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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Saying goodbye to the 6th graders~

A few girls I managed to grab a picture with in our last class.

This was my first year at a new school and I saw my second set of students graduate. My 6th grade babies are moving on to middle school.  I dreaded this day for a while as I really enjoyed teaching this group of kids.  It is sad to see your students leave, but that is a day that must always come.  They were my favorites for the past year and provided a lot of fun and great memories for me.

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Advice from Kids: Diet Solutions


Sometimes I wonder if I should use myself as an example in class. Whether its good or bad, it certainly proves to be interesting! Last fall when we were learning should and shouldn’t in fifth grade I tried to think of a way to make it interesting. So I made a little cartoon of myself on a diet and asked my students to tell me 5 things I should or shouldn’t do.

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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. Read More

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. Read More

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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Goodbye Okgye Elementary Grade 6-2



To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from students when I decide to leave. I received two lovely posters from my Grade 4 class.  ( I will upload photos of it later once I remember where I tucked it away.) But nothing left an impression on me thus far like the letters  I received from my Grade 6 Class 2 students. They all wrote me letters, most of them in Korean. I am so thankful that I can read them and enjoy their compliments. I’m even more surprised to know they enjoyed my class and had fun. As a first year teacher with no experience and no help it is such a high praise. I received 14 letters from my class and I plan to translate all of them so I can share with family and friends.  For now though I will just share the ones that have some English in them to share with those who follow my blog.


I wasn’t able to open these letters until before I had to attend a meeting for teachers in Gangneung so I actually cried a little while reading them before the presentation. This is why  you can see the oranges, they were given as a snack, straightening out the letters. My name was spelled wrong but it’s not the end of the world and it even happens among my family members who have known me for years.These kids now have my old co-teacher as their homeroom teacher in middle school. They are a great group of kids and I hope they continue to succeed.

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They left tears in my eyes, I think i will laminate them and keep them forever.

3 Schools and Nina Teacher

3 Schools and Nina Teacher

I’m currently teaching at 3 different schools. When I first arrived in Okgye (옥계)  I was told that I would be teaching at the middle school 3 days a week and the elementary school 2 days a week. That sounded like a good schedule to me.  I’m in the door at 8:30 A.M. and I’m out the door at 4:30 P.M. To me, this was heaven. No weekends, no overtime, no fixing problems, I was able to be free as a bird once the clock struck 4:30 P.M.

For those who don’t know, the schooling system in Korea is set up differently than in the states. It is on a 6-3-3-4 track. 6 years of elementary school, first through sixth grade. Middle school is seventh through ninth. High school is tenth through twelfth grade.  And college is four years the same as back home.

After teaching for about a week and many phones call that went back and forth between schools it was finally decided that I was going to also be teaching at another middle school on Mondays in Wangsan (왕산). Wangsan school is a 40 minute bus ride into Gangnueng (강릉) and from there by co-teacher drives me by car to the school which is 20 minutes away.


This is Wangsan middle school, it is the smallest school in the city of Gangneung. There are 19 students in the whole school. They are truly a lovely bunch, each class is really intimate and it is easy to rally their attention. Lots of hello’s when I arrive and good-bye see you next weeks when I leave. Although the school is really far out the children are truly a joy. I also am finding at this school, I spend more of my focus during pair work helping the special education students.  I find it rewarding as they repeat each word after me or they try and speak in front of the class, the other classmates are not rude either. Which I appreciate and I feel they have an understanding as to why I may not circle their way as much. I may start to insert a reward system for the stronger students. Not sure how to implement it without hurting the other students feelings if I have a stronger student help them out.


The Okgye elementary school complete with the English classroom. I have a smartboard that isn’t seen in this photo. I still don’t know how to use it properly and sometimes I hit a button and it goes to the wrong page and I make a fool of myself in the process but it is okay. There are roughly 120 students between first and sixth grade and I only teach third to sixth grade. The kids are cute and their attention spans are quite varied. Some students are pretty good at English and others struggle much more. But there is always a kid or two in class who are able to relay the message on to classmates in Korean.


And last but not least my home base. This is Okgye middle school that I work at during the rest of the week and where my main co-teacher resides. The school only has 85 students and they all approach me differently. Some say, “hello” and shuffle away quickly after I answer back. Others come charging and say hello quickly as they run through the halls. The class dynamics are all different, sometimes I have the blank stares. The I’m listening and still not going to stay on task or do the assignment. The omg teacher I need your help, “What is this word in English?” “What about this?” It’s a wide array of personalities and really fun.

I have two after school English conversation classes that I have yet to set a curriculum too. I feel input from students is always a good starting point. As I teach and interact with each student I feel myself growing. I remember what I was like in school, what I hated about teachers, what I liked. What I refuse to be in the classroom. How I want to shape my classroom and how I want to inspire my kids. You are never too young to think outside the box and have an opinion. And I think I’m going to make it a goal by the end of the year for them to tell me how they feel about certain things. Why not? We are supposed to be conversing in English, not “Hello, nice to meet you.” six months later, maybe you might say, “Teacher, what did you do this weekend?” That would be a reward within itself.


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