Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April 28th and 29th

The lesson so far this week has gone really well. Most students are having enough time to finish their fauve portraits, and I'm having plenty of time to introduce them to ceramics. It is very lucky that the classes are so long!! A lot of the drawings are looking really great as well!! A lot are looking not so great, though.  On both of these dates (the 28th and the 29th), I had sixth grade groups that did not want to cooperate.  They were hard to keep on task, wanted to fight, and just be loud in general.  In one of the sixth grade classes, I had a group of boys that ruined their own drawings by scribbling on them, and writing words all over them (words that I couldn't read).  Not to mention the fact that they were destroying the oil pastels in the process.  Over all, though, this week had gone very smoothly.  The art teacher gave me a really nice calligraphy mat, as well as three different calligraphy brushes as a gift.  I really love them, and I hope she knows how genuinely thankful I am for how she is so patient in trying to communicate with me and helping me with the students and everything else. She is a very sweet lady.  Also, today, the principal came in to observe one of my classes. He also brought his camera and took pictures of me teaching.  Luckily when he was in the classroom, the students remained respectful, attentive, and under control.  

Calligraphy set: 

Homestay mom made bibimbap last night!!  I was told that this is a very hard process, and that if she made it for me, that means she really loves me :)) it was delicious, of course 

Some photos of how the fauve portraits are coming along:

They're so sweet :))

They were using a soccer ball to play basketball :))

Monday, April 28, 2014

April 27th

This was my first day teaching my second lesson here. I had the students finish their fauve portrait projects from last week, and then spent the second half of each block introducing ceramics.  It went well, i think.  Professor Ahn has been kind enough to add translations into my power points, which makes teaching so much easier. This way, mrs. Lee (the art teacher) can help me out with the students.  
She and I have been having a lot of difficulty communicating. Google translate is no help at all.
After class I went to the English department. I observed another ESL class, and then observed/ helped with and after school art class. It was very interesting!! 

Weekend #2

My last day of teaching my first lesson went well!! Things definitely got much smoother as the week progressed.

Friday night I met a friend from Hanyang summer school two years ago. It was her birthday, so I met her around station Namyeong where she lives.  She had a get together for her birthday. It was a lot of fun, and I was really glad to see her and meet some new friends. 

Saturday night my host mother's brother, sister inlaw and niece came to visit. We went to eat at a popular Korean BBQ  resteraunt. It was amazing. We then came back to the apartment and just spent time together talking and playing games.

Sunday, I met a friend that I met Friday night and one of his friends at Gangnam station.  We went to a really nice Italian resteraunt for lunch/ dinner, and then had smoothies. It was a really great time.  I am glad I have met such wonderful people here and made such awesome memories.

Korean bbq

Host mother's niece 

Italian/ Korean fusion food

Thursday, April 24, 2014

April 24th

So today was okay I think. No police showed up... I also didn't destroy any technology. So I think that counts as a success.  I had one fourth grade class, and one fifth grade class. Everything went fine. 

After classes were over, I went to the English department. I am getting to know the teachers, and I really like everyone. I helped grade a few tests and things like that.

After school, I visited the area around hanyang and wangsimni station. It was very nostalgic and actually pretty sad. I met some amazing people and made some awesome friends from all over the world during the summer of 2012 during the Hanyang international summer school program.  Some pictures: 

The building where some of my friends stayed during the Hanyang summer school program in 2012.

This mural was in the process of being painted the last time I was in Seoul:

The international party was held at this bar in 2012:

This tiny, sketchy alley always smelled reay weird... And it still does!! 


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Second and third days teaching at Kyunghee Elementary

April 22, 2014
So there have been a few speed bumps in the road this week.   I was told to go to the administrative office in the mornings to get the keys to the art room so that I could unlock the door and let myself in.  I got the keys, but I could not figure out how to disable the alarm system (the buttons were in Korean).  As I was struggling, a Korean English teacher happened to be walking by as I was struggling and offered to help.  She could not figure the system out either, so she opted to open the door even though the alarm was not disabled.  The alarm went off, but we eventually figured out how to turn it off.  I thought everything was fine, but a few minutes later, some police looking people showed up in what looked like kevlar vests.  I was so embarrassed.  So that happened, but I guess it wasn't that big of a deal.  Also, I could not get my powerpoint with Korean translations to come up.  I eventually got that worked out as well.  Professor Ahn observed part of my first class (fourth grade), so naturally, that class turned out to be a train wreck.  I think so, anyways.  I was just really shaken up from the things that had happened earlier that morning.  The rest of the day went fine, though.

April 23, 2014
I got into the room today without alerting the Korean National Guard today, so that was really good.  I did, however, give my mentor teacher's computer three computer viruses that were apparently on my jump drive.  Once my jump drive was plugged into the computer, some crazy screen came up saying scary things like "press F8", "physical memory dump", and "crash".  Awesome.  She got it all worked out through a phone call, but it scared me and made me feel awful.  We are trying to get materials ready and plan for a ceramics lesson next week...but the language barrier is making things really complicated.  Google translate is not really helping... I guess that English and Korean are so different, it is hard to translate things literally and still retain the original meaning.
I had two classes today... one group of sixth graders, and one group of fourth.  I think they went fine... now that Professor Ahn added Korean translations into my powerpoint.  This allows me to teach in English, and then Mrs. Lee reiterates in Korean.  This method obviously seems to be working a lot better than me just trudging through in only English.
After my classes, I observed Ms. Choe and Ms. Ahn (English teachers) facilitating an English listening midterm to their Earth level (the lowest english level) students.  It was really interesting.  All of the students so far seem to like me, and are excited to see a foreign stranger in their school.

Side note:
students at this school are grouped by their English proficiency.  The levels are:
Earth- the lowest level
Wind- second lowest level
Water- second highest level (my host brother is at this level)
Fire- the highest English proficiency

Monday, April 21, 2014

First day teaching (third day at Kyunghee)

Today was my first day actually teaching at Kyunghee Elementary.
It went pretty well overall, I think.  I had two fifth grade classes, and that was all.  The classes are really long, though.  Maybe an hour and 20 minutes each? The language barrier is a little more difficult than I had originally expected. Most students speak some English... But it is hard to teach completely foreign concepts in English to them.

The lesson was over fauvism, the fauvist use of color, and facial proportion/ portrait drawing.  I began the lesson with a PowerPoint.  I don't think the students really got a lot out of it, though.  I then showed two step by step demonstrations on how to draw a face with correct proportions, and how to properly use oil pastels.  Some did an awesome job... And some, not so much. Very similar ranges to the children in America, actually.  

Weekend pictures

Host bro and Lucky "boxing"

Korean ice cream cone. He's adorable :))


Bingsu and quince tea

The chop my family made for me



Drawing lesson

Weekend #1

This past weekend was really nice :))
Friday night, Professor Ahn picked me up at the apartment, and took me to meet her husband at a Chinese/ Korean fusion restaurant.  I was happy to meet her husband, he was very nice and very intelligent.  Professor Ahn has been very helpful during my time here so far.

Saturday morning I woke up around 8:00
My host brother and his mother woe up shortly after.  She cooked a big breakfast (like every morning) and we hung out and relaxed around the apartment for a little while.
around 11 we took a Taxi to Insadong.  Insadong is a part of the city that is really popular to foreigners.  We walked around and looked at all of the shops and some art galleries.  We ate a really delicious Korean meal at a small restaurant.  Shortly after lunch, we ate Bingsu (shaved ice with sweet red bean paste) and traditional Korean Quince tea.  
My host mother was nice enough to have my own chop made for me in a small shop.  She is always doing really sweet things like that for me to make me feel welcome and at home.  I am very grateful that I got placed with such an awesome family.  

Sunday morning, i met professor Ahn and her husband at Hoegi station, and they took me to church for  Easter service. Professor Ahn and I ate brunch at a Korean restaurant while her husband went to get his mother for the church service.  We ate bean sprout and rice soup, and a Korean style potato pancake.  As usual with Korean food, it was very delicious.  Once brunch was finished, we went to the English church service.  The service itself was very different than what I am used to, but I am still thankful that I was invited to go.  
After church, Professor Ahn dropped me off near Hongdae station.  I wandered around by myself for a while until I found a spot on the street that had wifi, which I used to contact a friend that I had not seen since the Hanyang Summer program almost two years ago.  I got very, VERY lost... but we eventually met near the station and had coffee and talked together.  It was a very nice day. I was very happy to see her again.  After our reunion, I took the subway back to Hoegi station, and the bus back to the apartment.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Bubble tea outing

Host mom :))

Bubble tea :))

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Second day at kyunghee elementary

It was another great day!! (Mostly)
My mentor teacher and I found a rudimentary way to communicate. We used google translate all day.  It isn't always the best... But way better than nothing.  We also determined that I would begin teaching this coming Monday.  I will be teaching a lesson that I taught at Auburn in Logan County, KY.  It is about fauvism and facial proportions (fauve portraits).  I will be teaching fourth, fifth, and sixth grades... Which I beleive is all of the classes.  It should be interesting.  
Today my host brother Minseong was in the fourth grade class.  In this class, one boy punched another boy in the face. The boy that was punched bled and cried a lot. 
Other than that... It was a good day!! Can't wait to see what happens this weekend!! 

Art room building 

Art room (inside)

Some pictures of campus:

The school:

My desk: 

Some photos

I My host brother (in the yellow) and some of his friends 

My room

The living room 

The principal of Kyunghee, the art teacher, host brother, and myself. 

First Day at Kyunghee

Today was also great!
I woke up, showered and got ready, ate a delicious breakfast that Minseong's mother made, and then took the school bus with him to the school.  Once at the school, I met with the Principal, Minseong, Professor Ahn, and Mrs. Lee (the art teacher).  I then went to observe two classes in the art room. She gave me two Korean art text books, which was very generous of her.  I was very grateful.  I was surprised to see how the students behaved.  I had a preconceived notion that they were going to be much more disciplined and much quieter than the students in America.  This was not the case... they were actually very similar!  I definitely liked them a lot. They were very interested in me. Once these classes were complete, it was linch time.  I ate Bulgogi in the Teacher's cafeteria with one of the ESL teachers.  After lunch, I observed a class with another ESL teacher from New York.  I really enjoyed seeing how he interacted so easily with the students in a funny way.  Overall, it was a great first day, and I can not wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Okay, sorry it's been a while since I made a post.  The internet connection has not been reliable. experience so far has been great!  Before we left Dallas airport, a small problem was found with our plane. It was fixed, though, then we were on our way.  It delayed us by about 45 minutes, though.  As far as 14.5 hour flights go, though, it was a pretty good one. They even served bibimbap!  I had a whole row (one of the small ones by a window) all to I had plenty of room to stretch and get up if I needed to.  Upon arrival to Incheon... I went through customs, claimed my baggage, got Korean currency from the ATM, bought a bus ticket, called professor Ahn, and took my bus to the Cheyonyangni (spelling?) station.  The bus ride was about two hours, but Professor Ahn was waiting there for me.  She took me in her car to meet my host family.  I was very nervous.  They are extremely sweet.  I was so happy to see them.  I was greeted eagerly by Minseong (my host brother), two of his friends, his mother, one of his friend's mothers, and his helper.  We went out to eat at a fancy steak restaurant.  I think they were trying to make me feel at home by eating at a place that served American food.  That was very kind of them.  Once we got back... I was about to die of exhaustion, so we went to bed.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dallas airport

Just got to the airport in Dallas. This airport is huge and a little confusing... I had to take some kind of skylink train thing to get to my gate. I'm here though... And ready to get this next (really long) flight over with and begin my next adventure in Seoul. I wish that the TWS wasn't hanging over my head like a dark cloud of failure... But such is life!!