Uncertainty can be happiness

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

Archive for the ‘EPIK’ Category

Forensics and English

Posted by quirksalight on February 9, 2009

Last week was the second to last week I’ll be in the classroom. It’s also a great group of students to work with, as this was the “English Camp” and the students are self-selecting… I don’t have to push them, they all WANT to be in school. 🙂 Just awesome…

So I tried to keep things interesting… hence, the last two days, we learned about some simple forensics. What it was, fingerprints and fingerprinting, invisible ink, and ink analysis by paper chromatography.

Paper chromatography:

Black ink on strips of paper

Black ink on strips of paper

Using alcohol to separate

Using alcohol to separate



Invisible ink:
Paper with ink

Paper with ink

Heating the inked strip

Heating the inked strip

After heating

After heating


Posted in amusing, ancedotes, Buheung MS, education, english, EPIK, fun, Incheon, Korea, school, Science, teaching, teaching english | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

It’s nearly time

Posted by quirksalight on October 29, 2008

One week from the Foreign Service Officers Exam.
Upside? Studying can include watching the Daily show and the Colbert Report.
Downside? Teaching Middle school FT and coming home to study for several hours after.

Nov 5th, Korea time. 9am-12pm. Then I go to the Orange Tree in Itaewon to catch the last of the US election results, live. 🙂

Posted in 2008 Election, amusing, Colbert Report, Comedy, Daily Show, english, EPIK, Humor, Korea, Politics, 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 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 »

Bupyeong, Handbags, Itaewon, and a motorcycle: Part 1

Posted by quirksalight on March 24, 2008

… is a quick summary of the weekend.
Two EPIK-ers from other providences were going to be in town (and crashing in my apt) this past weekend. Lindsay was in on Friday night, crashing that night as the first person to sleep on my new sofa/bed. =)
Wietske and I had dinner earlier, as we waited for Lindsay to get to my apt… mmmm… Korean Fried Chicken!
But the evening’s festivities was hitting up Bupyeong station. Starting off at the Goose Goose, we met up with Linda and Mick for some drinks. Randomly, we ran into three Canadian English teachers I had met the weekend before at a kim bap shop in Bupyeong Market. Apparently they were also hitting up the ex-pat bars in Incheon that night. The Goose was a bit mellow and Linda, Mick, Lindsay and I went to check out some of the locales. One was closed (Motown), but the Woodstock had an interesting music selection and a mini-porch for people watching. The latter being the draw, Lindsay and I decided to linger there when Nick and Andrew (more Incheon EPIK teachers) wandered in. These guys were total jokers, and very amusing to hang out with for the evening.
Trio at Woodstock
Nick, Lindsay, and Andrew, hamming it up. Mind you, this was before the “ass-kicking” game proceeded to occur… yes, it was basically a bunch of fools running around, trying to kick each other in the rump while avoiding getting kicked in the rump. Ow.

Wandering about some, we ran into another EPIK-er and her friends in front of a mini-mart. While chatting, the boys found a coin-operated kicking machine and Nick proceeded to kick to his heart’s content with the group of guys already there.
The kicking machine…

Kickin’ it in Bupyeong
Kickin’ it in Bupyeong

After a fruitless search for a no-cover disco, Lindsay and I called it a night as we were to head into Seoul early on Saturday to check out one of the largest shopping districts in Seoul.

Posted in amusing, Bupyeong, EPIK, Humor, Incheon, Korea, motorcycle, Seoul, shopping, travel | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

First day at school

Posted by quirksalight on March 4, 2008

Hah.. I didn’t think that I would be writing that phrase again. But here I am, at Buheung middle school, the first day of school, on stage at the school assembly giving a short speech about little ol’ me. Yep. They wanted the “Native English Teacher” to talk to them. It was a bit amusing. Here’s a pic of my school: Buheung MS
An interesting tidbit was that the middle school was here when my dad was at Inha University back in the ’60s. He told me that his retired college buddies are in the area if I ever needed some help. 😛
All the administrators and teachers have been super nice and helpful. Apparently I am about the same age as my principal’s son, so he’s always inquiring if I’m eating well and whether I am doing ok in my apartment by myself. I think I’ve gained another surrogate parent. 😀

Since we’re here for a year to work with the kids on their speaking abilities, we get paired up with a co-teacher. Mrs. Kim is my co-teacher, and she’s been totally awesome! She’s helped me outfit my apartment, get the syllabus, books, and have been extremely helpful with my constant stream of questions ranging from school policy to immigration paperwork.
I’ll be teaching all three grades, which would translate to 7th, 8th and 9th grades, but I see the first and second grades once a week on alternating months and the 9th grade every week. So my time with the students isn’t very long, and basically my job is to get them engaged so they are willing to practice speaking in English. It’ll be an interesting time, as I’ve met a couple of the students already and their fluency varies substantially.
Right now, I’m prepping and observing this week for my first day of actual teaching on monday, March 10th. I’m glad that they are giving me this week to get used to Incheon, the school, etc, as just figuring out how the equipment works and to get around the school is a learning process.

The Incheon EPIK teachers are getting together for dinner on Friday night for a recap and to bounce ideas/issues off of each other. I’m so glad that I went through EPIK to teach in Korea; the network is invaluable for everything from visa issues to finding a dry cleaner in your area.

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

It’s the first full day in Incheon…

Posted by quirksalight on March 1, 2008

.. and I already had to call the maintenance guy. [sigh]
I blew the fuse in my apartment, and I had no clue where the box was. Turns out it was hidden by a photo – it was covering the fuse box.

Posted in EPIK, Incheon, Korea, teaching english, travel | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Orientation, part I

Posted by quirksalight on February 25, 2008

The first couple days of Orientation wasn’t so much on what we will be teaching and how, but acclimation to Korea and culture here.
After arrival on Thursday, it was almost midnight before I arrived at Yousung hotel in Daejon, Korea. We will be here until the 29th with 4 lectures everyday in preparation to start teaching on March 3rd. (eek!) So exhausted… it was almost 26 hours since I had checked my bags at Dulles International airport.

On Sunday, we had a field trip to a traditional Korean village. It’s a mock set up, but the place has traditional architecture from all around the country, artisans demonstrating how to spin silk, brasswork, calligraphy and the engraving of seals.

Monday, was the first day where we were hitting the meat of the orientation process. Teaching. What to do in the classroom, classroom management, interactive learning, etc. Long, but very informative. The last lesson on interactive learning was fantastic. I’m a bit nervous for what’s to come, especially since in one week I’ll be teaching my first English class, but I think it’s a good sign that my mind is cranking away with ideas. 🙂
Here’s a link to my pictures from the first couple of days. Outing with fellow teachers and the trip to traditional Korean village.

Posted in adventure, EPIK, Korea, teaching, teaching english, travel, traveling | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

I’m here!

Posted by quirksalight on February 21, 2008

In Korea!
And I’m totally exhausted… 20 hours of flying, 2 hours layover, two hours at the airport before and after starting…. about 26 hours of travel time.
Flight to Korea
Here’s the view from my flight out of Dulles International.

One of the more annoying things was the lack of leg room on the Domestic leg of my flight. Here’s how little space I had. And I am a very short person, 5’2″, with a 30″ inseam.

Currently I’m in Daejeon, which is a city 2 hours south of Seoul. We’re having our orientation for EPIK at the Yousong hotel.

Posted in EPIK, Korea, teaching, travel | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »