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Hail to the Chief!

19 Apr

Today I went to lunch with my all Korean tennis club. We went for sushi, which is a far cry from what I would find at my regular sushi haunt back in Toronto. The main attraction was what I would describe as a bibimbap, sans the egg and with raw fishing in lieu of beef, and was absolutely delicious!  The side dish, raw sea squirt,  was mildly less appetizing. Though I ate it with ease during the meal, my opinion quickly soured after catching the live thing outside of the dining establishment. Looked something like this:

Honestly the ones hanging out smirking at me (fine they have no faces but I swear I caught a smirk!) in the foggy tank outside of the restaurant were even more revolting looking- kinda like they fell off this guy:

However, the most entertaining part of the meal was when I somehow got elected “Chief”(basically someone to relay information from the coach to the other members and to organize get-togethers) of our all Korean speaking tennis club . I of course understood this to be a hilarious joke and was rolling around on the floor with laughter, but quickly realized that after  several rounds of applause that they were being dead serious(that and the look of annoyance that came over my bosses face as she knew that she would obviously be doing the bulk of the work for me). Apparently this is all part of the coach’s master plan for me to learn Korean, I somehow feel his plan may backfire….

Anyways, it’s been nearly two months since my teaching premier, so I feel it appropriate to show you some of my students.

Cutest personality ever! Beyond those times when he swings from blouse collars…..

Is thinking of turning to Dr.Phil for help with her high-five addiction:

Couldn’t tell from this picture but the kid on the left is the sweetest ever

Just won a rock-paper-scissors! battle-the resolution to all classroom disputes

I know you’re not supposed to pick favourites, but if I would this may be him. I told my boss this and she replied, “Really, but he’s always dirty!” . Sounds like my kinda kid….

“Shauna Teacher I am happy and I am sad and I am so-so and I am great and I am okay and I am tired and I am ummmmmmmm” *confused face*

You can bet I had to confiscate that

Cutie. ‘Nough said

Getting the kindergardeners to work this intently is a Christmas miracle. And the kid on the right has THE BEST hair – the future star of a Korean drama

Popular Korean delicacy

Thats right, I work them to the bone

And I’ll leave off with this one(no wonder I’m always sick)



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.