Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Golden Bell

Golden Bell is a very popular game here in Korea. It's a big quiz game with the last man standing theme. the students sit in rows with enough space on each side to curb any cheating. They all must listen to questions and quietly write the answers in short answer form. They are written in dry erase marker on mini white boards. So why do they use NETs for this? To test the students listening ability of theory.

First, you are to read the entire riddle clearly.
Then read off the answers A-D.
The students usually will have 30 secs or less to answer.
After you count to three, all students must raise their boards above their heads with the answer facing you.
You (and faculty) must check that they wrote the correct answer including spelling.
Give a few seconds for them to erase the boards and continue.

Any students that write the wrong answer are automatically out. Sometimes if too many students are "out" too fast, there will be a chance round. You do the question process and if the "out" students get it right, they can come back "in".

Hilariously at YCE, the students were basically all out after five or six questions. We did a chance round and most were let back in. Luckily, they did much better after that. In that school, many students were out simply because they chose the wrong answer. I was a bit sad because the questions were all up on a powerpoint behind me. In the end, we were able to choose a top three with one of them being from the fifth grade and the other two from the sixth.

I could see my coteacher was nervous and even scared when all the kids were basically out. The principal had come by to see the show and ended up leaving soon after. I felt bad too because I didn't want our Golden Bell to be a Dusty Cracked Bronze Bell. Nevertheless, if you insist on teaching without speaking English and demanding creativity, this is the result.

At SPE, the game was fairly rigged. Everyone studied the exact questions that I was to read for a full week and a half. It was terribly boring and most kids studied so much that they knew what the answers were by the time I read the second hint. The only reason students got out was because they missed the spelling due to letters like "r" "l" "d" "b", etc. Oh well. In the end they decided to give a first through third prize to both fifth and sixth grade. Tomorrow we'll be doing third and fourth with the same riddles.

Monday, December 17, 2012

When coTs skip Out

At YCM and SPE I never have to worry about my coteachers not coming to class. In fact there was only one time the SPE teacher didn't show up, but she'd warned me the previous week. Once my YCM coT plum forgot what time it was. She was clickin away at the computer after telling me, "We have afternoon class." But engrossed in her work she didn't notice me leaving haha I was ok with it, but she was a bit embarrassed. Anyway they are always there or they give me good notice.

Let's hop over to YCE. -___- If she's late or not going to be doing class, she will let the school know but not me. Or at the beginning of class she'll walk me to the room and say,"Uh today I'm busy, so sorry." -__- This is without ever letting me know what will be covered in class before hand so I'm never prepared. Like I said before, the 3&4th grade are going at an ok-slow pace, but 5&6th have different books from SPE.

Again today she didn't tell me she had to go to a different school far out. So at hot near class time the (good enough to be an English) 4th grade teacher told me that I'd have to teach with the random teachers.

I told him I didn't know what they were supposed to do because Kim never gives me info. He asked the kids of 3rd what they were doing and set up the computer for me, but my rebellious side told him, "It's all in Korean though, so..."

The 3rd teacher left when I stepped in the room. Kids ran wild while I debated being good or putting on a movie...

Ok I'm grown so I chose to be good. I didn't use the computer but I taught ch.12 anyway. Surprisingly the kids listened well this time and knew what I wanted! No movie necessary.

The 4th grade teacher returned with his class. Made an action plan upon discovering the tv didn't work and coordinated with me in the 10min break.

Here comes 5th grade. I'm prepared for them to misbehave because they barely understand me but their teacher has them in check and she didn't even stay more than 10minutes. They listened repeated and practiced so we played a game. Amazing class.

6th grade teacher prepared a PPT on a hurry but the no TV thing was slightly hindering. We still played the review games because they were easy to adapt.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I Honestly Love NH Bank

You will hear that you need to get a KEB bank account to have the best your money can get and the ease your mind needs to be happy with your money traveling back and forth between countries. 


I am here to tell you (no matter what Carl says) that NH and I have a committed monogamous relationship. I haven't cheated on NH after my 3rd month of being here. They opened my account the first day swiftly with my coTs help. Then I went back to ask them to fix my account to do online banking. Done the same day. They filled out my paper work and told me it would be in my best interest to have my coT help me set it up over the school computer. They were right.

Then I needed to send money to the states and the first time they did it for me. They also told me how much I'd need to send in person for a better rate at the bank. Anywho, when I send money on-line I have the option of Sky Miles or a Gift Card.  Also, in order to use those "Gift Card"s (meaning points) NH has their own online shopping site in which they can be used.

NH Bank offers a bankbook like all other banks. They have a bank debit card like all other banks and they have credit cards...yea. Like all other banks. I got one after 3 months of living here. I decided it was foolish to continually use my U.S. cards and then pay the wire transfer fees to pay them off. The Smarty card from NH is perfect for my young foolish ways. I get discounts on theme parks, coffee shops, movie theaters, online shopping, etc. 

NH has a fully functional English website for online banking and you can always call their customer service number and get an English speaker. My banker set up so much for me and even literally walked me over to the nearest SK shop to have them discount my mobile services. When my security certificate went faulty, my banker set it back up over my USB and set up my mobile phone banking apps. Is this love? You bet it is. NH and I will be together 'till end of contract do us part! *breathing heavily*

Now. How do I get some of that cake Jamasian? I don't share...
Just kidding. You'd better go into your local NH and look at their brochures! They have the lists of cards/services available written in plain Korean~~ hehe Honestly, some tellers will not trust your foreign self to pay on time or stay in the country but some will. So don't be afraid of the little farmer bank. Sometimes it's the little things that count. ;)

Visit The Main Site (Click: Global Banking: English)

Learn to Set It Up Yourself

Learn to Send Money Home Yourself


Their English help number is  1588-2100 ext. 730 press 1 for English

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dealing with After School Classes

I run a special English after school class that doesn't have any cool name at all. It's just called English Conversation After school class. These classes are actually clubs and, unfortunately if you work in the countryside, it's highly likely that the kids were placed in your club as a result of not being able to decide what to do.
You will most likely be running the entire 45min/class yourself. (Middle school)

I only had about 12 students this time and 10 for the first semester. I've had 2 students sign up voluntarily each time for this club. One decided my club would be movies and games all the time and signed up before anyone asked what club he'd want to join. Two others were forced coerced in because English is their best subject. One joined because he enjoyed my last winter camp.

That's just random fact, but it give you a bit of background about the students that you may end up with too. I am not the one to be showing movies that I haven't pre-screened and playing a bunch of random games that I don't make a lesson out of. So, there have been quite a few days that I felt like an English club in the countryside just isn't worth it.

"Game game! we want a game!" Well you know what? My kind of games that enrich English learning include, Clue, Guess Who, Where's Waldo, Scattergories, Pictionary, etc. Do you see where I'm going? The crappy part is that most of the students are not good enough at using adjectives, describing situations or vocabulary. 0.0  Yea, I know.

Well, of course many of the students complained about not playing games. We did play but they were just bad in the beginning so I stopped it. We ended up doing a bunch of drills and learning cultural things instead. After they got the hang of making more sentences and describing things we did play games again. We also played Life and Monopoly because I love those games. 

One student, the third grader, that volunteered for my club, tried hard to not pay attention and get the other students to follow in his footsteps. I know about some of his family problems and academic problems so for weeks I tried to reason with him and get him on track and give him extra, then none then some attention, but then I realized something. I am not like the people on those forums complaining that they can't get students in line due to cultural differences. I was raised in a different kind of household. 

The whole  system won't be working with me. I am the  and that means my word should be final. From that point on I decided to punish any kid that listened to  after my distinct orders. If I said be quiet, sit down and get ready,  would tell them to engage in conversation with him and move to sit by him. I made them write lines, etc. Soon, only one boy would listen to  and I decided that he could be ignored along with (whom I'd just started ignoring). That kid isn't as strong as  and ended up begging to be left alone so that he could just follow my rules.

Unfortunately  and I could not get on the same page and he had to leave my club for good. Actually, this decision was made by my coT because she felt there were too many misunderstandings. Kids will be kids and interpret what they want if it gives them a certain outcome. I wrote this entry so that people know something. Children must have some sort of order and discipline. This goes across all cultures and languages. Letting them be disrespectful or disruptive with no consequences makes them win each time and soon no student will be on your field.

Will make a relationship blog soon.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Test Taking

Koreans have such high test scores and everyone loves to praise how they are doing so great! After getting here, I must say I'm pretty disappointed and skeptical of the results of their exams. Please know that most of this is based on my class (English) but I definitely make it a point to try and see what the kids do in their other subjects as well. I want to discipline or reward in the same manner. I strive to teach with the same amount of expectation and diligence! I want to prep for exams in the same manner...well, kind of.

Here's the thing. Students are in lecture style classes for the majority of the class time all year long. When test time does roll around they are then given around 10 questions that will possibly be on the test. Usually, the easiest of the questions are picked to be on the real final. Students get this paper at least one week in advance of the test. You're thinking this is the same as the review paper in grade school huh? Maybe, but I don't remember the point of the review sheet being to memorize the questions with their correct answers. 

Tests here equal memorization skill, which predictably go no where when you need a job done. I had dreams of writing my own short answer tests and watching kids either pass or fail and then gauging what I should do better on as a teacher for the next go 'round. Not possible when all is allowed to be memorized. 

Oh well. I did have the pleasure of acting as overseer for exams! The students receive the test paper first printed on a newspaper like material. There are 25 questions total. The students can make any markings they want on this paper, and I do mean any. I saw pictures being drawn, scribbles, etc. Anywho, the scantron consists of 50 lines of A,B,C,D bubbles with 10 blanks for "fill in the blank" questions and on the back 8 blanks for sentences or essay styled questions. I'm not supposed to do anything but multiple choice questions. The other styles are prepared by the coTeacher to focus on writing and grammar.

They seemed to have half of the class time for just using the test paper and then were given the scantron for the second half. I have to admit there were some students that were working so hard and I was proud of them. A little hurt since this was the music class exam, but people don't excel at everything right? I also saw a few expected kids just fill in A for each question; never looking back. I was more hurt because the two in question have worked hard in my class this year and yet I could feel that they'd done the same on my exam. If they had to do an interview, they'd pass with a solid C. If they put effort into my exam, they could pull a high B at least. I hope one day they realize their potential...hopefully that day is in their first year of high school a.k.a. next year.

Is it this way because I'm in the countryside? I don't think so. According to a few city folks, things don't get much better except maybe the overall GPA.