Thursday, March 27, 2014

Letters to my students

Dear favorite student,

I like you a lot. Not because you're the smartest, or the cutest, there's just something about you. You have a great sense of humor. You understand jokes and sarcasm, which not a lot of kids get, especially in a second language. Good for you! You show up every day, you volunteer to read, and you're not afraid to speak up and potentially make mistakes. You're not mean to anybody and I don't think I've ever seen you in a bad mood. Everybody genuinely likes you and you set a great example for the other kids. I look forward to your class because you're such an awesome student. Thanks for making my day easier.

Thankful teacher

Dear funny boy,

You have a dry sense of humor and your funniest answers usually come out of left field. Sometimes you are very inappropriate and you seem to know things beyond your years - maybe ease up on the mature video games. But man, you make me laugh. Sometimes I should be scolding you but you catch me off guard and I can't keep a straight face. Luckily a lot of what you say goes over the other kids heads, and thank you for not explaining it to them. You make my days way more interesting and you've given me some great stories.

Entertained teacher

Dear unprepared child,

You. are. killing. me. News flash: you are going to need a pencil, an eraser, and your English book every single day. Quit acting like this is brand new information. I'm not asking for the moon here, I think this is pretty reasonable. I genuinely wonder what you're thinking as you walk to English class with nothing to use. Did you forget about yesterday when you needed a pencil and didn't have one, or the day before that, or the day before that? Do you think if you don't bring anything I won't make you do anything? Or do you maybe just not think at all? Whatever your reason is - do not bring a backpack full of shoes and snacks but nothing useful into this classroom one more time. Would you show up to soccer practice without a ball or cleats or orange slices? No you would not! Get it together child.

Baffled teacher

Dear mom of the boy who never does his homework,

It's the end of the month and your child has done his homework 3 times, literally only 3 times. He is definitely smart enough to finish it pretty quickly every night, so I have to assume he's just being lazy and you are a little bit too. After all you're the parent, and you see the homework sheet where your child writes down his assignment every day. He should be responsible and do it, but if he's not going to it's your job to make him. I don't know if you realize this but you're paying for this. Don't you want to get your money's worth? If he keeps this up you might as well funnel that cash into something more useful, like more smartphone apps. I bet your kid plays his phone games every day.  

Frustrated teacher

Dear English beginner,

I started teaching you 2 months ago and you didn't know half the alphabet. You made my job pretty hard because you were so shy and quiet, I could barely get you to practice making sounds. It was also really hard to tell when you did or didn't understand what I was telling you - I felt like I was talking to a brick wall half the time. But now! Now you can read! You make a lot of mistakes but you're doing it. You've learned how to sound out words and you stammer through anything I give you. It is very rewarding to see how much you've learned. You've tried really hard and you're doing a great job. 

Proud teacher

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Thanks for visiting Mom and Dad

My parents came to Busan last week! The whole family came to see me my first summer in Korea, and we did Seoul and Ulsan and a few day trips. This time around I obviously live in Busan and we just stayed around here. My bosses were great and gave me a few days off so I could spend time with my parents instead of my students. We had a lot of full, fun days. I got to show them what I do in a normal week and I got to do some things that were new to me too, which was great. I think my favorite part was taking them to all the different Korean restaurants. We ate a little bit of everything and they said they liked it all. They even used their chopsticks pretty well :)

Our first outing was to a temple on some cliffs right next to the ocean. It was unfortunately under some sort of construction/renovation/ugly transition time, but still pretty beautiful. 

Family selfie squinting into the sun. Mom closed her eyes in the good one.

One day we went to Busan tower, which I had never done before. It was a little cloudy that day so we didn't have the most crystal clear views, but still you could see buildings and oceans for miles. It's pretty impressive how they just built right around the mountains. And how a lot of the buildings look alike but at the same time are unique. We also spent a good amount of time watching tugboats go under a drawbridge. Never a dull moment in this family. 

Right after that we went to a very famous fish market. We saw this old lady with a bucket full of octopus that kept trying to escape and a crab that almost got out of his tank. Can you imagine if you were walking in the market and a crab ran up and pinched you?! That's the kind of stuff I think about in those situations. I did not take pictures there because I'm not a huge fan of dead fish, but I do like the boats the fish come in on. 

My favorite meal is gamjatang - potato and pork spine soup. The best. One of their last nights we ate there and then walked on the beach with some ice cream. A perfect way to end the trip. 

I'm glad you came to Busan parents! I'll see you this summer in Minnesota!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


I've been taking Bear to the beach and he loves it! We're going to have the best summer!

One of my 1st graders pronounces "elephant" as "lalaphant"!

I just finished re-reading the Hunger Games and I liked them even more the second time!

It's been in the 60s 3 days in a row! I think spring is here!

I had a sub a few days last week, and now that I'm back my students keep telling me how much they missed me and what a good teacher I am!

I found a new cute cafe overlooking the beach with a good hazelnut latte!

I get to teach 2 science classes a week now!

I found money on the ground and I used it to buy a snack!

I got a free microwave!

I did a Very Hungry Caterpillar project with the kiddos and they were more creative than I expected!

It wasn't completely dark when I left work tonight!

I have a box of Thin Mints in my cupboard! Thanks mom!

Only 2 more days till the weekend!