Sunday, November 15, 2009

Penpals and Lantern Festival

                                    Lanterns at the Seoul Lantern Festival!

                              Zodiac Lanterns at the Seoul Lantern Festival

                                                        Colorful 4th Grade Penpal letter!
Hi all,

I hope you are having a good weekend!  The weeks are just flying by over here, and I am still having the time of my life.  My students never cease to make me smile.  I like observing how every single conflict -from a fight to who rolls the dice first in a board game - can all be solved by rock paper scissors.  They play this constantly, and are all very competitive about it.  It is funny to watch because whoever loses automatically just drops the conflict as if the other person winning rock paper scissors means that the other person was automatically right.  It's fascinating. 

My students have also all started to wear face masks.  Koreans are petrified of getting the "new flu," and they take a lot of precautions.  Despite the fact that they all eat family style at restaurants and don't have hand soap in the bathroom, almost everyone in the city walks around wearing a face mask.  Some students at school have indeed gotten the flu, but most have been back within a week.  My students love to tell me about the powers of Tamiflu and what it does for you if you "eat it."  Almost every day this week a student has said something like, "Miss Ban! Miss Ban! So and so had new flu.  He ate Tamiflu!  Now he (flex muscles, roar, or growl) not have flu.  He eat Tamiflu! (Flex muscles again to show strength of Tamiflu)"  The masks are easy to make fun of (I actually had a man last week sitting across from me on the subway wearing a full on gas mask.)  It's crazy.  The masks drive me nuts though in class because I can't tell who is talking when I hear noise and all their little English voices are muffled.  Yesterday I saw a child wearing a mask that covered most of his face and his jacket hood was covering his eyes and he walked straight into the wall.  I think that's what happens when you cover up too much.

My 4th grade extracurricular class wrote letters yesterday to my friend Christine's class in Atlanta.  They were so excited to hear that they would be getting letters back in a few weeks.  I was really proud of the letters they wrote- they worked really hard on them and many drew pictures on them with Korean flags or hearts or flowers.  For 4th graders who are only learning basic English they did a great job!  They were so adorable-- here are a couple samples and there is a picture above:

Dear Cierra and Anthony,
My name is so hun youn
How are you.  Nice to meet you Cierra and Anthony
What do you like to do?
I'm learn English. 
How do you feel?  I'm happy.
What do you like? I'm read a book.
Where are you? I'm South Korea
I am 4th grade
I like food I Birthday is May 5th
What do you birthday?
I hope to talk to you soon
Best, Sohun


Dear Ziquavious and Bionca
My name is Jae min Kim
How are you I'm happy
Nice to meet you Ziquavous
Do you like listen to music? like listen to music.
Where are you I'm Asia, South Korea, Seoul, GilDong Elementary School 4th grade, English class
I'm Birthday is August 5th
I'm like Food Kim-chi
My dream is Accountant.
I hope to talk to you soon.
Best, Jae min

These letters all just put a big smile on my face!  I'm writing more letters to a different friend's class on Monday with some of my older students so I hope that goes well too!  School has been going so well sometimes I forget it is even work.  The next month will be very busy though.  I wrote a proposal to the school a few weeks ago asking for overtime hours in the afternoons (since I only teach 22 hours a week and sit on facebook for the rest of they day).  They finally gave me four more classes to teach!  I'm really excited, not only for the extra pay, but so I'm not bored out of mind between 1 -4pm every single day.  The classes they gave me are extracurricular classes though, and they don't have a topic, so it is up to me to plan lessons regarding anything I want.  For next week there will be lessons on penpals, months of the year, and adjectives with MadLibs (for my 6th graders).  I hope it goes alright. The worst feeling is when I spend a lot of time planning something that I think will be great only to realize that no one has a clue what is going on and I only get deer in headlights looks from everyone in the class.

Anyway, my week went by quickly with nothing too exciting to report.  Lunch at school is still something I am getting used to - the other day I had the unfortunate circumstance of realizing that my "crunchy coleslaw" was staring at me.  In the lunch line I got excited to see coleslaw and helped myself to a big spoonful.  After one crunchy bite, I realized my food was looking at me.  My coleslaw was actually made of tiny little dried fish that still had eyes on it.  Gross.  Apparently, I need to inspect my food more carefully in the future.  Friday night I attended the Seoul Lantern Festival which was amazing!  Lanterns from all over the world are there and if you follow the stream through downtown there is a very long stretch of floating lanterns- it was a beautiful scene.  

I will continue to keep you all updated on my adventures.



  1. "Yesterday I saw a child wearing a mask that covered most of his face and his jacket hood was covering his eyes and he walked straight into the wall. I think that's what happens when you cover up too much." I was just about rolling on the floor.

  2. Andie,
    You're blogposts remind me of mom's emails. In a hilarious way.