Friday, March 27, 2009

Hand-uh Fone

Cell Phones are huge in Korea.

Koreans go bonkers over these devices. In fact, 85% of the unemployed have cell phones here. Check this website out if you don't believe me.

Now if you're from Toronto, get ready for this. The nation is so crazy about cell phones... that they work on the subway.

Wait. You mean when the subway is outside right?

No, as in ninja turtle underground sewer deep, your cell phone will work. Seoul has invested so much money into their communication infrastructure, that cell phones work pretty much anywhere. On the business side of things, if you have 9 subway lines (compared to Toronto's 2), and millions of people use it, that's a worthy investment.

So today I was excited to get a cell phone. Mainly because they were CDMA (Telus uses this), so that when I do come back home I could use the phone that I had purchased. I walked into the shop with my co-teacher, and unfortunately could not get a cell phone.

Why? Because being a foreigner sucks. I couldn't use my Korean Hana Bank book because it was created by using my passport, they were unwilling to take my credit card because it was foreign (even though I could buy a meal with it), and they weren't willing to take my co-teacher's credit card because the cell phone was not under her name. Lame.

Now I have to re-do my bank book by using my Alien Registration Card, to show that I am an legal alien.

Why can't I join the cell phone craze like the rest of the nation? Come on, even the unemployed have it.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My first teaching week

Due to the last few weeks in having iffy internet, and being really busy, I will apologize for not updating my blog. However, I'm just going to start from what's happening now, instead of writing about what happened in the past.

So I have been teaching this week, and it is certainly an interesting experience. The kids are in gr 1, 2, and 3 (Korean middle school years), but I have varying English levels in my class. I have kids who can speak in full sentences to kids who can't even write a strand of thought properly. It is definitely a challenge, and I have been scaring the misbehaving ones with my booming dragon boat coxing voice.

Today I had tried to play Pictionary with the kids in the after-school extra curricular program. I give 5 words, and they have to draw something for their team to guess the each word within a frame of time. Unfortunately, they struggled on simple words like Eyeball, Stove, and Bone.

Kind of a bummer.

I'm teaching in the Nambu district, which is one of the poorer areas in Seoul. Typically other kids have enough financial support to go to Hagwons (private schools) after school to learn additional english, and perform better in the classroom. The Korean government has been unloading tons of money to support these low-income pockets in the city.

To add insult to injury, I have been tempted to teach Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and see what would happen.

Pics to come.