sadness of it being over so soon.

For children’s day and the two days surrounding it off I have so I will head south to Busan. It’s been a long time since I was last there. And per usual it looks like ti will be raining again…like all my other trips to Busan; which is why I haven’t really seen anything of Busan other than shopping and beaches.

So that is my super fun weekend.

As for Lesson Planning

So my co2 and I have had been getting along much better once I kind of just let her “discpline” the kids (though this still doesn’t work with our rowdier classes). Though on occasion when the class is completely out of control I will step in but other than that I’m too tired of dealing with them being disrespectful and her inability to control them.

But one thing she did do that seems to be somewhat effective is make individual cards of the key phrases and vocab for the lesson. I let her review with them before hand otherwise we would be diving right into the warm up/lesson which they still wouldn’t be ready for.

She laminates each of them so they last. Then she will put them on the board in a word scramble. She will call on some of the students and ask them to make a sentence out of the words on the board. Usually the students can do it well.

The only suggestion I would make is to not pick the same students over and over as she tends to do. Also try to mix it between students with different levels of skill and participation.  For instance last chapter was all about taste. So she had cards that had the words “sweet” “salty” “too” “Do you want” “some more” and the kids would need to make the sentence.

Easy and a quick warm up to do.

So that’s it. Today’s not too exciting because I’m tired, thinking about all the stuff I have to do .

OH! And the Pyeongtaek Schools (or at least mine) have decided to follow the ban ban on the personal email that Osan put in place starting March 1. So any fellow English teachers in that general area, you will not be able to access your gmail account on the school computer or internet. I was told this was to prevent “sensative information” from being sent out which included job postings. Basically it sounds sketch as hell. We were “issued” a Korean government sanctioned email address. But 1 unless you know enough Korean to figure it out, you are screwed.

So have a good extended weekend if you are a fellow teacher in Korea!