Well discipline in the 6th grade still isn’t that great and the kids continue to be a pretty rowdy bunch! Sunghee has started to yell at them when they’re being out of control, but it always seems to be too late. It seems that she waits to yell until she’s already really frustrated and she comes off as really angry, and from what I can tell, the students think she’s being unreasonable. So they get mad and frustrated with her, because they think they’re being screamed at for no apparent reason or that she’s over-reacting. Later on in the week, Junseok threw some kid’s notebook out the window. (Our English classroom is on the 2nd story.) I kind of yelled at him and told him to go get it, and he just kept saying things to me in Korean. A bunch of other students told Sunghee, and she didn’t say anything. So I went downstairs and outside to get it. When I came back, some girls told me that he threw one of their combs out the window. Sunghee said nothing. Then Junseok threw a book across the room. I had a feeling the kids behind him were giving him a hard time, so I’m assuming the book was meant for them, but it hit some other kid in the head who was sitting in the back of the classroom. Sunghee then says something to the kid that got hit, and from his reaction (the look of “Are you kidding me?!), I’m guessing she yelled at him. She also moved the two boys behind Junseok a foot farther back. I understand that the boys were the reason Junseok was acting that way, but it’s still not okay for him to act that way and be violent in the classroom. I really hope that there can be a meeting between Sunghee, Seunghee, and me soon so we can talk about what needs to change!
I had the 5th graders play a Minsweeper game with The Incredibles characters. Success!! They loved it! Later in the week, I edited the game to fit in with the 6th graders’ lesson and they loved it too! Some classes even asked to stay in class later so they could continue playing it. Yay! Minesweeper rocks!
For the 4th graders this week, I made up an activity for a rotating conversation. There are usually 4 students in each group, so each student was responsible for saying their assigned sentence. When they finished, they would pass their sentence to the person to their right and start over again. The kids were kind of crazy and I didn’t think it went as well as I expected. But then I heard my co-teacher Hosun telling Seunghee the next day how much fun it was… Hmm awesome! Another success!
For our Tuesday night dinner this week, Karima and I went out with a group of people to have some black pork. Before I came to Jeju, I was reading online that black pork is somewhat of a delicacy on the island. (And just to verify, the pigs are black, not their meat.) It was pretty tasty! Another delicious Korean BBQ meal!
I’m still taking the hip hop dance class, and we’re almost done with the choreography for Usher’s song “Dive.” It’s pretty fun!! And a nice way to exercise!
On Friday, the 6-3 class was AWESOME!! Not many behavior issues at all! All that had to be done was have their homeroom teacher sit in class. I think she maybe got up and whispered something to a few students, otherwise she just sat there reading her book. That’s all it took to have the kids be angels (well as angelic as possible for them) again! It was great!
After school on Friday, Seunghee drove me to the airport. I’m heading up to Seoul to hang out with Eunmi for the weekend!! She’s taking some classes in another city in Korea before she leaves to go teach in Hawaii for a few months. So she’s taking the train to Seoul and we’re meeting up after I land. I’m so excited to see her!! After we met up, we dropped my stuff off at her friend’s apartment where we’ll be staying for the weekend. Her friend went camping for the weekend and let us stay there while she’s gone. Then we headed to Itaewon for some drinks and chatted for a couple hours.
Namsan Seoul Tower
Saturday morning we headed off to Namsan Seoul Tower! We took a cable car to the top of the hill where the tower sits. We didn’t go up to the observation deck but just hung out at the base of the tower.
There were millions of love locks all over covering fences, benches, and basically anything that a lock can fit on. It was a little insane. (For those of you that are not in the know, a love lock is a pad lock that couples or friends write a little message on, lock it to something, and throw away the key so no one can unlock their love.) I’m very curious as to how many of these relationships have stood the test of time and never been unlocked. Eunmi and I slipped into this little restaurant overlooking the City of Seoul and shared a waffle for a late morning snack.
Next we wanted to head to Insadong for some souvenir shopping. We took the cable car back down and then after that, had to take an elevator down to the sidewalk to get a cab. We were both really surprised when the elevator didn’t go straight down, but down diagonally at a 45° angle! Haha pretty cool!
We were both expecting Insadong to be this old Korean style marketplace street… It seemed pretty modern. Regardless, there were still many souvenirs, food, and clothes to keep us reaching for our wallets! We were able to abstain from buying food and clothes, but souvenirs got the best of us.
Later on, we headed to Deoksu-goong. Deoksu-goong is one of the Five Grand Palaces built by the kings of the Joseon Dynasty. It was very peaceful and beautiful. We ended up getting there around sunset, so it wasn’t packed with people, which is always nice! One of the buildings housed an art project. It was a piece of artwork made up of many “chairs” coming out of the floor and it was made with this really shiny, reflective plastic material. Pretty awesome! So we went in there and sat around for a while, really taking in the beauty and comfortability! (For those of you that question my vocabulary on that last one, comfortability is listed on Urban Dictionary. And even if it wasn’t, you still understand what I mean. Haha)
Before heading back to Eunmi’s friend’s place for the night, we stopped in Dunkin Donuts for some coffee and donuts!
After we got back, Eunmi said that her friend had prepared us some galbi that we could heat up for dinner. We already had dinner, but a little late night snack/meal every once in a while never hurt anybody. So we cooked that up and made some rice and watched movies for the rest of the night.
Sunday morning, we woke up late and then rushed to get ready! Eunmi wanted to get to Gyeongbok-goong in time for the English tour of the palace grounds. We got a taxi, but he dropped us off on the completely opposite side of the palace grounds where the English tour meets. So we walked as fast as we could, getting lost a few times, because all the men we asked apparently didn’t know how to give directions very well… We made it in time though.
This place is huge! There were so many buildings. Gyeongbok-goong was the main palace of the Joseon Dynasty and the largest. I was shocked to hear that in the construction of all these buildings, not a single nail was used! They built the buildings using wood brackets.
The Queen’s garden was pretty cool. There were 4 levels to it and each level was for the different seasons. So plants/flowers that bloom in spring were planted on one level, the ones that bloom in summer on another, etc.
We also got to see the changing of the guards at the front gate of the palace, which was kinda neat. I also enjoyed their painted on/glued on facial hair.
On our way out, I had my picture taken with a group of elementary boys. They were on a trip and doing a mission (scavenger hunt I’m assuming) and one of their missions was to get a picture with a waygook! (foreigner)
After lunch, we headed to Riverside Park along the Han River. We rode on some swan paddle boats that a friend of mine suggested. It was really nice! We got some exercise, while still kind of relaxing, and we got to chat and look at the beautiful scenery!
We also walked through the “Measuring Worm.” It’s an elevated walkway with a couple restaurants and coffee shops inside. There was also a photography exhibit of pictures from around the world. Pretty awesome! Finally, we took a little nap on the grass for about an hour before heading back to the train station so I could head back to the airport.