Thursday, November 12, 2009

Recent Observations :)

Hello! This isn’t going to contain a great deal of cleverness or anything as exciting as the sort. Instead, it will simply contain my observations as of late.


1. While the majority of students and their parents are panicked about the Swine Flu thing (it’s hit our school a few times now and a bunch of the elementary schools in the area are closed), my students seem to be troopers. That’s right. Not one of them has abandoned me at this time. We remain now, and probably forever more (until March), a family. All nine of us. Me and the eight children. I can officially say that I could not survive single-parenthood of octuplets. It just would not work. Period.


2. English is a hard language to learn. I know this because I’m now trying to learn it. I have no idea why adding ‘s’ to the end of a noun makes it plural while adding ‘s’ to the end of a verb makes it present-tense-singular. Why? Why did English people decide that was a smart thing to do? Furthermore, I’ve never given any former thought to things such as ‘inflectional endings’. What is that you might ask? My response… well. I have no clue. Ask me at the end of November when I stand up in front of my class and present my research.


3. My students understand their Reading Street stories, scoring nearly perfect on the reading comprehension portions of exams. Unfortunately, they don’t understand the words and fail the vocabulary portions. I’m not really not sure how that works…

  • Example:
    (Question) “What was Mama’s favourite birthday present?”
    (Response of student) - “Mama enjoyed it when Francisco gave her a surprise party for her birthday! It was her favourite present!”

    (Question) Fill in the blanks with a word from the word box.
    1. On my birthday my Mom gives me a ____edge____ to open. 2. Once, my friends had a _____draw_____ party for me!

150437 .tif

4. Kids here are very open about their past traumas. For example, while waiting for the bell to ring, a few teachers and our students were waiting in the stairwell. This is the conversation that followed:

Boy to teachers: (Gesturing to girl in another class) In grade two she always hit me.

Girl to boy: You hit me too!

Boy to girl: You read my diary!

Girl to teachers: See!? What kind of boy is that?! (looks appalled).


5. My kids thought I lived at GDA. Specifically, they thought that I lived in my classroom. It’s named Montreal Class. They had a giant discussion about it with me. I slept under the table and ate in the closet. For some reason, my partner-teacher, Anthony, lived in the staffroom (as opposed to his classroom). He ate in the kitchen (seems unfair!). The awesome thing was that they were 100% serious. They were shocked when I explained I lived in an apartment.

GDA - my home.

6. In all the 22 Remembrance Days I’ve lived through, I remained completely ignorant to the fact that half-way across the world people were buying bulk orders of chocolate-covered-cookie-sticks and spending the day passing them out to… well. everyone. That’s right. On November 11th, Korea celebrates PEPERO day. Pepero is a fancy name for a chocolate-covered-cookie-stick. I’ve seen them reach a length of over 1.5 feet. That’s one big chocolate-covered-cookie-stick. Anyway, on this date, everyone seems to bestow chocolate-covered-cookie-sticks to everyone else in celebration of the fact that November 11th’s date looks like four giant Peperos when its written like this: 1111. I’m not really sure why this is so exciting… but man, the Pepero makers sure struck it rich off that observation. Remembrance Day was celebrated in style this year. I was probably given over 50 sticks. I can’t eat them due to the gluten-thing :)Peperos anyone?


7. Teaching children how to express their emotions in a foreign language can be quite interesting. First, they think you’re happy. Then really happy. After cycling through ‘surprised’, ‘angry’, ‘sad’, ‘scared’, and make it back to ‘very happy’ they think that you’re suffering from a massive crisis and are developing severe mood swings. The reactions of children to such lessons vary.

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Wouldn’t you be confused?

8. Even if they don’t know the words, Korean children will sing with great gusto. GREAT gusto. “THERE WAS A MMMAMMMRRRRR WHO HAD AFFOOG AND IINGO WAS HISSSSAAMMMMMOOOO”. Practically angelic.


9. My neighbours (who don’t speak any English) love to give things to me. They are very sweet people, and have been very generous! In addition to their lovely smiles, there is one lady who gives me a full carton of milk every time she sees me, a couple guys at the grocery store next-door who will run over to me and give me fruit (plums and tangerines!), and today my next-door neighbour (whom I just met today) proceeded to run into her apartment and come back with four plump tomatoes for me :) What lovely people they have over here! If they could read English, I would write them happy thank-you notes :) Since they can’t, I’m settling for big smiles and thank-you’s. I’m going to repay them somehow though… They’ve made my day on numerous occasions. Such things are very rare in Canada.

Remind me to make brownies or something for my neighbours when I return to Canada.

Gifts from neighbours take 1Gifts from lovely neighbours

10. My afternoon kindergarteners are really funny. Unintentionally so. For example:

Me to Wina: “You are from Korea, and you live in Bundang.”
Wina: “I live in Bundang!”
Me: “Ok, try to answer my question: Where do you live?”
Wina: “I live in a cave.”

I never found out where that answer came from.

Earth Sign

11. With the proper pre-Korea planning, all Canadians can enjoy delightful meals of POUTINE while in Korea. Just bring along gravy mix, spices and buy some mozza-cheese from COSTCO once you’ve arrived and you’re all set. Mmmmmm Canadian food tastes so good. This is actual photo proof of such culinary achievement in Korea.


12. I have amazing friends and family :) Thank-you to all the people who have sent me letters/cards :) I absolutely love reading them! I have you on a list and I’ll be sending you Christmas cards in the near future :)

Cards from home!

Even if you haven’t sent cards/letters, I probably still think you’re awesome ;) Have a lovely day/night everyone!

That’s about it for now! I hope you’re all doing well :)