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"So I guess this is where I'm supposed to introduce myself. I'm a Canadian male teaching ESL in Seoul, Republic of Korea. This will be my second stint teaching ESL, only this time I'll be teaching at a High School, using my actual teaching experience to use. If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me - no question's too small. Take care, and enjoy the ride."

Other Blogs of Note

  • Student in Korea
  • Seoul Man
  • The Daily Kimchi
  • Surviving South Korea
  • Books I'm Reading

  • "Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire" by Niall Ferguson
  • "Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World" by Haruki Murakami
  • "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order" by Samuel P. Huntington
  • "The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth" by Benjamin M Friedman
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  • Second Post Today...bonus Thursday, March 06, 2008 |

    So this past week, two things came to light that I thought I would bring up vis a vis the old blog.

    One, I've almost always taken the local village bus to work. Yes, I'm lazy, and I would rather have the extra time to sleep in, and two, when its freezing cold outside, the twenty-thirty minute walk isn't up my alley. So there.

    So I take the bus, and this past week, after a nice long break, school started back up. Not that it really ever stopped, but for the most part, all students started coming back to classes.

    Now, Koreans have a similar education enrollment system like that in North America - you can send your child to any school that you would like, provided a) the school has room for all of their local students first, and then other students who wish to attend their school, and b) you can get your child to school if they aren't within a reasonable distance. So on my village bus, which goes through most major neighbourhoods, two things became startling. One, Korean children don't show their "scared" nature very strongly. On my village bus, two children, one can't be any older than studying in FIRST GRADE takes the bus every day. Not only does he stand at the bus stop by himself, but he walks up, flags the bus down (all 2.5 of the kid) and promptly marches up, drops his 1000 Won into the payment slot, and proudly counts to make sure that he has the correct change. The other child is probably studying in around Third grade, which is an accomplishment in itself. Not only that, but these kids talk to the local retired folks on the bus, who, on more than on occasion remind them "shouldn't you be in school" to which they say something to the tune of "I am - I am going now" to the retiree's shock. This shocks me, only because I can't remember the first time I took public transportation on my own, and I grew up in a relatively small city compared to where I am teaching now...these kids have quite the courage...I'm duly impressed.

    The other thing is that all middle and high school students must wear a uniform to school everyday. Now, once they enter school, many of them take out their name-brand sweaters, coats, and change their uniforms in a multitude of ways, to maximize their wealth, or ability to look spiffy.

    The comical thing is that each day, the students must walk through the school gates and pass inspection by students who have failed uniform inspection more than few times. So the students who are caught multiple times must show up early, in perfect uniform, and be 'inspectors", and try to catch students sneaking in without wearing their full uniform. Now, usually students forget their zipper tie the most. So students often will find other students playing basketball who have already passed inspection, and "bribe" them for their ties- you only need your tie to pass inspection, after that, its discarded faster than yesterdays homework. Well, the school has instituted a new policy for the "inspectors" - they must meet a certain "quota" before they can leave their post. So what was before a somber group of inspectors trying to find people sneaking into school, fulfilling their "weekly" commitment has now become a group of seriously motivated "inspectors" chasing students all over the walkway leading up to the entrance gate. Its quite comical just watching them - students will go as far as robbing their best friend of their necktie, throwing it over the fence, and then watch as they get reported. It takes multiple uniform infractions before students change their post, however, the comedy I get to watch each morning walking into work makes me think I'm going to miss this year...

    have a great week all, and

    God bless

    starting to wrap things up... |

    So things are finally starting to slow down. I know its been a while since my last post, and I'm realizing that I haven't even had the time to post that I'm almost done with Korea, possibly for good. Last time I was in this situation, I was torn with leaving Korea, and feeling like I could easily see myself going back, if no jobs arise upon returning to Canada. Well, another year has come and gone, and I'm just about finished up with Korea. I'll be coming home sometime in March, and hopefully finding a teaching job in Ontario, shortly after arriving at home. I know that I'll be coming home to a market where teachers are begging to be hired, but I'm hoping that my three years of teaching experience teaching something will mean that I have a better chance at getting a job than some other people coming straight out of Teachers College. So we'll see where that job situation ends up.

    I'm not fully into retrospective mode yet, or reflective yet on my past three years, or one year teaching at my present school, so I'll finish the old blog off somehow else once I arrive back home, where I can give it a better go than right now, where things are still fresh in my mind, as I'm still teaching, working, and, less proudly, still not packed even though I'm scheduled to move out the bulk of my stuff this weekend...once a procrastinator, always a procrastinator. So enjoy the last posts while you can, because sooner or later, this good thing will come to an end.

    have a great day all, and God bless,