Friday, May 30, 2014

The week in review: 5/26/14 - 5/30/14

[As you know, John is currently visiting me here in Korea. As a result, this week's review is a bit more in-depth, as it includes school details plus John's solo days and our evenings together.]

Inhalers and shabu shabu dinner
I had trouble sleeping last night because I kept coughing, so it was a long, tired day at school. Sixth graders started a new unit about expressions used when making phone calls. YH mentioned that we have a "business meeting" tomorrow afternoon. I don't know where it is, but I think he's driving me. All I know is that we're leaving at two. My second grade after school class learned Five Little Monkeys which they liked, but I really killed my voice that period. And my first graders learned shapes - we made some out of pipe cleaners.

John went into Seoul by himself today and ventured around Itaewon, the foreigners' district. He ended up seeing a doctor to get a prescription for his inhaler so that he could buy some here at a Korea pharmacy for $9 each. So smart for Americans to take advantage of cheaper medical costs when abroad!

We went and had shabu shabu in town for dinner. So delicious but I am sooo full!


Business meeting and Korean street food
Sixth grade classes went well with YJ. She told me that Thursday is picture day, so I should dress up. Then two o'clock rolled around and passed. My other co-teacher and I actually left around 2:20 for the "business meeting". On the way he mentioned which period from the book we'll be doing for our open class in June, and something about a consultant. Wait what?? We're meeting with someone to discuss our lesson plans for this open class, and I haven't even seen the period in the book yet? After we signed in and got seated, it became clear that yes - each English teacher with an upcoming open class would be paired with a "consultant" to talk about lesson plan ideas and get advice. All of the handouts were in Korean. One I think is a rubric of what we'll be evaluated on, so it would have been helpful to have that information in English. I'm not sure if my co-teacher will ever have time to sit down and translate it with me. I wish I would have known what the meeting was about ahead of time, so I could have prepared some ideas and questions about the lesson to make use of our consultant's time and expertise. So the trip felt a bit of a waste.

John went into Bundang today, a wealthy suburb just 45 minutes from my town by bus. It has its own subway line, which is connected to metro lines in Seoul. He enjoyed himself in an arcade that afternoon. We got some Korean street food (ddeokbokki) for dinner, plus a "bap burger" (rice burger) from a new place in town. The concept is that it's a burger but the "bun" is sticky rice. Perfect for staying gluten free, but very dense!


We stopped in a grocery store to get something to drink on our way back, and saw a third grade student of mine who had just checked out with her mother. We went back by the drinks, and then the girl came around the corner, and held out a Vitamin water for me. I was confused and awkwardly froze for a second, but then took it when John said "take it". I think they bought it and decided to give it to me. It felt strange walking back through the check out with an unopened Vitamin water and not paying for it, but John pointed out that the family probably said something in Korean after I walked by, which the store clerks would have heard and understood. Score!

Dinner with the co-teachers
Third grade classes were great today; we started a new unit: How Many Dogs?  I spent most of my afternoon at school making the game PPT for our open class (in June) and thinking about the rest of the lesson plan. I'm not sure when my co-teacher will have time to talk about it again, but we have lots left to discuss and organize, I think.

The computer in my second grade daycare class randomly had an error and shut down twice during class. It was really annoying because I rely heavily on youtube videos to have any chance at keeping their attention. Also, I couldn't read all of the errors in Korean, so I'm not sure what was going on.

John went into Bundang again today. After school my co-teacher YH drove me to my apartment and we picked up John. We met my other co-teacher YJ in Bundang for dinner: boiled chicken + ginseng soup. The whole chicken quarter is in the soup, with rice and nuts and some seasoning stuffed inside. So you take the chicken apart with chopsticks and leave bones on the side dish - it was good! Then we got some coffee together before ending the evening.

At post-dinner coffee with my co-teachers

I'm glad John got to meet my co-teachers, and it was nice of them to offer and take us out to dinner this week.

Picture Day and new landlord
I dressed up for picture day, as did all of the other teachers I saw. Fourth grade classes were their usual.  This afternoon I found out from my co-teacher that somebody bought my apartment building, so there will be a new owner starting next month. I don't have to pay the $50 management fee anymore, but I'll have to get internet on my own and pay that and the water bill now. My co-teacher met with the new landlord, and I guess the landlady will put the internet in her name, so I'll just do a bank transfer to the landlady's personal account each month for internet. That's fine with me, I just hope there's not an interruption of service at the end of the month...

The computer shut down again during second grade daycare -- displayed the same screens as it did yesterday. I hope this doesn't become a daily occurrence. Also, during this class it's not uncommon for boys to take stuff out of my basket when I'm not looking. Yesterday they took my squishy ball dice and I had to look around and ask the kids for it after class (they forgot they had taken it and hidden it). Today my water bottle was missing after class - just an old dirty plastic one with plenty of germs on it - since it's been my go-to all week at school with this cough. I asked some of the kids by gesturing until one told the Korean teacher and she asked the class. Then two boys jumped up and said stuff in Korean and led me out of the room next door. Then they led me upstairs to a first grade teacher's room, but she wasn't in there. I guess another teacher accidentally took it off the desk thinking it was hers while I was walking around the students' desks as they were coloring today. The teacher who had it was in a meeting with other teachers, and I didn't want the kids to interrupt it on my behalf. So I'll bring another bottle tomorrow, no big deal, I just feel bad because she'll probably get sick now.

And when I left at 4:30 I realized I never had my picture taken today! I think my co-teacher forgot to tell me when to go, or maybe they made the announcement (in Korean) while I was teaching my after school class. Whoops. I don't think they'll notice until they put the yearbook together next fall.

John went into Bundang again for a bit, then came back to town and went for a run. We made some experimental banana/oatmeal/peanut butter cookies (read: blobs) in my toaster oven in the evening. Dinner was at that same Korean restaurant we went to last Sunday.

I had kimchi stew again, but John tried galbitang (beef short rips soup). He wasn't a fan of needing to pull the meat from the bone with chopsticks to eat it, but was glad he gave it a try.

Mom's birthday and a dinner fail
Happy birthday Mom! I told all of my fifth grade classes that it's my mother's birthday today. They did their shocked gasp (really??), then got excited and clapped. Fifth grade classes went better than usual, I thought. I think some teachers' schedules have changed because now when I get to lunch the teacher table is full, so I sat with some fifth graders today.

John and I went into Bundang when I finished work. He got a new book to read, and I picked up a few gifts at Artbox connected to the bookstore. I consider dinner a failure, as we walked and walked around a neighborhood of restaurants, but I wasn't seeing anywhere I'd be comfortable ordering from the Korean menu. I was also exhausted from the long work week, so my mental state wasn't the best for that sort of task that night. We decided to just go home (it was past 9pm) and I got John some kimbap and ddeokbokki near our bus stop to take back for dinner.
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