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Comment count is 16
MissLadyArtemis - 2014-03-23

Hellz Yeah.

exy - 2014-03-23

I gotta show this to my choreographer friends.

Billy the Poet - 2014-03-23

Sick moves, bro.

dementomstie - 2014-03-23

With dance like this being taught in Korean public schools no wonder we've never won Battle Of The Year http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1532958/

oddeye - 2014-03-23

How come you have to click the box and watch it on youtube? Can we update the link to one that's embedded, do you know?

1394 - 2014-03-23

Here just click this one. http://bit.ly/1gOcZcG

oddeye - 2014-03-23

You are a legend, thank you.

Rodents of Unusual Size - 2014-03-23

I basically had to do this several times a week.

Though, I didn't have this guys moves.

Now I just feel inadequate.

Aelric - 2014-03-24

Korea basically thinks it knows how to teach English better than the English teachers they hire. Songs and games are fine for the littlest of kids, but when you get into Middle School, you see the same curriculum repeated and the expectations of the administration remains the same, songs, dances, zero writing (especially any form of creative) and zero homework/graded tests.

On one hand, when they get to Middle School, they take on a workload that rivals an adult working two jobs. Between school, homeowner and cram school, the middle school kids are working 16 hour days. On that note, I abandoned homework because I just found even the best students would just cheat, there was no way to regulate it. But I stood my ground for everything else. I played the dancing monkey for my first semester and utterly loathed it, got nothing done and only got the kids to fall in line with candy bribes. Over the break, I determined that I wasn't going to do that anymore and I'd rather quit, so I went back ready to have my last day, everyday to find that my direct supervisor had been replaced with a lady that spent 10 years in Canada. I got lucky, she agreed with my methods (really rare in Korea) and we were able to start getting real grammar, real writing and real grades into the classes. We had fight after fight after fight with the administration,but luckily with a competent Korean teacher helping advocate things and protecting me from any real consequence, we were able to do what we wanted. Kind of split the English Department away from the rest of the school. Over the course of two years, the students nationalized tests went up about 80% and my school scored highest in the district. Our reward for these results was to being told that the administration didn't like what was happening and was going tin involve the government. They didn't renew my contract, my supervisor was transferred to another school and they dismantled the whole program. Not EPIK doesn't even do anything other than grade school, from what I hear.

It was the only time in my life I can say I was doing the right thing in the face of adversity and winning and I can only hope that the 1000 or so kids I taught those two years got something from that. the students actually protested when my supervisor got transferred, she was the schools favorite teacher. Didn't change anything though. Her replacement was an 70 year old woman that couldn't speak any English at all and my replacement was a 21-year old day care worker.

Korea is a great place, and the students have fantastic potential, but the administration is so far up it's own ass that I think it'll be another generation before they find the right balance in their educational policies. Hell, within the next 5 years I predict they will have to mea culpa and expand EPIK into middle and high school again as their precious national test scores dive down once again. That is if they don't just blame Japan for it.

You guys may remember I used to scream and screech about how much I hated Korea when I lived their, just like you seem to these days, ROUS. The incompetence in charge, the inflexibility, the outright fear towards the outside and anything new or out of the ordinary. But after I was shocked by how much I missed the place after I was gone, almost immediately. Hell, I'd go back if I could, Thailand turned out to be a real shitshow and China, when I'm headed next month, hardly has the best of reputations for ESL. Maybe it's because I liked the fight, I dunno, but I really wish I were back there. If nothing else, at least my students liked me, and having 1000 kids high fiving you when you walk down the hallway can really make you think that you still have unresolved school issues and that is why you became a teacher. Also it feels awesome.

Rodents of Unusual Size - 2014-03-24

I just got back after two years abroad. But if I do teach ESL again it might be in South America. They don't pay a lot but I have always wanted to go and my Spanish is better than my Korean.

Aelric, you and I had the same job but I really feel for you because I had a much better experience with the curriculum. Although I had the same problem with Korea culturally, as well as the national standardized tests and the egotism and cronyism involved with a lot of placements (75% of all K teachers who take the English teacher exam are passed no matter what due to a quota) and materials, I was also allowed to do a LOT on my own. One of my schools was better than the other. But both let me have my own classes where I could do whatever lessons I wanted. I also planned four separate English camps with about 12 weeks total of my own lesson plans entirely. So I was able to do a LOT of really fun activities that actually taught English. In addition to this, the better school had an English department run by a woman who had lived abroad in India for five years running an orphanage. Her English was very good but her dedication far outweighed that of administrators. She very carefully allowed us to gently put aside the book curriculum so that the majority of my classes were spent in a specially crafted immersion based reading program with native children's books. The kids loved this for the most part. It was more challenging, they learned more. We covered the basics and the test scores were so high they gave us money for extra materials. I did a LOT of acting out what words meant in class and came up with hundreds of really fun games, a lot of which were geared towards getting the kids to use English in a way where they understood what the hell they were saying instead of parroting.

I had a few really egotistical co teachers, one of whom was fired for physically threatening to beat up other teachers (she had screamed at me for no reason several times during class and this is utterly taboo over there but worse she reduced children to tears weekly). I never even complained about her (I wanted to) but they gave her the boot. I think that the thing I took from that was the old guard authoritarian structure is slowly going the way of the dodo to be replaced by a gentler system. Sometimes that works and other times it is complete chaos because they didn't bother to replace it with a more thorough system ala detention etc.

My main problems were with the bizarre requests I would receive to judge English contests where students were asked to memorize ridiculous amounts of poetry, songs and even, I shit you not, Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address which almost no one could do after a year of giving them time, not that I blame any of them. Because a) they were 3 to 6 graders and b) who the HELL cares?

I was also asked to write a school play and after various Disney themed adaptations were rejected I threw something together with Super Mario characters going to a haunted castle to find treasure, ending with a fairy tale wedding and Mario getting a job as a zookeeper. It won 2nd place in the province and so my principal decided I was awesome.

Mostly though my physical health was so bad due to pollution, allergies, and a series of illnesses I had no choice but to leave but I went out on a good note so I'm really okay with that.

In short, it really depends on the school you wind up with. For me the job was great but the food, weather, and living conditions are fucking abysmal. I'm just glad my chest doesn't hurt anymore. Literally I was in agony for a month before I left from intense allergy attacks and the severe pain dissipated within a day of being back. God bless the USA.

Aelric - 2014-03-25

ROUS, I WAS able to get things done, it's just that it was limited to a year and a half. Thanks to Mrs. Ha Junghee, the aforementioned allied teacher, I was able to do what I wanted and made the classes work. It was a fight at times, and the assholes 'won' in the end, but I got to three grades for nearly two years, and that was progress to me. I don't expect any position to be great, progress is a lumbering beats, especially in Asian cultures where tradition for tradition's sake often supplants improvement. But the point was that I DID get to do what I wanted. Being older kids, I focused on some pure subject matter, specifically treating the students like the adults they far too quickly have to become. I'd use humor and honesty, hell, I was doing ask me anythings with a hat and anonymous slips of paper before Reddit, which was a students favorite because they did have curiosity, it was just stifled in all that rote memorization they are forced to use.

I can't agree with you on the food. You are nuts, Korean food is goddamn tasty. The pollution never bothered me much, but being in Busan near the ocean, I think a lot of it got blown away in the sea winds. I also had a pretty nice apartment. I took another teacher back to my place after a date once and she was amazed at how big it was, her own place being about the size of a utility closet. I was in Dongnae-Gu district, too, which was a nice historic district with a university nearby, a Lotte and HomePlus acroos the street, subway a three minute walk away, my school a 5 minute walk away, a cable car that went up the mountain any time I wanted to see some nature one subway stop away and a tight-knit group of younger post-grad expats (not the creepy old fucks with 15 year old wives I had to work with in Thailand) throughout the city that I'd go drinking with every weekend. The life itself was fine, and the work wasn't that bad. The parts that sucked for me the most was the overt discrimination, old men spitting on me in the subway, getting service refused at a hotel, being served literal trash at a restaurant once because they thought that was a funny joke, stuff like that, which most people didn't experience. I was just really unlucky like that.

I DID get sick more often there than ever before, but that was almost always tied to food poisoning or drinking too much. Once during Chuseok, I drank rum and cokes for about two days straight and then had H1N1 whose symptoms manifest inside that three-day hangover and laid me out for two weeks. That needed a trip to the hospital and I had to eat into my vacation days because I had already used too many sick days. Oddly enough, that was the last time I've even been sick. I'm been hungover since then, and I got food poisoning fairly bad when I first moved to Thailand, but that was the last virus/bacteria sick I ever got.

I think everyone should do a year or two abroad. It's eye opening, and while it's frustrating at times, you really do take something better back from it so long as you let the hate go once you are gone. Except Thailand, stay the fuck out of Thailand, there isn't sick good their unless you are a retiree, sex tourist or both.

Aelric - 2014-03-25

Err, Isn't shit good there. And other typos, I'm sure.

That guy - 2014-03-25

What's important is that you both found each other.
Omegele, already

Rodents of Unusual Size - 2014-03-26

I would have killed for a nice apartment. Mine was awful. One of my neighbors was an elderly man who nearly burned his apartment down 3 times, not to mention the various times I found my apartment door just open and the manager or owner just casually going through my things, despite my insistence they not do that. There were consistent mold problems and when I first moved in a cockroach infestation. UGH. And the smell in general was abysmal. I could never go back there due to all the storm sewer grates and the smells that wafted up from them.

I didn't have a lot of problems with people being racist quite on the level that you did. It was more subtle, like street vendors handing me rotten fruit after I pointed to perfectly good fruit, and being denied entry to places on occasion. What made me far angrier was the way Koreans treat people who are mixed, especially mixed children who are part Japanese or Filipino. It's fucking disgusting amounts of neglect/abuse that go on there.

Busan is a pretty cool town. I visited there before I left. I really dug the gardens and trails near Hyundae.

Anyway, Aelric, you should email me if you want to be FB friends.

[email protected]

infinite zest - 2014-03-23

Empty Desks Without Children

infinite zest - 2014-03-23

Also "Hikinging"

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