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So in January, I was teaching NIE3, the newspaper writing class, for the second time. But of course, it would have made too much sense for the files from the first time I taught it to have been saved… and the vast majority of them weren’t. Out of three levels, what I still had from the level 3 class I designed and a few of the files the level 1 teacher kept were all we had going into the Winter Intensives… Not good. It basically meant I spent December designing not one but three classes. And that is why my blog has been dead for a while.

However that did allow me to go back and make them fit together nicely. Before, the three teachers kind of did their own thing but this time around, the classes followed a much more similar structure. The material was at different levels of difficulty though.

And I will not allow these files to be lost again. That’s two months of hard work (although if you count the other teachers and my triple-time work – that’s six months of hard work). I’m not planning on being here to teach the class a third time but I’m definitely planning on updating these files for a new term and making some kind of quick handbook so it can continue to be taught. I don’t want this class to die. Not just because I’ve worked hard on it but also because the students really have fun reading articles and writing their own and it’s clearly helpful for them to get that extra practical practice instead of reading canned articles that are written with a certain skill set in mind (not that canned articles don’t have their place…).

Teaching this class a second time has made me realize one thing though – the internet is wonderful! There are a lot of resources on the web for designing projects like this. The first time around us teachers were having a hard time finding level appropriate articles and about halfway through December I found a whole bunch of websites that not only have articles for kids (and sometimes written by kids) but also there are actually resources out there to teach kids how to read and write newspaper articles.

Serious, this kind of class is so much cooler for kids than a standard English/language arts class. I really think more schools should adopt programs where kids can actually apply the skills they are learning in a way that mimics the more ‘adult world’. Science Fairs are basically awesome. Why not have a fair for other subjects too, not just the ones that are inherently awesome like Science. Try-Math-A-Lons are okay too.

I guess what I’m trying to say is let’s have a culture of innovation and exploration, rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty, learning by doing. Take chances, make mistakes, get messy! The United States kind of has that. Korea… not so much. But that is for another post.

As a final thought for this post, after teaching the class, I worked my butt off again to get the newspaper ready. Last time around, a “marketing guy” (as he was called) designed the newspaper and it… was okay. But there were lots of stupid errors that shouldn’t have been there. And the newspaper was honestly nothing amazing in the design department considering it was made by a “market guy”. This time around, I was determined to make it awesome. Or as close to awesome as I could. Unfortunately, the original template was not saved so again I had to make it from scratch. After being told the dimensions of the newspaper AFTER I designed it (and having to go back and expand everything), I was also told I could only have one sheet of paper instead of the three that I needed (the last newspaper was only one sheet). Which was ridiculous because I had more students than last time and they wrote much longer articles. I was able to negotiate up to two sheets… although even that was still too little. But I had to work with what I got.

And when it’s finally printed, I’ll post it.

* Editing Note After The Fact: YAY! MY 100th POST!*

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It’s time to play catch-up with my blog posts and I find myself in a good opportunity to do that… because I’ve been locked out of my apartment.

This term, four teachers are leaving. Unfortunately for them, they were told they needed to be out of their apartments by 1pm on Saturday when in reality they needed to be out on Friday so their apartments could be speed cleaned and the new teachers who were coming in could move into their places. Which meant lots of last minute scrambling. Kevin is one of the teachers leaving and he asked me to keep his dog, Maika, yesterday and over night so she didn’t get freaked out by the cleaners.

Today, I had to go into work at 11am to train the new teachers and since Kevin was in the middle of moving his stuff, I let him borrow my key so he could pick Maika  up when he finished. Which is how I got locked out of my apartment. Because he came to pick up the last of his things at work… and did not leave my key behind. Sadly, my only remaining spare key has somehow gotten warped and no longer works.

But now I’m 100% ready for the next term, which is going to be interesting. On the one hand, I’m teaching 27 hours but only three different class. Also, I’ve already taught 2 of them, so only one class to prep (as opposed to this term, which some weeks I had to prep up to 6 lessons per week). On the other hand, with Kevin and Ruth – who were  the Listening and Memory  Head Instructors respectively – gone, that has left only two HIs to head instruct the programs.  Next term, I’ll be the one watching the CCTVs for both reading and listening classes. Yay?

On the bright side, waaaaaaay fewer meetings this term. Honestly, that was more time consuming that the CCTV watching anyway so I don’t mind taking on the duties of another program.

Anyway, here’s my schedule for this term:

CDI has a lot of new changes this term (which is another thing that will make this term interesting) and one of them is that Bridge classes are merged. Basically that means instead of one teacher teaching the reading class and one teacher teaching the listening class, the students will have the same teacher in their reading and listening class. Which, honestly, I think is a great idea for Bridge students. It’s a hard level for them so having that consistency is helpful. Also, this term I teach all the Albatross+ students for reading and listening so those classes should have a certain amount of consistency too.

 

So after managing only one post per month in both December and January, I’m going to ease myself gently back into blogging. Although honestly, with the exception of a visit from a certain awesome English teacher in Japan, January was mostly uneventful. It was really cold and I was teaching an extra nine hours a week for Winter Intensives. Which I’ll get around to blogging about eventually. Despite all the extra work (and boy howdy, it was A. LOT. OF. EXTRA. WORK.), I really enjoy the class I taught – NIE3, the same one I taught for Summer Intensives.

Anyway, the other thing I did this January was foster for a short time a schnauzer named Lucy. She’s also a rescue from the Asan shelter and fostering her kind of fell into my lap. The woman who was going to foster her has cats and Lucy turned out to be aggressive towards them (at least at the time; no aggression since) and one of my co-workers wanted to foster and maybe adopt a schnauzer. So I took her for two weeks until he was able to take her in.

Lucy takes her staring very seriously. You will pet her.

While I don’t know Lucy’s whole story, I’m fairly sure she was a street dog before she was a shelter dog. But for being both of those things, she was surprisingly affectionate, well-behaved and obedient. What more could a foster ask for? She caused me (almost) no trouble. Aside from going through my trash when I was at work.

Marty was indifferent towards her.

One interesting side effect of having Lucy here for a few weeks is that it’s finally clicked for Marty that I’m 100% boss. Before he had been having issues with obedience on occasions when his stubborn Yorkie instincts wanted him to, say, run away on his short little legs in the park even though I can catch up to him just by walking briskly. (On a side note, I’ve also realized Marty is not a Yorkshire terrier, but a Maltese Yorkie cross. A morkie if you will. Or a Yorktese but… that sounds gross.)

So I decided to take my new found, not-working-an-extra-9-hours-a-week time to train Marty in playtime skills because, being a shelter dog, he is horrible at playing. Today, I was teaching him how to play hide and seek with a ball and he impressed me. I pretended to hide the ball in three different places while he stayed on the other side of the apartment (something he put up a fight about doing pre-Lucy), putting it in the middle place and making noise etc. so he couldn’t figure out by watching where I hid it. And he went to exactly the right spot as soon as I told him to go. And then he walked right past the ball because he’s blind in one eye and couldn’t see it in the darkness. But eventually he got the toy, because Marty is handicapable.

Coming soon: More serious blog entries on Korea and/or work related things.