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Woooo. I’ve had a busy week and ideally I would have posted about some of the things that happened before now but, you know, I was busy. Bear with my while I go through the list of the up-dates.

1. Old Teachers Leaving!

This month, two teachers left CDI because their teaching contract were up. In the next month or two, there will be another teacher leaving, who also happens to be the head instructor for my reading classes. The first teacher who left worked in the classroom next to mine and I ended up taking over her Friday Birdie Listening class. I also took two of the posters she left behind. One was a motivation poster of an ORIGINALITY chimpanzee (which my students have brought up in discussions many, many times) and the other was a poster of Martin Luther King Jr. and his I Have a Dream speech.

2. New Teachers Arriving!

When a old teacher leaves, a new teacher has to arrive to fill the void. CDI had two new teachers arrive this past week, Derrika, who’s friends with one of the gals I trained with, and Jo(seph). April will also be getting a new teacher, Christopher, tomorrow even though they don’t have a teacher leaving. Hopefully the new teacher will be a good thing; from what I’ve heard, April sounds a little unstable and more teachers should inject a little stability into the classes. Derrika, Jo and Chris are kind of lucky to be coming in now as the term is ending because they get to start fresh instead of picking up other peoples classes like I did (not that I’m complaining. I had good classes this term).
3. End of Winter Term!

Last Friday was the last day of Winter Term 2009/2010. We ended up celebrating the end of term (and starting off the new term with over 1,000 students, woo-hoo!) and the departure of one of the teachers by going to dinner (paid for by CDI) and then noraebang. Always fun.

Overall it was a good term but there were several downs to balance out the many ups. I’ve picked up some tips and tricks from other teachers and I’ve made a list of things that I definitely WON’T be doing again next term (and looking at you Pizza Party. Not worth it.) Which brings me to…

4. Start of Spring Term!

I decided to set up a Prize Box for my kids. My rules for the prize box: if on Week 13, you have completed ALL homework, you can choose a prize from the Prize Box. Additionally, if anyone posts their Critical Thinking Projects on Cross Cafe (and I realized I haven’t explained about that yet…) then the one who posted the creative and well put together CTP will get to choose a prize. For some classes, I’ll likely give out several prizes for homework while others… will likely not earn any prizes.

And since HomePlus was having a sweeeeeet sale on classroom items, I went ahead and bought the prizes for the Prize Box:

Good prizes, yes? Hey, I'd do my homework to get some of this stuff.

Check out the Sgt. Frog/ Keroro Gunso set. They’re OIL PASTELS. FOR ₩1,000 (or less than $1). I’m tempted to go back to HomePlus and get some for myself.

As for the term itself… I was originally set to teach 10 classes (I started out with 8 this term and had 9 by the end) which I was a little dismayed about. But then it grew on me (and the higher paycheck was certainly nice) and I accepted it. Then they took away one of my classes… and another one of my classes… so now I’m back down to 8. Even though I was already prepared to teach 10 classes and had all the welcome packages printed out for the classes I’m no longer teaching… Ooooooooh weeeeeellll.

5. Holiday!

Tomorrow is a holiday. I mostly just added this so I remember to post about it tomorrow

6. Olympics!

I think partially because I was shielded by having to work but… I really didn’t hear very much about the Olympics. I saw some advertisements at HomePlus about Kim Yu-Na but… not much else. Although I played Olympic-themed hangman with my Friday class for our last day, with the word TORCH and the sentences YUNA KIM WON THE GOLD! and SHAUN WHITE IS AN AWESOME SNOW BOARDER! I was slightly surprised to see they knew a good amount about Shaun White. But when I asked them what he looked like, they couldn’t really tell me. So I drew a stick figure picture of him with his long red hair and one of my students gasps and yells out ‘He’s a boy?!’ As in, boy’s shouldn’t have long hair.

However, even if Korea didn’t seem to get into the Olympic spirit as much as I thought they might, it is fun talking about the Olympics with my co-workers. We hail from the United States, Canada, Australia and South Africa.

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In August when my departure was delayed, I was told the earliest time I could leave was probably December. Today I received the final contract from Chung Dahm Learning and they want me to start training in Seoul on November 23rd. Which means I need to arrive by November 20th. Which probably means that I’ll be leaving the country on November 19th. So sooooooon!

But I now know that I’ll be teaching in Gumi (구미시), South Korea, which is a “mid-sized city” in the Gyeoungsang (경상도) province (or Yeongnam (영남) region – I can’t figure which one is more correct) in the east. The region is where the first unified Korean country, Silla (신라), was formed. Very cool.

This new departure/arrival time is a little bit daunting because I haven’t even packed/ don’t know if I even have everything I need yet/ have to now quit my job, like, three days ago to give proper two-weeks notice/ still know basically no Korean. I better start getting ready.

As of my last post, I had made a good amount of progress and more or less kept to my goal of studying Korean for an hour a night.

As of this post… Let’s just say, I’ve been side-tracked. But with good reason.

For the past week, I’ve been getting over this pain-in-the-butt cold. At first I had a sore throat and stuffed nose. That eventually progressed into an even more stuffed nose that was just unbelievably annoying since everything seemed to irritate it. Including stuff I have to handle regularly at my job, where I don’t have immediate access to tissues or anything else I could use to blow my nose. And through it all, my most problematic symptom was exhaustion. I had about enough energy to get through work and not much else. Especially by yesterday. I was pretty much dead on my feet yesterday.

Thankfully, today I had a day off so last night I went to be at the early hour (for me) of 11pm and slept for about 12 hours. And then I pretty much lazed around for the rest of the day since I think there’s still just a little bit of cold lingering.

BUT! I did manage to study for around two hours today. Unfortunately, when I tried to pick U2L2 (Unit 2 Lesson 2) back up again I had some issues with it (although all things considered, I’m impressed that I actually remembered a lot from U2L1 and U2L1). So I redid the Core Lessons of Lesson 1 and Lesson 2 before finishing off the last couple activities of Lessons 2.

I have to work tomorrow, so it sounds like I’ll probably just be reviewing stuff. But Wednesday I have another day off so HOPEFULLY I’ll be able to move ahead with U2L3.

As it turns out, learning Korean numbers wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be but it was still a challenge at first. It was tough to master 1-6, especially because there are two different sets of numbers in Korean: one set in Native Korean and one set in Sino-Korean, which is influenced by Chinese. I still haven’t figured out exactly when which is used when, but Native Korean is used for counting things. I’ve heard Sino-Korean is for telling time but I haven’t gotten to that in Rosetta Stone yet. Luckily, once you have 1-6 (reasonably) down, Rosetta Stone is set up to make it easier to learn later numbers.

I’ve just started Lesson 2 of Unit 2 (woo-hoo!). In L1U2, they introduce numbers 7-12. But they mix them up with the 1-6 numbers that you (should) already know, so its easier to remember the new numbers. And L2U2 is continuing to drill numbers and colors while introducing new information.

As for the progress on procrastination, I’ve been doing really well with studying, but unfortunately not 1-hour-a-day well. It’s a little difficult since my work schedule sometimes makes it difficult to study for an hour. This weekend I worked both Saturday and Sunday. I probably could have studied on Saturday but chose to watch a movie with my family instead. And Sunday I was waaaaay to pooped. BUT – to make up for not studying this weekend, I studied for over an hour today. I went back to Unit 1 of Rosetta Stone and made sure I had 100% correctness on all my lessons (except the Pronunciation lessons…), then chunked out the beginnings of L1U2 and L2U2.

And I found some new Korean language resources (now on the Korean Sites page), so it was a pretty good day for me, in terms of learning Korean.

One of the side effects I always experience when learning a new language (and I hope I’m not the only one…) is that when I try to speak the language or even just focus on learning the new vocabulary I get really, really tired. I’m the kind of person who can (despite being vertically challenge) do physically demanding things and end up with sore muscles and no sleepiness but then do something that’s mentally challenging and just feel exhausted and in great need of a nap. Because of this, I’ve been seriously procrastinating with learning Korean. The upside to Rosetta Stone is you can study it whenever you want. The downside is it doesn’t force you into a schedule like a class would. I promised myself I’d study for an hour a day (eventually increasing the time once it stopped exhausting my poor little brain). Sadly… I think I’ve kept that promise far less often than I’ve broken it.

BUT THEN! I was wondering around WordPress and I found another blog that’s pretty much doing the same thing I’m doing (Yeah, I figured I wasn’t even close to original with my little blog). Chocokorea’s Bold Korean Learning Adventure: Language Learning Journal. Okay, so this blog kicks my blogs butt (Have mercy I’m only a few weeks old!). Of course, I’m doing this mostly  for me, so it’s fine if my blog’s not the next inspiration for a Perez Hilton empire or a Julie & Julia-esque movie. But I do like a lot of the features Chocokorea has and will definitely be checking out the resources provided. And I will be forcing myself to, at the very least (if I can’t rally my strength for Rosetta Stone), practice writing hangul everyday.

On that note,  looking at other Korea blogs, I think I will have to start including hangul in my entries. I feel it’s a must. Plus it looks cool.