So... on to the meat of this post. For round one I want to talk about the school I'm working at, an elementary school in Sunae, South Korea (About 45 minutes south of Seoul). I'm teaching 5th and 6th grade English and the students are great. Every day I have 4 or 5 classes that are 40 minutes each and then I have the rest of the day to myself to plan really awesome lessons or to read everyone's facebook status updates. All in all I see about 400 students a week between the two grades and I've already got down all their names. In English and Korean. And I've met all their parents. OK, so really I just remember Bill and that's only because he insists on asking me what his name is every time I see him in the hall.
There's also a lot of really weird stuff around the school (which is what this photo gallery below is all about). The first shot is my classroom. It's awesome, and big, and has a piano (thanks Will!) and fits 30 kids surprisingly easy. Second picture is of a collection of phrases found on the stairs throughout the school. Every single step of the 6 story building has a comment and a response in English for the kids to learn as they're making their way to class. I think my favorite is, "I'm not enjoying my life" ... "What a shame." That's a good friend right there.
The next two pictures are from wall murals around the school. I have tried so hard to figure out what is happening in the first one but I still have absolutely no idea. Maybe the 3 brothers are upset with the 4th for his incessant desire to clean the floor all the time? No idea. The last one is my favorite. It's made of string and carpet and depicts and ancient battle between a technicolored, long-armed, no-handed, warrior and a saber-toothed, sheep-dog, tiger-thing. And things don't look too good for the warrior guy.
Picture 5 and 6 are new additions that I discovered this week. Number 5 depicts some classic sporting events like tug of war and track and field. Then there are some more questionable athletic activities as well. I think in the middle they're throwing cherries at a giant lollipop, but I'm not really sure how anyone could win at that game. In the top right is the classic donut-hop where contestants try to eat a donut that is hanging above them from a string. And finally, perhaps the most confusing sport in the bottom left, looks like a set a triplets that are holding cotton candy and giving high fives to giant foreigners. How that sport hasn't caught on in the states is beyond me.
Also new this week is picture 6. It's time for student elections at our school and they get pretty into it. Professionally designed posters, big money corporate donors, voter fraud, the whole nine yards. I particularly enjoy this student's hybrid Obama/Rosie the Riveter encouraging students to vote for him. Good stuff.
But, in all seriousness, I really love this school. The students are great, the teachers are incredibly friendly and helpful, and I get about a million "hellos" every time I step outside of my classroom. They also love to tell me how tall I am while they walk next to me on their tip-toes and see how high they can get (no one has even made it to my shoulders).
Finally, I've lucked out and been able to continue my 2 year streak of getting free school lunch every day. And even though I miss chicken nugget and mashed potato Mondays in Kansas, seaweed soup and kimchi are proving to be a decent substitute.
So, thanks for reading and stay tuned for more red-hot Korea action!
Next time on Karlin in Korea:
-A video tour of my apartment!
-What's wrong with Insadong?
-And we'll find out how long I can go without a can of Pringles and a bottle of gin.