Wednesday, October 27, 2010

English Speaking Tests

First things first...
I am a California girl through and through. That means I am used to one season and it is summer. Cool, warm, hot, and super hot weather. In the past few days, the weather has dropped at least 20 degrees (F). This week we have highs in the low 60s and lows in the 30s. When I walked to school it was in the high 30s. WOW I'm not used to this weather. Good thing I got paid on Monday... time for some winter shopping! (Meanwhile the Korean girls are still wearing mini skirts and short. Ha!) If you do not hear from me for a long period of time at any point this winter, it probably means I literally froze to death.

Now, more important things...
Last week I was given a rubric for the speaking tests that are being given this week and next week for all grades and all levels. They all are given these 5 questions to prepare for, but only 1 is picked on the actual test day:
1. What do you want to be in the future and why?
2. What do you want for your birthday present and why?
3. What do you think of yourself? Tell us about your strong and weak points.
4. What are good and bad points of watching TV?
5. Do you agree or disagree with corporal punishment in school? Tell us your opinion with your own supporting ideas.

They are scored on-
Vocab: Range, Appropriateness
Voice: Audibility, Pronunciation, Stress
Content: Relevance, Supporting Arguments
Time Limit

So first up were my 3rd graders who are all in the highest level English classes. I felt so bad because they all got so nervous to speak to me, but were only required to speak for less than a minute. One by one, students sat down, picked a question, I read it to them. Keep in mind that they all had a week to prepare for this speaking test. A good handful of students looked at me with a blank stare, said "ahhh...uhhh... ahhhh... sorry Teacher," and ran away. Some said a few words before hand, like "I want to be an astronaut." and then ran away. But of course there were the ones that were prepared and I got some very interesting answers.

My 1st grade lowest level students (favorite class!) all did one of two things: sit down, pick a question, I read it, student sits there staring at me/gets up and walks away OR walks over to me and says "sorry Teacher" and walks back into the classroom. I had one shining student that said he wanted a book for his birthday but that was it. 

Here are some of the best/funniest/most random answers I have heard so far... I will update as the week goes on!:

1. What do you want to be in the future and why?
-I want to be an astronaut because I want to go to space. I want to see Saturn even though the rings are space dust, I think it is still cool.
-I want to be a dermatologist because I know what it is like to have pimples and people make fun of you. I want to make kids feel better about themselves. I want to help them before their pimples explode on their faces.
-I want to be a dentist because my dad is a dentist and I want to be like him.
2. What do you want for your birthday present and why?
-I want a cell phone because my mom got angry and broke my cell phone.
-I want to have dinner with my family because my brother is in a different city going to university and I don't see him that much. My family doesn't eat get to eat dinner together that much anymore. (Awww my heart melted!) 
- I want a mechanical pencil because everyone has nice mechanical pencils and they show them off.
3. What do you think of yourself? Tell us about your strong and weak points.
-Last week at the festival, I was a rocker on stage and I think that my personality is like that. Sometimes it gets me in trouble in school because teachers say, "You talk too much!"
- I am selfish and mean. Sometimes I get angry very easily at my friends.
- I am handsome. Weakness is I don't have girlfriend.
4. What are good and bad points of watching TV?
-It is bad for your eyes. (got that one a lot!)
- We need more shows with information, like documentaries, so we can get more knowledge.
5. Do you agree or disagree with corporal punishment in school? Tell us your opinion with your own supporting ideas.
-I disagree because I am bad at school.
- I agree because some students are bad and they need to be punished.
-I disagree because I forget my homework and I get hit.
-I disagree because I don't like the PE teacher and he hits a lot of students. (got that one a lot!)

Me as a fairy/ballerina/princess on Halloween manyyy years ago.
Also, this week is HALLOWEEN week! YAYY! When asked if they know what a vampire is, many respond with "Twilight!" I asked if they knew werewolf and got, "New Moon!! Jacob!! Teacher, do you lovvvve Jacob?!" Other words included are mummy, ghost, zombie, etc. My favorite is when the students know exactly what I am referring to but don't know the words to describe it. So instead I get zombie, ghost, and werewolf noises coming from all sides of the classroom and arms raised in a mummy/zombie like fashion.
Also, I've been playing a clip from The Nightmare Before Christmas movie, the "This is Halloween" song (which, by the way, is a horrible idea. 18 classes throughout the week, played at least 3 times in each class, plus however many times I played it while making the lesson plan.... you do the math.) I first play it, ask what they saw in the clip, and then hand out the lyrics with certain words or phrases missing (depending on the level). I play the clip 2 more times. It is funny because when I look around the room by the third time the clip is played, students are singing to themselves. Maybe it is one of those "you had to be there" moments, but just imagine a bunch of students who are minding their own business, looking at their papers, singing and bobbing their heads. It's funny, I promise. I also heard a kid run past my office yesterday after school singing the song.
And since I have to listen to this song at least 9 times a day, here is the clip for your viewing pleasure :) Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 25, 2010

School Festival and Field Trip

First off, let me tell you something I was observing while looking out of my office window last week. My back is turned to the window which is next to the main (outside) walkway in school so there are always students walking by. Across the walkway is more classes. So it goes like this... my office/desk, windows, bushes, outside walkway, bushes, windows, inside walkway, classrooms. Last week I happened to glance out the window, across the outside walkway... I see one boy in the bushes, one boy in the inside hallway, and one half way inside and half way outside. The boy's arms were being pulled by the boy in the bushes and his legs were being pulled by the boy inside (imagine him in a superman-like position). Kind of like a tug of war but instead of a rope, it was a boy and the boy was being pulled in and out of the window. It was absolutely hilarious and these are the types of things that go on on a daily basis here!

Last week I worked for a total of 3 days (yes I am truly working my ass off here). That means I have worked for a total of 6 out of 10 work days in the past two weeks. Thursday was the annual school festival and Friday was a field trip day

Back to the festival: a few weeks ago I was somehow harassed into singing at the school festival. For all of you who know me, this is NOT my thing. I was asked by my coteacher if I wanted to perform (dance or sing) in the festival. I told her I have no special talents and she went on her way. Then, I went into the main office to go make copies and the vice principal basically said I had no choice and my name was already on the festival schedule. Luckily, there was a teacher choir so I agreed to join that. We ended up choosing LOVE by Natalie Cole. The teachers thought the microphone should be in my face because I am the "native" English speaker. PSHHHH such a bad idea. They also tried to get my to sing parts of the song for them so that they could figure out how it sounds. ANOTHER bad idea. The fact that I can speak English in no way qualifies me to be a singer.
So, the day of the festival arrives. All of the teachers receive maroon windbreakers and white hats that spell out "Daegu" in Korean on them. Uniformity is all the rage here. Then, on top of that I get a lovely orange long sleeve shirt and blue polka dot bandana for the singing performance. Let me reiterate: maroon windbreaker, bright orange shirt, blue polka dot bandana, white hat. Even though I looked completely ridiculous, I didn't mind because there were about 10 other teachers who looked just like me :)
I am the "L" in LOVE :) Orange orange everywhere!

The festival started out with relays between classes and grades. Then, there was a massive jump rope contest which I got to partake in. There were about 3 teachers assigned to each class... so 3 teachers and up to 10 students trying to jump all at once with the same rope.

Some of my students!
Principal jumping rope

Next, each grade had a different assigment. Grade 1 was some kind of drag show or whoever could dress their representative up the most like a girl (I didn't really get it). Grade 2 was a water balloon toss game. Grade 3 was another type of relay.

Rocker chick

"California girl!"

Then, there was a talent show. There was rapping, singing, dancing, guitar playing, and our choir. Luckily no one could really hear us in the microphones, but I did hear chanting when I got up on stage, "Teacher, Teacher, Teacher." Finally, the M.C. walked around the crowd asking the students what their greatest wish was (or at least that is what my coteacher said was going on) and one student said he wanted to one day be able to have a conversation with me.. awww!!!
Playing American Idiot-Green Day 
Dancing to 2NE1... bakssu cheo, bakssu cheo!
Stage moms exist in Korea too!
So cute, they even made tshirts for their sons' class!
Look at how happy I look!
The teachers got a huge lunch and there was even soju and beer in the cafeteria. I felt weird drinking at school, but was offered some so I couldn't refuse (litereally couldn't refuse. it's rude to here.)
After lunch there were festivities in the park by the river next to the school. We walked a few miles down the river to enjoy the scenery and then there were scavenger hunts and games that lasted for the rest of the day.
The river by my house and school
Ready, set, go!
How cute! 3rd grader helping 1st grader 
Walking down the river 

Scavenger hunt... running like crazy!
Hunting for prizes
Chief Officer, Principal, and Me
1st, 2nd, and 3rd places for each grade

But, don't worry, this was not the end of the day.... teacher bonding then commenced. 10 teachers went out for a type of Korean BBQ. By the way, I love how they all try to include me in everything and are so welcoming! Mr. Lee (the math teacher I went to Gyeongju with) was excited to make me a special concoction: soju and beer mixed together, pronounced so-may (aka the "bum" drink.) I also learned "ahh jo-tah" means "ahhh so good" or something like that... said after you finish a drink. Of course, I am only learning the essential Korean words! We played drinking games and then headed to my first noreabang (Korean karaoke!) I pretended to know Korean songs and they pretended to know English songs. I had a great time and really enjoy hanging out with the teachers from my school, even though most don't know English and I don't know Korean. Apparently, they also have this really cool program here where you can call a number if you are too drunk to drive home and someone will show up to drive both you and your car home. It is only about 10,000. Quick, someone get on this idea on America!!

On Friday, we took a trip to the Keimyung University. I was told it was the most beautiful campus in Daegu and it was totally true. It was gorgeous, especially with the Fall leaves changing color. Two teachers picked me up from my house (another generous gesture, as I could have easily taken the subway). All of the students and teachers met at the university. We took a tour of the museum, which took all of 20 mins. The majority of the time spent at the university was organizing students! And during this time of organization I got to hear "Teacher! Teacher! Hellooo??? Teacher! I love-a youuuu!" for about 15 mins straight.

fall colors!

The museum had a very nice photo exhibit of the DMZ. Since the DMZ (area between South and North Korea) is hardly ever accessed by many humans, it is one of the few places in Korea with beautiful nature and wildlife. The museum also had an exhibit on the history of Korea dating all the way back to the caveman days. I didn't find this as interesting as the first exhibit but it was kind of cool to see some Korean history. Then all of the teachers went out to lunch at a place called "Vin." We had pasta, pizza, etc. I am gradually figuring out that more teachers can speak English than they let on through little outings like this. I was then offered to go on a hike after lunch to see some temples in Daegu, but I unfortunately had to get home to pack for Busan!

Daegu New Teacher Dinner and Other Stuff

This really happened... 
Bar snacks here aren't just beer nuts.
Corn with some cheesy substance, fish chips (GROSS),
curry popcorn, and dessert ice (see below)

Dessert ice: crushed ice, milk, frosted flakes, fruit cocktail, chocolate syrup. It really doesn't sound good but it is pretty delicious.

 Last Wednesday, the Daegu Metropolitan Office of Education threw a welcome dinner for all of the NETs (New English Teachers) in Daegu. It was at this nice little brewery with all you can eat AND drink for 10,000 won. Delicious food and beer that is not Hite or Cass?? Let me tell you, everyone made it to that dinner. The beer was delicious, the company was great, and the music was good-ish. They threw in a little "no sexual harassment" speech and other such rules for a few minutes, but the majority of the time was spent getting to know people and hanging out with friends.

"Send failed. Are you retry?"
Eric, Jose, Logan, Shelley and our jug of beer
The entertainment for the night
The other end of the table
Trying to discretely capture the mullet behind us.
Didn't work quite so well.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

1st Annual Daejeon Rock Festival

Sorry for being M.I.A. but I have been crazyyy busy lately! I'll make a few new posts to update you all on my life. First up is the 1st Annual Daejeon Rock Festival...

My friend Shelley and I took the KTX to Daejeon (between Daegu and Seoul) last Saturday. We got there and picked the first random motel we saw by the KTX station... only 30,000 won for a night! We then grabbed a taxi and headed over to the Daejeon Convention Center where the festival was being held. One part was right on the river and the other was across the street in the parking lot of the convention center. The river area was mostly dedicated to family activities: trampolines, kid stuff, and family/korean music. The area we spent most of our time in had all of the younger adults, international food, beer garden, and pretty good music.  We met up with some friends from the EPIK orientation who live all over Korea. 

Daejeon at night and chinese lanterns
Hannes, me, Shelley, Carel
Boobi boobi!
pancake mmm

Delicious meat skewers

The concert was cut short at around 11pm by the police. I don't know how they do things here, but I would think that a festival put on by the city of Daejeon to increase tourism wouldn't be shut down... oh well. The remaining bands were still able to perform... they were spread out around the city at different clubs. We headed to Yellow Taxi and saw a great reggae band perform. The next day we caught up with some friends to get lunch: pizza. Let me tell you, pizza is NOT the same here as it is at home. It either has weird ingredients on it or is oddly stuffed with sweet potato. I think I am turned off of pizza all because of that one restaurant we went to. 4 pizzas, 8 people, death.
BUT... All in all, great music, food, and friends!