Tuesday, November 28, 2006

interactive post

The second grade teachers want me to teach a lesson on "What's This?" in which I teach them 5 nouns (since second grade is blessedly book-and-CD-less, my "curriculum" consists of whatever I want with the occassional interference from the school--"I think next week you teach 'What's This?" or "I think tomorrow you do song").

Any suggestions for the 5 most important nouns for second grade students of English to learn?

Seriously, I'm curious.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

생일 축하합니다!

Monday was Kibeom's birthday (I gave him a soccer ball...gold to match the red one I gave Kiyeong for his). On Monday evening, Kibeom was sent to play in the bookstore while my host mom, Kiyeong, and I went to the bakery to pick out a cake. The one we chose had a bunch of fruit and a big fat cherry tomato on top (you can see it if you look at the picture really closely). We had a celebratory dinner with some family friends at the usual restaurant, to which my host dad didn't get to until around 9:30, when most of us had finished eating. All the kids and the weirdo foreign teacher got sent home and the adults stayed in the restaurant to drink beer and keep my host dad company. They didn't end up getting home until past one o'clock, and poor Kibeom didn't get to have his birthday cake. Can you believe that? When my host mom talked to me about it the next morning she thought it was hysterical that they had "forgotten." I know birthdays aren't really a big deal in Korea, but they are a big deal to my little host brothers (when we finally DID do the cake thing on Tuesday night, we lit candles, turned off all the lights in the apartment--even the TV!--sang, and shot off little poppers) and even though Kibeom was really good about it, I could tell he was sad.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Another way that I celebrated Thanksgiving this year was by running (on the 12th) in the first annual Gongju Thanksgiving Turkey trot (known to everybody but Lauren and me as the "Paekche Marathon." Don't be fooled by the word marathon...Koreans seem to call every road race a marathon. The race was actually three: a 5k, 10k, and half marathon, and Lauren and I took part in the 5k race). Registration for the race was online...in Korean...so naturally, we couldn't pull it off without assistance. Lauren's host mom registered her, but my host mom couldn't figure out what I wanted and my host teacher flat out said no when I asked her for assistance. I decided to just show up on race day and see if I could register then. I was a bit nervous about the running part, since I hadn't been running that long and I knew Lauren was in really great shape...but a road race in my own city in Korea was impossible to pass up. I got to the track just in time to see the day's first balloon releasing. Hundreds of metallic pink balloons were tossed into the sky as runners and (a few) spectators cheered. As is usual for a Korean sporting event, the parking lot and every corner of the stadium was devoted exclusively to food. A group of men with gray (meaning half marathon) numbers enthusiastically took pre-race shots of soju and a mixed group of men and women sat down to a pre-race meal of seafood noodle soup. Very few people warmed up. I tried to find somewhere to register, going first to a tent that said 5k on the top. "Hello, I don't have a number," I informed a girl in the tent (in Korean). "Why?" she asked. Having no language to deal with that question, I shrugged helplessly and said "Give me a number" (in the polite form...so it wasn't as rude as it looks in translation), which made her scamper off to find someone who "speaky Engrishy." She returned with the object of her search, a young man who bowed to me and said, very quickly "Hello, hi, how are you? Fine thank you and you? Bery muchee. Nice to meet you. Okay, goodbye," and then looked at me expectantly. I repeated my Korean request for a number and was led to a new tent, where a young women tried to get me to search for my name on the list of registered entries. I started explaining that I wasn't going to be on the list, but she told me that if I hadn't registered there was no signing up on race day. At this point I really wanted a number...so I decided to have play up the lost in translation factor and pretend I didn't know what she had said. I found Lauren's name on the list and alternately said the Korean word "together" and the English word "please" and sort of hopped up and down and looked at her beseechingly. She explained to me that because of insurance, she really couldn't let me register. Lauren arrived and joined me in my pleading. She was getting flustered but really didn't look like she was going to change her mind, and we almost gave up. Luckily, at this moment her boss came up, asked what was going on, and said "ehh, it's just the 5k, let her run but [KoreanKoreanKorean]." She pulled out a pen and a piece of scrap paper and started jabbering at me and gesturing with the pen. Somehow I understood that this had something to do with the whole insurance thing and she wanted me to sign away my right to sue or something. I wrote on the paper "I Cara Chebuske waive all right to sue," signed it, and wrote my phone number. Then she wrote my name, and phone number on a race number and demanded my blood type. I have no idea what my blood type is, but Lauren suggested A and I went with it. My blood type also went on the number...perhaps in case I needed an emergency blood transfusion. Fortunately, we didn't have to cross that bridge. At this point, Lauren and I were both feeling excited about our victory and ready to run. Before we could do that though, there was a hoochie dance show, a marching band performance, and a group stretching and aerobics exercise for all race entrants. Then all the runners lined up along the track. To start each race, there was a balloon releasing and a fireworks display instead of a gun (The half marathon fireworks were the sparkling, scattering kind and the 10 and 5k fireworks were rainbow colored and smoky). There was also an announcer from a TV station who instructed everyone lined up for the race to give the person in front of them a shoulder massage. While the massages were going on, he spotted the two wayguks (foreigners) in the crowd and asked us something in Korean. All the runners standing near us pulled back, so we were alone in a little ring, looking awkwardly at the announcer dude and waving dumbly. The race itself was really fun. The weather was perfect and the Korean runners were really slow. Lauren and I ran along together and talked, and I discovered that I was in better shape than I thought. We actually ended up winning the race for women...or possibly coming in second and third, although they passed over us when they called people to the podium. We also gave each other high fives as we crossed the finish line, an act that was caught on camera and shown on TV for my host family to watch and delight over. After the race, much like at American road races where they usually give the runners a banana, a bagel, gatorade, and possibly a powerbar, we were given a bag of food when we finished. Inside the bag was a pastry, a Chocopie (chocolate covered marshmellow and stale cake), a banana, and a carton of milk--half-and-half tasting, warm Korean milk. wtf? Although since I drank mine, I guess I shouldn't make fun of it.
Lauren sent me a link to a website with other road races in Korea, so hopefully I will get a chance to have more road racing adventures.

Added Nov. 27: pictures Lauren found of us in the Dong-a Ilbo, Korea's largest and sassiest newspaper and sponsor of the race. The only part of the caption I can read is "foreigners."

happy thanksgiving!

I spent this past weekend in Seoul, celebrating Thanksgiving with the rest of the ETA program. My plan was to leave directly after school on Friday to meet up with Katie, Melinda, and Jenny for dinner...but of course, my host mom had other ideas. "Teacher, picture?" she asked me as I was (clearly) rushing out the door, jabbing me with a big sheet of sketch paper and a schoolbus-shaped eraser. This woman feeds me twice a day and does all my laundry, so I really don't feel comfortable refusing her anything if I can possibly help it. Plus, I figured she would probably want me to draw the usual picture or two of some small animal and I could be on my way in a few minutes. Wrong. This time she wanted an extremely complicated perspective drawing of a many-tiered pagoda, a project that took me forever. This of course put me in rush hour traffic, so my 30 minute trip to the bus station took an hour and my 1.5 hour bus ride to Seoul took 3. In Seoul, I stayed with Katie, Jenny, and Melinda at a fairly nice (nice = clean and relatively porn-free. There's a reason Fulbright told us to lie to our host families when we stay in yeogwan--Korean for motel) motel called the Emerald, in an empty room (except for the TV) that had just enough room for our two yos and the explosion of our stuff. We stayed in and talked and watched English-language television (awesomely, My Super Sweet Sixteen), and then started off the next day bright and early with breakfast at Dunkin Donuts...I had an amazing chocolate muffin that was all baked and fluffy and chocolatey. We spent the rest of the morning/early afternoon shopping and wandering around. Katie and Melinda had spent all of Friday (their schools let them off) shopping, so they very efficiently led the rest of us around to the places with the best prices. During our wanderings we stumbled accross a village made entirely out of Jeju tangerines (they are called Jeju tangerines but the fruits my host mom gives me when she says that are definitely clementines). There was a tangerine house, road, little stone man (a symbol of Jeju Island, where the tangerines come from), and even tangerine pigs and a horse. This was all just randomly in between some giant office buildings. We then came across a parade/changing of the guard reenactment, where we ran into a few other ETAs. After watching the little performance, we made our way to the ambassador's residence for Thanksgiving dinner. The ambassador to South Korea gets to live in this beautiful hanok (traditional Korean house...pictured at the top left of this post) that is itself definitely worth being an ambassador. After speeches from the Fulbright and KAEC

(Korean-American Education Commission) directors and from Ambassador Vershbow and his wife, we sat down to an incredible meal of mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, vegetables, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, turkey, ham, and delicious pie. I couldn't quite decide whether to go for the turkey or not--but the carver man decided for me by plunking a giant piece of dark meat onto the middle of my plate (I had everything on the plate touching as little as was humanely possible, given the size of the plate and massive quantity of food on it, but the turkey sent everything over the edge into chaos). I'm glad he did though, because the turkey was good! I thought it would just be like chicken, but it was actually pretty preem. Overall, the pumpkin pie was my favorite, and I had several slices...surreptitiously unbuttoning my skirt to make room for them all. Dinner was supposed to end at 4:30...but I don't think they managed to kick us all out until closer to 6. From there, I went with several friends to Namdaemun market, where I bought some (spenz) sock tights to help me survive my frigid school, helped Janaki pick out glasses frames, and marveled at some of the stranger items (like crazy Christmas shops and some of the wackier Korean fashions). We then went out for dancing and street food with a big group of ETAs. It was really great to hang out in a big group of giddy Americans...and for once we didn't have a giant mess about pooling our money to pay for things. On Sunday, I met up with a few ETAs from my old language class (Rohit, Rachel, and Steve) to take our language teacher out to lunch. [when Rohit sends it to me, I will post a picture of the 5 us together and you can see how cute and sylish she is] It was really, really fun to see and talk to her and we ate really good Korean food (kalguksu, which is a noodle and dumpling soup, and patbingsu). After eating American Thanksgiving food, it was good to have a reminder that I love Korean food, too...a reminder I probably wouldn't have gotten from going home to Taewoo Apatu and eating cow foot soup.
All in all it was an excellent weekend, and even though it wasn't even close to Mom's mashed potatoes, stuffing, or pie and there was no family football, it was good to get to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

center for caring education

Yesterday was the testing day for Korea's national college entrance exam...the biggest day of a Korean's student life. The Korean educational system brings teaching to the test to a whole new level...almost everything they do in school--starting in elementary--is geared towards the exam in some way. Korean high school third years (seniors) spend an entire year exclusively preparing for it (all the high school ETAs don't get to teach their school's third year students, since ETA conversational English is not relevent to the exam), staying at school and hagwon (private academies) until well past midnight (as opposed to the carefree first and second years, who often go home as early as 10 pm).

Everything in Korea is affected by the exam on testing day. All government institutions (including Gongju Gyodong Chodeung Hakkyo, which started at 10 am) and many private businesses either close for the day or open late so as to lessen traffic while the test takers are on their way to testing sites. I'm serious...we missed almost 2 class periods so that high school third years could have smooth roads and empty buses. My host brothers still left the apartment at 7:30, however, in order to join the throngs of cheering, banner-waving fans that gather outside testing sites to cheer for entering third years. On top of that, to protect the students' concentration Korean airspace is a no-fly zone during the listening portion of the exam.

Scary...especially when I think about the ways in which the American NCLB, accountability-driven education system is rapidly heading in this same direction.
One of the biggest adjustments I've had to make here has just been accepting that when something strange happens, I will not understand what's going on or why. For example, last night my host father slept in the closet. I have no idea why he did this. It could not possibly have been comfortable. His usual sleeping space (the living room floor) was unoccupied, and my host mom had spread out his usual sleeping arrangement for him. He didn't even drink last night. This morning, as my host mom and I were eating breakfast, I pointed at the closet door (behind which, my host dad's heavy snoring was clearly audible) and asked, in Korean, "why there?" She just laughed at me and gave me a shove for trying to speak Korean.
This happens all the time. At school, instead of even attempting to explain things to me, most people grab me by the arm or shoulders and steer me over to where they want me to go. I either figure out what's going on as it starts to happen, or else I just float through cluelessly, trying not to make too much of a fool of myself. On Tuesday, I was led in this manner into the freezing cold auditorium, where all the 5th and 6th grade boys were chanting and doing something that looked kind of like ritualized threshing with fake farm tools made of braided rope as the 5th and 6th grade womenfolk (students and teachers) stood to the side and chanted something else (I'm sorry if that sentence didn't make sense. The scene in the auditorium didn't make sense either).
I was put in a corner with two older teachers and given a very lengthy, wordless demo (with a test at the end!) on how to clap my hands together. I then watched threshing and clapped for an hour and half. When I tried for an explanation of this random event, I was rewarded with shrugs and several cups of instant coffee.

Monday, November 13, 2006

koppee shyop-eh gayo!

These pictures are from a coffee shop called Mysore (and sometimes Misore...they don't seem to have gotten their spelling down quite yet) where we are determined to become regulars. The coffee is very decorative but not at all instant and the shop is warm and cozy with wonderful big couches (couches are something to get excited about for ETAs who lead furniture-less existences). Best of all, with every two cups of coffee that you order, you get a free piece of cake...and the cake is actually good!

I've never really been a coffee drinker...before coming to Korea I probably could have counted the number of times I'd had coffee on my fingers and toes. I've always enjoyed coffee (I even like the sugary instant stuff my Korean fam and school is always forcing on me--I just don't think it's a sufficient replacement for information. and it gets a little overwhelming several times a day), I just never really drank it. However, the coffee shop in Korea is not really about the coffee, at least for me. Ordering anything in a coffee shop gives you license to stay as long as you like...and then you are safe and happy in a cozy little haven, free from coteachers and sixth graders and host moms.

happy pepero day!

Saturday November 11th is 빼빼로 대이 (Pepero Day). Since my school had that Saturday off, we celebrated this wonderful holiday on Friday the 10th. Pepero, or Pocky as it's called in China and (I think) Japan, are plain sticklike cookies that have been dipped in chocolate. They come in other flavors like almond (little almond bits in the chocolate), strawberry/coffee/vanilla (flavored white chocolate instead of plain chocolate), and double chocolate (chocolate cookie dipped in dark chocolate). The ostensible reason for Pepero Day is that all the 1s in the date 11/11 look just like little sticks of Pepero...a fact that is clearly reason enough to spend tons of money on fancily packaged Pepero to give to your loved one (Korea seems to be chock full of Valentines Day-like holidays). The week or so before the holiday, stationery stores across Korea fill with giant displays of pepero in their super cunnin' little boxes. At Gongju Gyodong Chodeung Hakkyo, Pepero Day is a Huge Deal. My students talked about it all week long, with groups of 4th and 5th grade girls hanging out in my music room and spending entire periods making lists of pepero recipients. I was kind of excited to join in the fun...although reluctant to spend hundreds of dollars on pepero and clueless about what to buy. I settled on buying a bunch of individually wrapped sticks of large, strawberry pepero...which turned out to be perfect. I gave them out during my classes and randomly to students throughout the day (I ran out before lunchtime, but fortunately was able to regift a lot of the pepero I was getting from my students), and it really gave the kids a thrill--even the too-cool 6th graders--to get pepero from the English teacher, since it's not the sort of thing a normal teacher would ever do. I could hear them talking about it in the hallways all day long. I got tons of pepero from my students too...they came piling into my room during free periods to give me pretty boxes, ran up to me in the halls with individually wrapped sticks, and slid pepero into my hands when I walked by their desks during class. It was really sweet and flattering...except that I don't particularly LIKE pepero and, despite giving lots of it away, I still ended up bringing home everything in the picture below:

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Cow foot soup is back and better than ever! This time my host mom added a whole bunch more of the cow's bones for us to suck on (to eat cow foot soup, you take a bowlful of the broth, sprinkle on some scallions and black pepper, and then add a bunch of rice. If you are lucky enough to get a foot...or with this new batch, a large bone...you get to suck on it and enjoy the resulting salty, gritty whatever). I have to admit that, despite my complaining, in the first stages of its life cycle, cow foot/bone soup makes a pretty good breakfast (now that my host mom knows I hate sucking on the bones and feet). It just tastes like hot, salty water with rice in it, which is dull but kind of comforting...and better in the morning than the usual pickled clams and spicy stew. The two biggest problems with cow foot/bone soup are that we eat it for every meal (yesterday we had it for breakfast, lunch, dinner at 6, and dinner at 9)--which gets a little boring--and that it gets kind of disgusting in the later stages of its life cycle (those of you who have read about the soup in earlier posts will remember that it is never refrigerated and takes weeks to finish...resulting in a slow transformation of color and flavor).

Here is a picture of my school (left, obv) and our apartment as seen from my school (it's a 5-10 min walk from one to the other). The dirt field is our school's lovely little playground.

Every day, in order to get to lunch I have to pass the giant line of students waiting to get in the cafeteria (teachers get to cut). The students always erupt into cheers and shouts as I pass by, screaming my name and "Hi! Hi! Hi!" as they jump, wave, and try to grab onto my hands. The second graders are particularly passionate about trying to get me to stand with them in line. They try to lure me in by asking me "How are you?" and then grabbing me when/if I stop to answer (mostly I try to keep moving). The other day, I had just had three discouraging 6th grade classes and didn't have the energy to fight the second graders off. I gave in and waited with a bunch of them as they stood in line. They all laughed hysterically when I answered that I was hungry ("She's hungry! Ha! That's real...she's really hungry because it's lunchtime!" was the part of the Korean chatter I understood) and fought each other to tell me they were very, very "hungry and great and tired and okay and cray-ji[crazy] and happy." The best part was when we parted to sit down at our respective tables, they continued to talk to each other IN ENGLISH, vying to pack on the most possible answers to "how are you" and acting out the motions I taught them to go with each one. I was so proud...they spoke English on their own! because English is fun! I really needed a moment like that after a morning with the sixth graders. I feel like I'm not accomplishing anything with them and I don't know how to fix it. Ugh.

This is a picture of two girls from my fourth grade posse. The one on the left is one of the ringleaders, always wears her hair in either two ponytails or two braids, and almost always wears some kind of ultra-matching ensemble (often a pink patterned skirt with matching jacket, tights, hat, and tie) . On this particular day (the day I got my camera lens...so Weds, Nov. 8), the two of them followed me all the way home from school in hopes of getting into our apartment (they did not). They spent most of the walk performing one of the stupid English songs I've taught the fourth graders...which was sweet but kind of made me want to scream, since to an English speaker the songs are all super-repetitive and annoying.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

korean prince 时间到了!

Last night we had the first snowfall, and since the tips of my fingernails are still orange, that can only mean one thing: true love is on its way!

Monday, November 06, 2006

adventures with bushwackin' jenny

On Sunday, Jenny, James, and I returned to Gyeryongsan to enjoy the last weekend of fall (out of 2). After buying some kimchi mandu (dumplings) and sweet red bean baozi (steamed buns) for lunch and random snacks for the trail, we walked up to the buses to see our Number 5 bus pulling out of the station. We had to run after it, flapping our arms like idiots and nearly mowing down a few Koreans who dared stand in our way. The bus stopped for us, but just like the last time, the bus driver didn't want to let us on, sure that we wouldn't be able to navigate the difficult journey to Gyeryongsan. Since between the running and the arguing, we had already thoroughly embarrassed ourselves in front of the other bus passengers, we decided to revel in our American freak status and set up a whole picnic in the back of the bus. The Koreans were not particularly impressed. When we arrived at the park, we were dismayed by the hordes of people and overflowing parking lot...but actually almost all of these people were leaving (the Korean hiking strategy is to start hiking in the morning, stopping periodically to eat several large lunches, the largest at the top of the mountain. The goal seems to be to consume more calories than are hiked out), and overall we had fewer companions along the trail than last time. Midway into our hike, James spotted a nearby cliff-like thing and got the urge to climb it...departing from the trail despite Jenny's dismayed facial expression and cute sounds of noncommital disagreement. It was really fun scrabbling through the slippery woods and up the cliffy thing...it felt kind of like playing at Great Spruce Head. The best part though, was Bushwackin' Jenny, who was not completely confident about being off the trail, but WAS completely awesome as she scrambled and slid around in the woods. We all made it safely to the top and Bushwackin' Jenny realized that she liked her new adventuresome ways. We rejoined the trail and hiked to some really pretty stone pagodas, where we ate snacks and received dire warnings from departing Korean hikers that we had no chance of reaching Gapsa (the Buddhist temple that was our destination) and had better turn back immediately. We didn't take this advice, but did set off as quickly as possible, worried at the possibility of missing the bus home. Fortunately, most of the rest of the hike was downhill and went pretty quickly. It was also really beautiful, and Jenny and James took lots of pictures. We ended our hike at Gapsa, the same temple as last time (although we hiked along a different trail the whole day). This time there were no lanterns in the courtyard, but there were loads of ripe persimmon trees along the edges of the temple grounds. After leaving the temple, we had to wait in a parking lot for a freezing hour for the bus to come...during which time we nearly gave up hope and took a spenz cab. We had planned to go out to dinner and then to see a movie in a DVD bang (a place with lots of movies and little private rooms in which to watch them. Young people apparently go to them on dates to make out), but because of the hourlong bus wait, we didn't have time (Jenny had to catch the last bus home to Cheonan). Instead we went out to dinner and then out to a nice leisurely dessert at this place (called Canmore) that serves dry toast and Cool Whip alongside all its food. Weird, but better than it sounds. Dessert was actually almost too leisurely, since James "incapable of urgency" Taggart was in charge of the timing and we had to hurry to the intercity bus station. When we got there, we saw a bus pulling out of its spot and I just had a bad feeling about it. Jenny went to buy a ticket and I jogged over to check out the bus. Sure enough it was headed to Cheonan, so once again I jumped up and down and waved my arms stupidly to get the bus driver's attention. He opened the doors and actually recognized me since I go to Cheonan so often, but was a little weirded out when I asked him to wait for a minute and dashed off, yelling for Jenny. She ran onto the bus and the day was saved.


Today has been rainy and extremely cold...it looks like the teachers weren't lying when they said fall lasts only a week here. Since the school doesn't have any heating as of yet (it doesn't have any central heating at all, and I don't know what, if any, heating we will be getting eventually. If I am to survive, there better be SOMETHING), today was semi-miserable. Stupidly, I took my coat off to go to my first class of the day, assuming that there would be some sort of heat in the classrooms. Frigid wind blew through the wide open windows in the hallways, making me want to cry as I walked to class 3-2. Instead of the warm haven I was expecting, I was greeted by red-nosed students wearing coats and mittens. One little girl even had a pink fleece blanket wrapped around her shoulders. I could actually see my breath as I was teaching. My second class was considerably better since I had my coat on. Also, the teacher had brought in a feeble little space heater that kept my calves sort of warm (and made me reluctant to circulate about the classroom). My hands and toes went numb on the walk to school in the morning and still haven't warmed up yet, even though I'm now home--we don't have any heat in the apartment yet either--overall I feel like I've been on a slow chairlift at Sugarloaf all day. The weirdest part of the whole thing was that teachers kept coming up to me, asking me if I was cold, and then acting all surprised when I said yes, even though they were sniffling and shivering and clearly as freezing as I was (am).

The principal cancelled afternoon classes today so we could have a volleyball invite. Lately we've been skipping the mid-volleyball meal in favor of 3+ hours of uninterrupted play. However, in honor of the guest teams from other elementary schools, we feasted on snails, sweet-and-sour pork, mustard-covered octopus and veggies, and 2 liter bottles of soju. Since the windows of the gym were all open, the hot food was cold as soon as we put it out, let alone after the first 3 games.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

thank god it's fried chicken day

First of all, I've been having a lot of problems with internet at our apartment (I'm writing this at school) and with blogspot in general, so I apologize for my recent infrequency of posts...and also for posts appearing multiple times and formatting problems.

Yesterday in school, I was happily teaching class 2-1 the days of the week when the primary teacher of the class came in and interrupted. She is a very nice, somewhat older woman who speaks very little English, and usually either does not show up to my classes or sits at her desk, silently reminding the kids to behave...either way I have always taught her class completely on my own and was very surprised when she intervened. She gave each student a piece of scrap paper and had them listen to me saying each day of the week and then write it down phonetically with Korean letters! I was so surprised that I couldn't think of any way to resist and just stood there helplessly as Monday became "maan-dae-ee," Thursday "Ssoh-suh-dae-ee" and poor Friday "Hwah-la-duh-dae-ee" (There are no "th" or "f" sounds in Korean). I couldn't quite figure out the relationship between Friday and its Korean phoneme-d equivalent, but several of the students cried out, "Ohhhhh Hwah-la-duh chicken dae-ee!" and it did sort of sound like an f-less version of the word "fried." After all this, the teacher smiled serenely at me, thanked me, and walked back out of the room, leaving me with a class full of second graders all jumping around yelling "Hwah-la-duh chicken dae-ee! Hwah-la-duh chicken dae-ee!" and no idea how to make it stop.

After frantically improvising a little game based on the f-sound (it involved letting the kids wriggle around "ffffffff"-ing and made very little sense--they thought they were being animals), I went straight to class 2-2. The teacher of 2-2, Yi Sang Suk (or Smile, as she proudly introduced herself in my first teacher class) is one of my favorite teachers, and she is almost always present for my classes. I teach them, but she is fairly involved...modeling conversations with me and helping the kids with the games and activities...much in the way that coteaching is supposed to work. The only not-so-positive thing about her involvement is that even though her English is very enthusiastic, she often makes mistakes...and I have no idea how to go about correcting them in front of her class. Most of it is just pronunciation and not actual grammatical error, since we are learning such simple stuff. For example, when the kids start to get loud, she always tells them "Clam your hands 3 times." They obediently start clapping and clam (ha! see what I did there?) right up, but I kind of feel like I should do something about it, since correct pronunciation is the whole reason they wanted a native English speaker in the first place.

On Halloween, I let my 5th and 6th graders play bingo and gave halloween candy as prizes. When they heard we were going to play bingo, the 6th graders all started cheering excitedly. It's sort of depressing that they love stupid games like bingo and hangman better than the games and activities I spend lots of time and effort planning.