Monday, August 30, 2010

She quits

So one of my pre-k student's mothers chose to withdraw her daughter from our school, saying our hagwon is too dark and feels like being in a prison and that our director is not a very "motherly" role model. I'm not sure I really have much of anything to say about that. While I agree with the prison bit, I don't exactly want to have to wear sunglasses to school, though having any natural light in the classroom at all might be nice.

Just found out today that we get the Friday following Chuseok off from work- yay!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Couch to 10k

I ran 6.24 miles in 1 hour, 16 minutes, and 19 seconds for a 12:13/mi pace. Lady Gaga has impeccable timing on my shuffle; that last mile was rough. And running in 85F sunny weather with 80% humidity and no breeze can only be described as torture. I am amazed at my pace because I thought I did a lot of walking on the last leg.

I am officially a couch to 10k-er in 10 weeks minus 2 for my ankle to heal. And I've not followed any pre-set plan, just doing my own thing. Awesome sauce.

After a long, ice-cold shower, heavy stretching, and some self-inflicted deep tissue massage on my sore muscles, I am feeling quite good.

Nice Saturday

About 9:45 this morning, some Korean guy blew prodigious chunks on the subway while I was peacefully napping. I opened my eyes and wondered at all the hubbub, and I looked down to see the cause. Hrm, lucky thing I was near my stop.

When calculating last night what time I'd need to leave this morning for the hash, I was distracted and, as it turns out, wrong by about an hour. But they always start late, so I didn't really miss anything. I chose to do the walking trail this week because I'm going to try again tomorrow to run a full 6 miles. It was a good trail up on Namsan through some areas I'd not seen before.

The hash wrapped up by 2 p.m. and I wasn't sure what to do with myself until dinner at 6, so I grabbed my first taste of Taco Bell in Korea (delicious, btw) and headed to the jimjilbang, where I cleaned up and took a long nap filled with bizarro dreams I attribute to the bean burrito. This was my first summer visit, and I am delighted to report the place had many cool pools instead of winter's dangerously hot ones. Also, I found out I lost an unexpected kilogram in the week following my delicious birthday binge. Yay.

Feeling relaxed, refreshed, and goddess-y, I met friends and walked down to the hafla (a belly dance dinner party) at New Palace in Itaewon. It has been remodeled because the owner married a Korean woman, and now it has great decor, a full bar and a measly menu. The service was terrible considering our party were the only customers most of the night and had called ahead. And I wasn't the only one served undercooked, inedible chicken. Is safe food really so much to ask? Apparently it is in Korea, where my standards are way too high for the available fare. Being in good company, we had an alright time and good performances, but I take full credit for salvaging the night by hatching a scheme to escape for pie. It was awesome.

Also, I composed a haiku in my head and will now share it.

Take my night away
And fill me with your bright day.
I think we'll ne'er sleep!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Water park field trip


"Noraebang" is Korean for "karaoke room." We teachers went to one following a joint welcome/birthday dinner. Jake and I teamed up for a Korean boy band song (Ring ding dong by Shinee) and Adam and Jake regaled us with some classic American boy band tunes. We think Jake was in a Korean boy band in an alternate universe.

(By the way, soju and salad do not a dinner make. Just trust me on this one.)

Book review

I picked this up from the school library because I recognized the author and kind of liked something else I'd read from her. This was an excellent fantasy novel set in 1909 London. The setting and characters drew me in from the start, and my only complaint is that the women's suffrage theme was heavy-handed and overstated by far. I might look into the other books in this series.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Full of win

I am full of win. It flows through my veins like midichlorians.

I ran 5 miles today in 57 minutes for a 11:25/mi pace. The goal was 6.2 mi (10k) today, but the sun came out for my last lap, and my body wasn't feeling it. One potty break and a few walk breaks, but I ran very nearly all of this one and am amazed at my pace here. No knee brace today, and it feels good! Next weekend I'll hit the full distance.

The 10k race is September 12.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Book reviews

We read Maniac Magee in one of my 4th grade classes. It's a little too hard for them, but I loved it and burned through it in one afternoon. It's about an incredible little boy who is blind to the racial tensions controlling many events in his life. I highly recommend it.

I picked this one up at a book swap because the previous owner raved about it. It's a well-written story that takes hero-villain cliches over the top, but it just wasn't quite to my liking.

I got to read this one afternoon while my students were taking a test and really enjoyed it. It's only the second Holmes story I've read, and I think I'll have to go look for the whole set now.

Korean swimming pools?

Earlier this week, one of my 5-year-old students cried for a full hour (sobbing, halfway to hyperventilating) about going to the swimming pool after school. And he didn't stop; he just went home. And it isn't the first time. Is there something I should know about Korean swimming pools?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Ah, hagwons...

I'm in a bit of trouble for not using a practice book that I didn't know existed because the Korean teacher never gave it to me, none of my kids ever brought it to class, and it isn't listed on the curriculum. Now we're only about 2 months behind and I'm expected to finish it up before the end of the semester in 3 weeks, meaning in 5 class periods. The parents are (understandably) pissed, and the director tried to lay it on me. Pfft. It's a good thing I decided to stop taking this job seriously.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

In the name of SCIENCE!

My grade 2 textbook had us doing an "experiment" today (read: activity) involving rolling a ball to demonstrate motion for the motion lesson to follow. So I walked into class, handed a ball to each of 5 students, told them they have 5 minutes to do some science, and please don't break the computer. 

The experiment ended at about 4 minutes, 15 seconds when one student dropped a bouncy ball and a second kicked it, sending it to ricochet off the wall and into the clock which came crashing down with shattered glass. 

(The clock never worked, and it still would without the glass if the school just put a battery in it, btw.) 

In the name of science, I declare this "motion experiment" a resounding success. 

I love "teaching" science.

Monday, August 2, 2010

School play

Kindergarten performance of Snow White