Teacher’s Day – South Korea

Teacher’s Day is one of my favorite Korean holidays.  Its not just the cute notes, buckets of flowers, snacks and other assorted gifts.  Sure those help but what really makes me love Teacher’s Day is the realization of how much value Koreans have for teachers.temp_1431679395167.-504624130

There is a separate holiday where the entire country devotes itself to their teachers.  You could argue that its a Hallmark holiday (and i’m sure stationary stores love it) but there’s also a Teacher’s Day song that everyone knows and the day encourages students to visit their old teachers.

Teacher's Day Assembly.

Teacher’s Day Assembly.

This year was the first year I had actual visitors in the 2 hour block our school devoted for students to reunite with their old teachers.  Our students were dismissed after lunch while we had prep time and still got out 2 hours early.  Last year’s 4th graders came by in force dropping off the cutest hand written notes you’ve ever seen. Continue reading

Making an online test – Learning Management Systems

I’m at a Google Apps for Education Summit right now!  I’ve learned all about technology and right now we are using Google Forms to create an online test which can go into your teacher website.  I decided to post it here instead!  Leave a comment below if you want to learn how to do it.

At this summit I’ve learned a ton about edtech and right now we are checking out automatic grading.  I’ll definitely be setting up a separate teacher website but until then you all get to see my progress.  Feel free to take this silly quiz.  I might even have an automated email response by the time you’re done.

 

Flash Mob Pillow Fight – Seoul Flash Mobs

Yes.  We had a pillow fight.  Yes.  It was absolutely and completely epic.  Yes.   You should have been there!

Pillow Fight Flash Mob - Seoul by Mark Grybos 8

A few weeks ago I had this stupid idea for all my friends to come and have a pillow fight at the park.  One thing led to another and I created Seoul Flash Mobs.  A few weeks ago we had our inaugural event with a onesie subway ride.  Last Saturday was the real grand opening with the best pillow fight Korea has ever seen!

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Photo by Mark Grybos

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Seoul Flash Mob’s volunteers!

 

One thing led to another and the event went from a hundred or so RSVP’s to over 2,000!  I worked with Minwoo from Seoul Gone Wild & Kiara from Explore Korea to help arrange a new location and set up a crazy after party.  With weeks of anticipation future pillowfighters questioned what the “patriotic panda” signal would be as the organizers made sure the event would remain safe.  No zippers or buttons was an easy sell as a few #sarcastaposts suggested bringing a traditional Korean wooden pillow.

 

Photo by Mohammed Sami

Photo by Mohammed Sami

This video shows the quieter side of things from Korean Videographer Hong Yoon

Check out Symon Powlison & his team of camera men’s epic first person video.  You really feel like you’re in the fight with his vidoe!

 

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My students picked this picture because…

My Korean co-teacher came up to me and asked if it was okay for the students to show me pictures.  I heard him using my name in class and then speaking Korean for the last 15 minutes but thought nothing of it.  But then they explained in English why they choose each picture specifically for me.  It was adorable and its moments like these that makes me love teaching!

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Some of my favorites were:
I picked this picture because…

“You are able to teach us all day everyday” (open 24 hours)
“You love us!” (hugging polar bears)
“You teach us good things but also take away our bad things” (light & dark artistic sphere)
“You always have new ideas to help teach us” (fireworks)
“You like climbing mountains” (2 hikers)
“You have many students and like teaching” (Chinese classroom)
“You teach us and don’t care about money” (foreign currency)
“You are clean and pure.” (glass of water)
“You are perfect!” (bullseye)

Bukhansan National Park’s highest peak – Baegundae

Last summer I made the responsible (albeit disappointing) choice to skip mudfest in lieu of staying healthy and climbing Bukhansan National Park’s highest peak, Baegundae.  Leaving the following Thursday for an extreme trip through Vietnam  I knew that I didn’t want to fight a multi-day hangover or any bruised limbs from the alcohol supported escapades at one of the dirtiest festivals in the world.  As a result I offered to lead a hike up Baegundae with Seoul Hiking Group.  That’s how Brian and I came to meet some new hiking buddies, Heidi & Jason!

The Korean language barrier presented some difficulties finding the right entrance.  At first we ended up at the same entrance Brian & I had taken a few months back which was a 4 hour trek to the base of Baegundae.  This time we were searching for the 1.5 hour route!  Luckily my Korean was capable enough to buy a map and ask for directions so we quikcly found a cab and arrived at the Baegundae-Sogwicheon Information Center.

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When first stepping on the trail we had roughly 500m of vertical remaining in the 835m climb up Baegundae.  It began as rough cut stone steps and boulders surrounded by th_DSC6490e natural beauty of Bukhansan in the summer.  Green trees with the occasional flower flanked our path as the sweat rolled down our faces.  Jason, a first time hiker was soon converted to a naturalist and took regular breaks to get a full feel for mother nature’s splendor.

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A few minutes in we found ourselves at a “temple.”  It had none of the usual pizazz with a bland roof instead of the typical painted parapet.  We were greeted by two “mountain dogs” as a Korean woman approached.  There was a small antechamber for prayer with a spectacular buddha but otherwise this locale appeared to be the simple residence of these pleasant folk.  We played with the dogs for a few moments and said our thanks before continuing the trek.

 

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