Tag Archives: Education

3 days left . . .

23 Feb

Wow!  I can’t believe that this is my final week in Korea!  What a blast it has been!  Tomorrow is my last day at my school en then on Saturday is goodbye Korea.  This past week I have had and still get many panic attacks about packing everything and seeing everyone!  It’s hectic!  But amidst all this craziness I still had time to reflect.  Coming to Korea was something that I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time and I am still amazed at how quickly the time has flown by!  Korea is the third country I have lived in and by far the most challenging.  But all in all it was a fantastic year.

I was placed at a, how would the Koreans put it, ‘notorious’ school in a very poor area.  My area and middle school has been referred to as the Harlem of Daegu.  So yes teaching at one of the worst schools in Daegu was, let my put it this way, challenging.  I wanted to give up.  I wanted to pack my bags and go home.  But I didn’t.  I stuck through.  And that to me is a great accomplishment! Yes you might think how hard can it be to teach English to some of the most intelligent people on the planet, and in one of the best education systems in the world.  Well, I experienced another side that spectrum.  The majority of my students will not go to High school.  My school has one of the lowest academic ratings in the whole city and the kids’ behaviors attest to that!  My year started off pretty bad with the whole apartment saga, and then one of the students threatened another teacher with a knife.  Not the best introduction i’d say! I mention these things because I’m giving myself a pat on the shoulder.  Well done, you did great!  And I did.  I was a great teacher and the kids (well most of them) really loved me.  It was tough, really tough, but I made it through and now I am a stronger person.  I grew so much this year and that my friends, as MasterCard would say, is priceless.  I learned so much about myself and what I can accomplish.  I managed to live in a country where I don’t speak the language, am not to fond of the local cuisine and had my issues with the whole culture shock.  But I managed, no in fact I flourished.  Even so that I started to get really fond of Korea!  Not that I would want to live here permanently but Korea definitely has it’s up sides!  And there are so many things that I will miss dearly!

To my co-teacher I would like to say thank you.  She stuck by me and was always there when I needed her.  To all my new and amazing friends, damn, I’m gonna miss each and everyone of you so much.  It’s amazing how close you can get to someone when you are all experiencing the exact same thing.  If not for all my Epiker friends I would not have made it through this year!  And then to my school I would like to say, so long suckers!!!!!!!!!!  I will definitely be doing cartwheels in my heart tomorrow when I leave the Faksan behind!  But I will  wipe a hypothetical tear (i’m not much of a crier) when I board that Singapore Airlines flight on Saturday!

Korea, even with our love hate relationship I will never forget you or what I have learned this year.  It has truly been one of the greatest years of my life and I will cherish this experience forever.  To my fellow Epikers who decided to stay behind, good luck and enjoy every minute.  Before you know it your time here in Kimchiland will be over!  To the other Epikers returning to their ‘normal’ lives, the best of luck to you and I wish you all great success (Borat voice) upon all your future endeavours.

Korea, you made me laugh, you made me cry, you me scream and you made me jump!  I will never forget you!

Kimchi, to you I want to say, you can suck it!  I never want to see, smell or taste your ugly face ever again!

Cheers from Kimchiland!  It’s been good, real good!

Mentally handicapped!

2 Dec

In Korean schools there are mentally handicapped students mixed in with the regular students.  I wrote about this a few months ago.  I still can’t understand why these students go to a regular school as they clearly have special needs.  I have been strugling with a student grabbing my face and pulling my beard.  The first time it happened I shoved the student’s arm away quite forcefully.  When I got to teach that student this semester and realized that he is mentally handicapped.  I am not sure what is wrong with him and apparently it’s hard to translate his ‘illness’ from Korean.  To me, but I am no expert, he seems autistic. Now I have absolutely no experience with ‘Special Needs’ kids.  In fact before I came to Korea I had absolutely no experience with kids whatsoever.  The thing is I do not know how to respond and react to these special needs kids.  The act out in class, start jumping up and down or would randomly just start screaming.  There is no way for me to control them and as I have stated before my co-teacher is practically non existent.  So now I ask you what do I do!  These kids do not speak or understand a word of English and I am not trained to handle them.  Hell I am not even trained to be a teacher.  Special needs kids need people who are trained to work with them.  I am not.  This one kid in second grade (middle School)  keeps on running up to me and pulls my beard.  It is no longer an isolated incident and I do not know what to do about it.  I have talked with two of my co-teachers about it and they just did nothing.  So whenever he sees me he runs up to me and pulls my face.  If I see him first I grab his arm but as soon as I let go he goes for the face again.   This is starting to get me down.  I feel helpless because I cannot do anything to stop him.  First of all I don’t like it when the students touch me because I think it is inappropriate .  Second of all when ever he grabs my beard he hurts me and thirdly he is dirty.  I know kids aren’t spokesperson’s personal hygiene or anything but this kid in particular is just always dirty.  So that annoys me even more when he touches my face.  But most of all is that nothing is being done to bring this under control.  Two days go I sat at my desk in the office when all of a sudden I just see this sudden movement from behind and then i feel my beard being pulled.  obviously I reacted with a very loud NO!  And all 80 eyes in the office were on me.  I pointed my finger at the kid and said no to him like 5 times.  No one did anything.  After a while my co-teacher sitting next to tells me that I must understand that he is mentally challenged and that there is nothing that we can do about it.  Seriously.  Are you fucking kidding me!  Anyhow I told her again that I think it is inappropriate for the student to touch me and someone has to talk to him about it.  They did not!  So today once again in the office in front of everybody the kid comes up to and grabs my face.  In front of everybody.  With absolutely no help from anybody.  Nothing!