Shauna Teacher

14 Mar

As I enter into my second week of teaching perhaps I should briefly explain my position.

I’m teaching at what is know as Hagwon – a private institute where Korean students receive supplementary education to their regular studies. This can mean a twelve hour school day for many students. As a result, many tend to resent the extra class time. I am very lucky as my hagwon places an emphasis on students enjoying their education, making them eager to learn in my class. The class sizes in hagwons  tend to be much smaller than that of a public school, making for a much more personal and interactive learning experience.

Still, due to the some horrific experiences had at hagwons in the past, a smidgen of terror enters peoples eyes when they learn I work at a hagwon as opposed to a public school. The only real downfall to working in a hagwon is that the mothers peer in to my classroom from time to time (usually just as their child is acting up/making me look like a fool) with dagger eyes like no other, silently judging my (in)abilities as a teacher.

As my Korean level has achieved the impossible by worsening, I’ve decided to get super serious about my studies. Thus I walked on over to the only book store in the city that sells books in English in hopes of finding a korean text book. The only one available that was geared for english speaking absolute beginers was one recommended for those 6+.  Sold!  Easiest purchasing decision I’ve made in a while.

Already this book has motivated me to step up my game as Kory, the 8 year old boy seen on the cover, is super excited to “learn a new secret code called Korean together!”. I found this tidbit on the inside of the front cover-proof that I’ve actually opened the book.  I’m paring this along with video tutorial that has been recommended to me( I swear the video is intended for an audience who have past puberty)

And now, I leave you with some words of wisdom from a veteran expat(3 weeks!)

– when coming to Asia don’t bother using any hair appliances from home, even with the aid of a voltage transformer, as it will explode/transform in a flame thrower upon usage and leave your apartment smelling of burnt rubber. mmmmm

– though North American movie popcorn is salty and artery clogging, Korean movie popcorn is sweet and sad.

– Korean movie theaters are well ahead of those who have a penchant for double features(for those unfamiliar with the concept it is when teens and really mature adults…definitely not me…see one movie and then accidentally on purpose stumble into a second using the same ticket…oopsie!). Seats are reserved in advance, meaning you don’t actually have to show up to the theatre until just when the lights are dimming, making it mildly awkward for those who are continuously  sitting in a seat not reserved for them as they are clearly in a movie they are not meant to be in.(this of course is all conjecture as I have no first hand experience in such happenings)

– and last but not least: no matter where you are in the world the best and safest option at an Asian Buffet is always found at the soft serve ice cream machine

Shauna Teacher out!(Shauna Teacher is how the students address me as I would need more than a year to teach them how to properly pronounce my surname)


PS although I absolutely adore my students, the following three incidences were less than endearing. First, a boy called me mommy today(a downgrade from the initial grandma ) and then licked my hand later in the class (all done earnestly) . Next, a girl informed me that my outfit resembled that of a police lady’s. And last, as I was standing in clear view of a mother (who had her judging binoculars out and set to super sharp dagger vision), a 4 year old boy decided to use the already plunging collar of my blouse as a zip line and dangled there for a time that was just long enough to expose what I am certain was the entirety of my bra(he was including me in his game of spiderman – he was spiderman and I was the skyscraper). OK, truth be told  I find this all to be bizarrely endearing despite being framed as a frumpy old woman who flashes poor Korean mothers.


One Response to “Shauna Teacher”


  1. Busan and a New Frienemy « In an Aeroplane Over the Sea - March 29, 2011

    […] **Baji in Korean means “pants”, or if mispronounced…… “lady parts”, thus I feel it may be necessary to rename him as I feel a tragic, albeit familiar, faux pas a-brewing, likely involving that very judgmental mother form my Hagwon. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: