Volunteering in Ngawa Prefecture

Walking to class.

On my recent trip to Amdo, Tibet, I spent most of my time in Ngawa Prefecture, (Chinese: Aba) This trip was a bit different than the last time as I would be able to experience, Losar, Tibetan Lunar New Year, and I also would get the chance to teach English to Tibetan Students. Continue reading “Volunteering in Ngawa Prefecture”

영화초 – Winter Camp at Younghwa Elementary


This past winter I decided to be a bit ambitious and work multiple camps during my January break. If I wasn’t doing this I would be sitting at my desk all day staring at walls. I thought it’s a more productive and better opportunity to help out at other schools. It also lets me see other teaching styles and how I can use those new skills to make myself a better teacher.

The fish we thought that died. It was a traumatic 5 minutes of class.

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English with the Boyz

Everybody that helped teach the 부평고 students at IFTC. What a great group of students and teachers!

I dare to say that last week was one  of the best weeks in Korea. It was also one of the most fun camps I have ever taught. Originally, I signed up not knowing what I was getting myself into teaching at an all boys high school camp. But, it turned out to be awesome!

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Native Americans and Dreamcatchers


Tribal Nations Map of North America.
Tribal Nations Map of North America.

Last week, I decided to teach my students about Native Americans.  Granted having been an anthropology student and almost attaining a major in Native American Studies, I thought that I needed to make a good presentation. Not the kind that is full of shit that we are taught in school that perpetuates stereotypes, but good solid information that shows these communities alive and thriving. To show the students that there is variety among Native American tribes and that no tribe is alike. Continue reading “Native Americans and Dreamcatchers”

Day of the Dead


The Day of the Dead masks the students made.
The Day of the Dead masks the students made.

My after school class can be a bit of a challenge as it is elementary level. So coming up with interesting things to teach them is always in the back of my mind. I’m not an expert at most topics, but I try to research each topic to the best of my ability and then teach my students about it. Continue reading “Day of the Dead”

High School English Contest

I never got around to writing about the rest of my time at the high school I was helping out.  When my time was over at the school, I was asked if perhaps if I could make it to the contest to watch the students. I said that I would try my best and find out. Luckily, for me, my vice-principal was very kind to me and he let me go to both days of the contest in the afternoon. When I showed up at the school, I was asked to be a judge. I wasn’t expecting this, but it was wonderful to see all the students and how hard they had worked to speak English at a competition in front of their peers.  Continue reading “High School English Contest”

Culture Box Pen Pals

At my new Elementary school I have a connecting classrooms after school class. It sounds like a mouthful, which it is. One of the themes is to connect the students with pen pals in other countries and to share their culture. We also teach the students about other cultures and the like. I took a census as to what they want to learn. One of the things I need to prepare are pen pals in America.  I am in contact with my old middle school that said they are willing to help me, but not sure of the details yet.


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High School Speech Contest

I was approached to see if I was willing to help a local high school prepare for an English Speech Contest.  I figured why not, I have the time and it would be fun to experience working with high school students.  The school is about a 40 minute commute from my current school and I go and help out between 6 – 9 p.m. The first day I went to this school I thought I was going to die from hiking up the hill. Apparently the students hate it as much as I do, because about five of them asked me what I thought about it. Continue reading “High School Speech Contest”

Teacher, your family is just like a drama!

The perks of being a teacher is trying to find interesting lessons for your uninterested students. One morning my co-teacher says to me, can you think of something to do for our first class? I had a mini panic attack and went flicking away through facebook snatching photos of family members and making a mini power point where I explained relationships and how my family looks like.

This proved to be an interesting topic. Almost all of my kids were engaged even though there were only pictures and it was just me talking. I started with the stereotypical family image of a father, mother, daughter and son. So my first question was, “Do you all have a mother and father?” The second question was, “Do they live with you?”

So I brought a picture up of who lives in my household. My mom, me, and my two younger sisters. (My mom’s boyfriend and my sister’s boyfriend also live with us) I went into that later though.

So I went through the chronological order of my family though my mom’s first marriage dictated by mr. ? ,my real father. The kids got a kick out of this. Shocked there was no photo, ( I have one back home somewhere packed away) but for all intents and purposes this worked better.  Fast forward to marriage number 2 with the birth of my youngest sister, and then adoption of me and my younger sister. With the mention that both of our last names changed due to adoption. (This is not as common in blended families)

Went over the family again and mentioned that my dad remarried and my mother currently has a boyfriend. Having a boyfriend later in life is worth a chuckle to them. I told them my grandmother has a boyfriend as well, but he is just her ‘friend.’ We all know better. The other kicker was saying my sister was pregnant and not married. This was a shocking revelation as well.  However, it proved to be a talking point.

My students exclaimed in Korean that it was just like a drama! Meaning that my family situation was like what happens on their TV shows and is totally outside of the norm. However, I did tell them that about half of all marriages in the USA end in divorce. Not only that but many people remarry and then have children together or raise their children together. I talked to them about the use of terms like step brother/sister and half brother/sister. To my students this was  a fascinating topic because their families are not like mine. Whereas to me my family is normal and there are oddities, but that is what my family is like. I explained about my two brother’s I don’t know . One I met through facebook, and the other I met in person and never said a word to. To them that type of possibility isn’t really an option. I also mentioned about extended relatives that have remarried or divorced and gone over their situation as well. I mentioned one of my older aunts in on a dating website and looking for someone to spend time with. Their older aunts and uncles or grandparents do not date.

I had a lot of fun on this topic and in retrospect I wish I could have talked more and given more examples to my kids about my family and what it is like. But at the end of the day I realized here in South Korea my family is more like the ones that appear in TV shows than the ones of reality.


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