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

Christmas at a Hagwon in Korea

Its Christmas Eve, my first one in South Korea, first one away from my family and my first one at a hagwon here in Seoul.  I’ll leave out the administrative shortcomings in this post since Christmas is a day to be happy and celebrate the good times.  (don’t worry the anecdotes about how crazy my hagwon continues to be will come out in the next few days.)  We had a big party today (Tuesday) for Christmas Eve, no school on Christmas and a Christmas concert Thursday!

Today’s events were a ton of fun for the kids!  Our schedule which was overemphasized in Monday’s meeting changed at least twice without any warning but you’ve gotta be able to go with the flow in the states too right?  We started the day with a sentence on the board to get them in the spirit.  “Today is Christmas Eve!”  Normally I’d never use a word as big as Christmas but they all figured it out pretty easily.  When they finished they had some playtime and snack time as usual.

We were slated to go to Santa for presents after snack but my principal came to let us know we were starting late.  We practiced our concert routine and were about to start again when the phone rang.

Our Santa had a black and white Ramones t-shirt on beneath his baggy costume.  He smelled of cigarettes and reminded me of my last hangover.  Even so, the kids were super excited as he called each one up by name and gave them a present!  It was a really cute ceremony but after a few minutes they noticed his hair didn’t match the beard and the shirt kept popping out.  They kept saying “사기꾼 (sagiggun)” so I asked my coteacher what it meant, she laughed and “fake.”

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Continue reading