Uncertainty can be happiness

"Security is a false god," or running around the world as an FSO

Archive for the ‘Bupyeong’ Category

Food poisoning

Posted by quirksalight on February 9, 2009

Last week, we ordered lunch (like usual) at school, and decided to pick Soon Doo Boo jigae, which is a soft tofu seafood stew. It’s definitely on my favorite Korean foods. However, this time, it was a little, off. I started eating it, and I really couldn’t place what, but I had to stop eating it because my palate and gut was telling something was wrong. In about 90 minutes later, yep, gut and palate was right. The good ‘ol GI tract started grumbling, and severe cramping kicked in.

I left school early, and went home, where in the early evening, my body felt like someone had taken a rubber hose and beat every single one of my muscles. Ugh… movement in general was severely painful and slow. Indeed, voiding the GI tract (you can use your imagination here) helped a little, but not too much.

After the muscle pains passed, I started on antibiotics… now… it’s 3 days later, and there are *still* some after effects… Blargh…

Lesson learned. Food is food. It can still f*&% you up.


Posted in adventure, ancedotes, annoyance, Bizarre, Bupyeong, Food, Incheon | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »


Posted by quirksalight on January 5, 2009

Right on Christmas Eve, 10 of my 2nd year (8th grade) students got caught cheating on their final exams. Not 1 exam, but apparently it was a coordinated effort that had gone for two days before the students were caught.

Needless to say, the parents and the school were extremely upset, and the school was trying to think of a just punishment for the students.
At the school-parents meeting on the 26th, the school decided that the punishment should be getting zeros on all exams for the students. (which is pretty lenient in my opinion) Apparently the parents (!) thought this was too harsh and would mess up their chances to get into good high schools, and that it was the teachers (!!) fault for not observing them closely enough!! WTF?!?! Where’s the logic in that? The students planned and executed this – sheesh….

Posted in ancedotes, annoyance, Bizarre, Buheung MS, Bupyeong, commentary, education, Incheon, Korea, Social commentary, teaching, teaching english | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Apparently kids DO read the newspaper

Posted by quirksalight on November 10, 2008

“Teacher, teacher! In school last…umm…”
(whispers to classmate in Korean “What’s the word for Wednesday?”)
“..ah! Last Wednesday! You, in school last Wednesday?”

I replied, “Nope. I was in Seoul all day.”

Upon hearing this, the two girls get excited and I overhear them saying to one another in Korean,
“See? I told you that was her!”

Then they turn to me and tell me, “Teacher! We see you in the paper. Itaewon, right? Obama party?”

I replied, smiling, “Yes, I was at the Obama party.”

They run off, giggling, and the last thing I hear in Korean is, “Hee, hee… teacher was toasting with alcohol!”

Posted in 2008 Election, amusing, ancedotes, Buheung MS, Bupyeong, Humor, Incheon, Korea, Politics, teaching, teaching english | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by quirksalight on November 4, 2008

One of my favorite times of the year is Halloween. It’s a bit strange this year, that I’m not celebrating it to the hilt like last year. Why? Well, a bit of fatigue and studying left me a bit less than in my normal Halloween excitement levels.
But my students did help me celebrate by decorating the English Activities room in my school, and carving pumpkins on Halloween day to take home. Here they are with their handiwork:(yes, middle-schoolers utilizing sharp knives at school and not cutting themselves or others! )

The last one is mine, grinning out my apt window.

Posted in Buheung MS, Bupyeong, holidays, Humor, Incheon, Korea, teaching, teaching english | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Duck and cover!!

Posted by quirksalight on October 15, 2008

I’m sitting at my desk, puttering around (b/c it’s exam week, and I finished my prep for my classes in the next 3 weeks), when I hear this loud whining noise that I haven’t heard before. First I thought it was a fire alarm, but just an odd one. But then it kept on going. So I asked two of the other teachers in the office what it was.
Turns out it was the “raid” siren. Yes, the one they are going to use in the likelyhood of an invasion by the DPRK. They were testing it out. Apparently it’s a regular thing, though they stopped doing it once and month and now it’s more 1-2 times a year. (Which makes sense that this is the first time I’ve heard it since I arrived here). Strange… makes it really clear that I’m living in a heavily fortified country.
Hmm? Ah… the siren is back on.

Posted in ancedotes, Buheung MS, Bupyeong, Incheon, Korea, Korean, Mental Stream, military, Social commentary, teaching english | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Minus 9 in 10 minutes

Posted by quirksalight on October 12, 2008

This semester, I instituted a third rule to the “No throwing” and “No hitting” rules in my class. The third one is “No bad words”.

Now, you must be wondering why I put this rule in place when I’m not supposed to be understanding Korean in school. However, it’s apparently rather trendy for the middle school students to swear in English. The most popular being “sh&t”, followed by “f@#k”, and “b#&ch”. Yeah, yeah… I know, I do swear myself, but I know that the students swear b/c they watch movies where the characters say various profane words in a multitude of situations, and think it’s OK. But… it’s not really… and I don’t want to encourage it.

So a violation of one of the rules would lead to that group being docked one point for each infraction. One of my 7th grade students from the “New Zealand” team (I have the team names as English speaking countries), gotten a question wrong, and blurted out, “Oh, sh&t!”

To which I replied, “Excuse me? What did you just say?”
Upon his look of horror, I said, “Right. I thought so. Minus 1 point.” And walked over to the scoreboard and took off a point.
He was so annoyed that his outburst lost a point, he exclaimed, “Oh, sh&t!” once again. So I shrugged, walked over to the scoreboard, and took off another point.

At this point, the entire class, including my co-teacher was laughing at the boy’s exclamations. Especially because, once again, he swore when the second point was removed. This happened several more times, with his teammates getting angrier, the class laughing harder, and I, continuing to take off points as he apparently could not stop repeating the phrase, “Oh, sh&t!” again and again. Finally, after 8 points had been removed, he literally clapped his hands over his mouth to stop himself from saying anything.

Oh, the ninth point? After he had managed to stop swearing, one of girls on his team had gotten so angry with him, she punched him. Minus 9.

Posted in amusing, ancedotes, Bizarre, Buheung MS, Bupyeong, english, EPIK, Humor, Incheon, kids, Korea, language, school, slang, Social commentary, teaching, teaching english | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The halfway point

Posted by quirksalight on September 8, 2008

It’s the halfway point in my contract, with the second semester starting. And… I’m a bit mixed in my feeling for teaching in Korea. Personally, I’ve got a pretty good situation with the middle school that I am teaching with. The principal and vice principal are both really supportive, and all my co-teachers are friendly and are very fluent in English. The students act up a bit, but they do behave at the end. And the majority of them genuinely try to learn, and practice a sentence or two whenever they see me, in the halls, on the bus, on the street, etc.

However, I’m still disputing my pay for teaching at the district camp, over a month after the fact. I have problems with the bureaucracy that’s paying unequally for teachers doing the same amount of work. I have problems with the lack of transparency with the compensation for work and the lack of documentation of pay and work. Sure, we should be asking for our documents. But I am getting sick of repeating myself for the same thing again and again. Not with my school. Just with the district.

Do I want to be teaching as a career? The answer is no. Do I like teaching? Yes. The question now is how long do I want to teach? There are several avenues I want to explore, the foremost being getting my Korean language skills up to native proficiency. Staying another year is a hard thing too decide, but my decision point is coming up soon.

Posted in ancedotes, Buheung MS, Bupyeong, Incheon, Korea, Social commentary, teaching english | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The crappiest teaching day ever….

Posted by quirksalight on July 28, 2008

Today was the start of my second English camp for this summer. This one is at my school, for the earlier part of the day. 90 mins for 1st grade middle school and 90 mins of second grade middle school. I had my lessons outlined, had my powerpoint, handout, etc, then it went kaput.
First of all, I get to the school, and there’s massive construction going on. I knew they were going to renovate the bathrooms, but there is literally a HUGE hole where all the bathrooms in the main building were. You would be able to be in the 4th floor bathroom and then fall all the way down to the first floor without hitting anything. Yeah. Major.

Then I open up my files, and the printer wasn’t working. I try the next printer, and that wasn’t working either. (Yes, I did turn on the main power strip, checked to see if it was plugged in, etc) So I head to the class without any handouts, thinking that I would be able to show them to the kids on the computer/TV and they would be able to read it. I get to the class, and the computer is broken. kaput. Alright. I’m a flexible teacher, so I get out my chalk pen and start to write. No chalk was coming out. Try a couple other pens, no dice. I go back to the first pen, fiddle with it, and it explodes. Liquid chalk everywhere. After cleaning, I managed to coax out a dribble of chalk, enough to write with.

After my break, I managed to print out some handouts, and I was told that the second classroom had a working computer. Which was great, but I printed out the handouts anyway. It was good that I did, as yes, the computer worked, but the main screen showed everything UPSIDE DOWN. I mean, come on!!! Back to the chalk pens.

Plus, the first class was a LOT weaker then I was told…which did not help. Going from teaching at an English immersion class the day before, it was a weird adjustment.

Posted in amusing, ancedotes, Buheung MS, Bupyeong, computers, english, EPIK, Humor, Incheon, Korea, teaching, teaching english, Tech | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Back in Bupyeong

Posted by quirksalight on July 28, 2008

The past week I was in Gangwa-do for the Bukbu district English camp. This was a sleep-away English immersion camp for 3rd year middle school students (9th grade in the US) where the kids have scheduled lessons or activities (all in English) from 6:30am to about 9pm.
Limited internet access, hence, the lack of updates.
I have to admit, even with the insanely vicious mosquitoes, the constant rain, and one sociopathic nutjob of a (foreign) teacher, it was one of the best teaching experiences in my life. The kids were just so enthusiastic about learning, and were pushing you to teach them… it would be any teacher’s dream to have students like this. In some was, you get spoiled, because after a week of camp, you go back to your school where you have a wide range of students and your can not teach your complex lessons.

And I got to teach drama! There was a performance festival, and I wrote a comic version of “Snow White” for the kids in my class. And we worked on everything from body movement, pronunciation, coordination of a chase scene, narration, etc. It was tons of fun! I forgot how much fun dramas can be.
I like teaching here, but it’s when you run into students like these, it becomes so much more rewarding.

Posted in amusing, Bupyeong, education, english, EPIK, Humor, Incheon, Korea | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

First semester wrap up.

Posted by quirksalight on July 18, 2008

The first semester of teaching wraps up today. I must admit, it was an insane crash course in human behavioral dynamics, rather than teaching itself. Each week, I taught 27-28 45 minute classes, with 750-800 students & 5-10 parents in the classes. Juggling languages and diplomacy with the parents, and juggling fun and discipline with the students… it’s been a nutty acrobatics act. Plus the differences in culture, educational systems, and bureaucracy… I think my education on the “Real World” was jump started here, in Korea.
Teaching middle school is pretty interesting, especially here. It’s the same as the US in the way the kids are in the bizarre hormonal flux that happens in your early teens. The difference is that the society is changing here at a very rapid place, and the way schools are set up … observations of a society in flux with a group of people in flux…. hahah… do two fluxes make a right??

Posted in amusing, ancedotes, Buheung MS, Bupyeong, Humor, Incheon, kids, Korea, Nerdity, Social commentary, teaching, teaching english | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »