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

Saturday, August 28, 2010

South Korean Journal -- Part VI

August 6, 2010

I really hated saying goodbye to the older kids today. Before they left, fellow volunteers Kate and Elena introduced their country of Russia, we viewed a beautiful slideshow of precious photos taken from the past week (Mr. Moon is a gifted photographer), and we exchanged gifts with the teens. I received a gorgeous watch from Hungnoon and a delicate handmade fan from Hyunjeong. I was surprised by how many of the teenagers were crying about having to leave (Not shockingly, none of my macho boys did! Hehe).

Immediately following the kids' departure, we enjoyed an elaborate feast of a lunch of prawns, eel, rice, fried veggies and fruit, sliced fresh veggies, kimchi, eggs, and seaweed. I stuck to the safer options to avoid any possible GI reactions.

With the kids gone, we spent the rest of the afternoon happily napping, cleaning up the school, walking, checking email, packing, giving one another silly hairstyles, and driving to downtown Jeju to shop and eat at the large E-Mart. I managed to buy several fun, cheap, and unnecessary items, of course!

August 7, 2010

Well, my time in Jeju has come to an end. I was able to sneak in a run/walk before cleaning up, takking photos with everyone, and having Mr. Moon drive us to the Jeju Airport. It was bittersweet saying goodbye to everyone, as we really have become like family these past two weeks. God-willing, our paths will all cross again someday.

A little over an hour flight later, I launched at Gimpo Airport in Seoul. After checking into my hotel, I took a bus to Incheon Airport, asked for the bus to downtown Seoul, took it, and then arrived in Gwanghwanum (right near the Koreana Hotel, where I stayed the night before leaving for Jeju). I explored the area on foot for an hour and then boarded a very cool double-decker Seoul City Tour bus for the Palace Cheonggye tour). For 1.5 hours, we drove to several famous Seoul sites, including Deoksugung, Cheonggye Plaza (where the Korean Information Center is). Dongdaenum Market (where I will try to do some serious damage at tomorrow!), Cheonggyecheon Museum, Seoul Folk Flea Market (by Hwanghak Bridge), Daekangno, Cheonggyeonggung Palace, Insadong, the Seoul Museum of History, and the Agricultural Museum. I really enjoyed having a glimpse of all the famous traditional palaces here.

Back downtown, I explored more of the area on foot and stumbled upon an open air music concert and three-on-three basketball tournament. Two older men saw to it that I had a cushion to sit on and even offered me food. How sweet! I ate a quick unhealthy dinner at McDonald's (I'm a bad American, I know) and then boarded a single-deck bus for a night tour of the city. I befriended three Korean University students, who spoke excellent English and gave me an insider's view into the city. On the tour, we saw Namdameun Market, Seogang Bridge, Mapo Bridge, the expressway, Hannan Bridge, Seongsu Bridge (Beautiful!), Cheonggye Plaza, and the North Seoul Tower, where we climbed to the tower entrance and saw spectacular aerial night views of the city. Some young Korean boys kept yelling "Hello!" to me, which I am more than used to now at this point in the trip.

The real laugh of the day came when I waited for my bus to come for over an hour (It never did) and was forced to hail a taxi back to my middle-of-nowhere countryside hotel, the Oceanside Hotel, located 60+ km from Seoul. I'm not quite sure WHY I chose to stay there, but at least it's very close to the Incheon Airport and has beautiful rural scenery. Oh well! Not being able to communicate in the other's language, the cab driver and I exchanged a lot of laughs trying to find this God-foresaken hotel. Over an hour and 65,000 won (about $50) later, we finally arrived at my hotel. Let's just say that I slept well tonight and enjoyed speaking to both of my parents for the first time in two weeks before bed. Goodnight!

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