Day 625 - Jindo Sea Parting Festival, TOPIK Studying

Maybe it's because I spent a few years living next to an ocean in Florida, or because my family goes to the beach regularly up in New England, or maybe I was just assuming it would be more awesome than it was, but the sea-parting festival was kind of a let-down. First of all, it took about 5 hours just to get there. Second, the water level didn't even expose a completely unbroken "sea road" -- there were parts still covered with about a foot of water. To me, it just kind of looked like low tide. meh.

As for as TOPIK studying, I'm behind my (extremely aggressive) self-designed study plan. However, if you go over to, download the "iFlash Free" app, and search for "brbkorea", you can find the TOPIK study cards I've put up there. I don't put all my vocab on that website because I study better with physical flashcards, but I do update sometimes with "extra" vocab words that I encounter a lot on the test.


Day 619 - UCLA's Alexandra Wallace

I'm not Asian, but I'm offended to be white like this epiphany-having poli sci major.

The Asian American community responded more with snarkiness than with outrage.


Day 612 - Spring Curriculum

Spring Curriculum Before (translated as directly as possible):

1. Self Introductions
--name, alma mater, hometown, family, hobby, etc
2. Aggressive Self-Appeals (internal characteristics)
--strengths/weaknesses, personality traits, interests, view on life
3. Making excuses, refusals
4. Appointments, invitations, schedules
--Travel expressions
5. Airport, travel destinations

Activities for Before Curriculum:
-->Dialog (content appropriate)
-->Expressions (practice, group-made examples)
-->Exercises (with Lindsay: bring students to subject actualization)

I expressed concerns that the students would not be able to study this kind of English. Although it's extremely useful and very important conversational English, my students simply lack the motivation or need to learn things like this. I said that it would probably result in a lot of frustration over a subject they already dread.

They had also recommended speaking tests that would count for 10% of the students' English grade and which would be comprised solely of what I taught in my class. My students only see me once a week, so it's really not often enough for them to practice their speaking enough to expect a 10% final speaking test from them.

The teachers gave their curriculum a try this week and, after one lesson, realized that the students really are struggling with that kind of English. The new curriculum, directly from the handout I was given:

1. World map - find the country
2. House - house work
3. Fruit - grocery store
4. Cook - recipe
5. Clothing - describing clothes
6. Symptom and injury
7. Jobs
8. Taking a trip
9. Nature - animal, plant name
10. Holiday
11. English composition

Beside English composition, this is muuuuch more in line with the students' average level. These kids, for the most part, dread English enough as it is. The last thing I want them to do is not look forward to seeing their native speaker. The more they look forward to class, the more energy they bring, and the harder they try to use their English facilities in the lesson.


Day 611 - Back to School

The GANADA classes have finished up. I learned soooo much, but it was kind of a kick in the butt to go from 6 hours of class a day to teaching within a 24 hour time period. Especially with the changes they've made at my school.

Remember, this is a vocational school filled mostly with students that don't want or don't need to learn English. But the English department has decided that my class (which is understood to be mostly just a babysitting hour) should be business English from now on. The curriculum they've drawn up is mostly very useful English that these students should already know, being high school students and all. However, everything they've put on the curriculum is something that, at one point or another in my 3 semesters at this school, I have tried to teach the students. With complete disaster.

The curriculum was mostly drawn up by a teacher that's been here for 5 days, so I'm trying not to get too worked up about it. It'll most likely fall to pieces as soon as she realizes the level these students are at. Good intentions, but misguided for the majority of these students.

In the meantime, when I'm not pulling out my hair over this new schedule, I've been heading up to Daejeon a lot. It was SLo's birthday last Thursday and a Nonsanite is leaving Korea, so I double-booked both parties. Luckily they were both held on Friday in the Galleria TimeWorld area (the youth hot-spot in Daejeon). Saturday, Doyup and I went on a date to the SAME area, where we did some shopping, read elementary school Korean lit books, saw a movie, and went out to eat at VIPS, a Western style buffet.

I wavered for a while on whether I'd take Korean classes in Daejeon again. It's just too much transit time for a two hour class that I'm not sure I'll get a lot out of. Then I thought about taking a TOPIK prep course with GANADA in Seoul, but I would most likely have to go up on Friday, stay the night, just to take the class on Saturday. maaaaybe not worth it.