You have failed and now you must Daegu!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I met Su-jin's mom today. This was a meeting almost 6 months in the making and it finally happened. I exist. No longer am I just some clown her daughter was dating. I have a voice. I have a face. I couldn't be happier.

We went to TGIFriday's at the Lotte Department Store in downtown Daegu. We had lunch. It lasted about 90 minutes. At the end I asked her mom watch she thought. She claims I am polite, nice and handsome. Also, she said, "next time I'll pay." My response? Next time?!? Sounds good! I'm not one and done. She thinks I'm going to stick around for a while. Cool. Me too. I did by a present (a cookie gift box) and I dressed nice, but no tie. I'm not Zwirb and I don't have a bitchin' Star Wars tie to impress Su-jin's mom.

Then, dragged Su-jin to see The Incredible Hulk. Cool movie. I enjoyed it and I believe Su-jin did also. Next up is 'Wanted.' I'm skeptical.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I haven't really written much about work because there hasn't been that much interesting stuff to blog about.

Things are going swimmingly. Both my coteachers are dedicated and work hard to communicate with me. I would like some things to be done a bit differently. I think they stick to the book too much. I'd rather use the book as a guide, instead of a rigidly enforced law, but if that's my biggest complaint I should consider myself lucky.

I don't have quite the freedom that I had the first semester. Both of my coteachers, while being great teachers, were both intimidated by me and let me do whatever I wanted. Not any more. In fact, it's been the opposite. Early in the year, I sat down and planned a lesson with the 6th grade English teacher. Everything she said was, "I will....then, I will....then, I will." When she finished talking, I said, "Great. Now, what am I doing?" From that point on she realized that this is a cooperative effort. She would also say, "my students," when talking to me about the kids. I kept correcting her, "Oh, you mean OUR students." I think she gets it now.

I still have no idea what to make of the 5th grade teacher, except that her lessons are a lot of fun and we spend more time smiling and laughing than we ever did last year. She's a big fan of TPR and so am I. For those out of the biz, TPR stands for Total Physical Response. It's a method of teaching that uses muscle memory to help students learn new words and concepts. I've liked doing this so much that I get my first grade monsters doing it. Fun!

I have less than 50 days to my vacation. I can't wait. The plan is to hit Incheon for a few days. Catch a ballgame, see some of the war memorials(it was the site of MacArthur's daring raid!), then take my flight on Saturday morning. Hang out for a bit, see some friends, relax, suck down a few dozen delicious American beers, then visit Milwaukee and St.Louis(I've never been, ever). Finally, return to Chicago and take my flight to Korea, ready to battle monsters for another year.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sorry for the continued lack of updates. I've been painfully busy. Between a few new classes(teacher training), the same number of regular classes, more planning for my first graders and well "other," I've neglected this space.

Also, I bought my plane ticket too soon. I'm ready for a vacation now. I've been a little lazy at work. Let's just say tasks haven't been completed until seconds before their due date. In fact, they just attempted to add another class to my schedule. It was met with a "no," until we have a meeting about it tomorrow.

I caught a ballgame in Busan last weekend. Amazing experience. I've never seen a crowd that into a regular season game. Ever. They were in it from the first pitch to the last. Maybe I'm starved for a good stadium, but sitting in Busan wasn't that bad. It's worth going. Busan fans are insane. Everyone sang, everyone used newspaper for pom-poms and everyone wore orange bags on their heads.

In case you haven't heard, there's been a disagreement over the importing of American beef into Korea. There have been protests all over Korea. The biggest was a few nights ago. I saw one in downtown Daegu. There were about 4oo people in the middle of the downtown area and at least 5 dressed as cows.

The whole "mad cow," excuse is bullshit. The real issue is money, lazy Korean media and a strange dissatisfaction with a president that was elected four months ago. Korean farmers and the Korean media were the ones behind this mad cow fear. Korean farmers know that the importation of American beef will hurt their pocket books. The Korean media will do anything to sell newspapers. Mad cow was just their latest excuse for sensationalism and yellow journalism. President Lee's nickname is Bulldozer Lee. He's was well known for doing whatever it took to get laws passed and policies changed while he was the mayor of Seoul. This is the type of guy he is and they shouldn't be surprised how he's running the country.

I'm excited for my vacation in August. I'm counting the days. I'm ready for a break.