Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!

Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
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Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown

My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.

"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

South Korea Journal II: The Do's and Don'ts of Korean Culture - Part I

August 1, 2010

How is it August already??! Wow, how time certainly does fly! I cannot believe I have been in Korea for only a week now, as it sees like a lot longer (only in a good way!). In this short period of time, I have learned a great deal about Korean life, traditions, and culture.

Here are some do's and don'ts I've come across thus far:

1. Do take your shoes off before entering any room or building ... ALWAYS.
2. Do be polite and always put others before yourself, even if it is inconvenient to do so.
3. Do expect to do everything as a group with little opportunity for individual reflections or escape time.
4. Do be prepared to get eaten alive by mosquitoes, and get acquainted with some nasty looking bugs, including cockroaches over 5 cm! In fact, we named our rented house The Cockroach Hotel!
5. Be ready to eat spicy kimchi with everything.
6. Bow to your elders and anyone in authority.
7. Be prepared to eat all of your food and meals while sitting cross-legged on the floor. We have never heard of chairs here.
8. Never wear an actual bathing suit -- or God forbid, a bikini! -- at the beach. Always prove your self-consciousness by wearing full shorts and a t-shirt in the water.
9. Get obsessed with one random American song and play/sing it constantly, especially if it is called "I;m Yours" by Jason Mraz.
10. Never put used toilet paper in the actual toilet. It always goes in the separate waste basket (Don't ask me on Earth WHY this is necessary!).
11. Be prepared for hot, humid summer days with daily rain showers. Hey, at least they actually cool things off for awhile!
12. Spend lots of time with the sweetest and most innocent, sheltered village children you'll ever meet. Why can't urban students back home be more like them?!
13. Never use a napkin while eating any meal or snack. It is wasteful. If you're lucky, though, you may receive a hot wet towel to wipe your hands.
14. Hand and dish soap are not really used here. Sorry! Bring your own wipes and hand sanitizer!
15. Don't attempt to be a blonde American female running in the heat on the side of the road and expect not to be stopped by several cars with the drivers looking concerned and asking in Korean whether you are OK. -- This is too cute!
16. Don't come here expecting to satisfy your lazy, voracious American sweet tooth. Sweet coffee and/or a rare chocolate bar purchased at the local E-Mart will have to suffice.
17. No, your American cell phones will NOT work in Korea, despite what Verizon may say.
18. When traveling in a large group of 11 volunteers, don't expect to always have things go your way. Instead, have patience, an open mind, and a willingness to do and see things that you may not have initially considered.
19. No, you are most likely not near a beach if you are volunteering on Jeju Island.
20. Sneak in Internet time on the head of school's computer whenever possible!

Please do not be offended by this list; I do use sarcasm, and this reflects only my personal experience while volunteer teaching in Korea. More of this list to come tomorrow!

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