Thursday, July 12, 2012

shake it out...

thoughts on korean students...or korean youth...or maybe korean culture in general.

every korean student comes with a mirror.
after she finished her final final, one girl stared in her hand-held mirror. the entire time. until the end of class. like half an hour. seriously.

completely normal: plastic surgery. especially the coveted double eyelid. i challenged my students to write a 100-item bucket list for extra credit and one girl said she wanted to "have two eyelid before 20 years old". i also have an 8th grade student who had the surgery done over winter break.

"teacher, photoshop my eyes bigger" "teacher, my face is too big" i heard when i showed them a photo i took of them with their speech teacher.

my students noted and commented one day when my part was a bit on a different side.

yet they don't seem to remember a deadline they are reminded of 5 days in a row.

graduation last friday! photos to come. finals this week for the rest of the students. quotes to come!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

you're where i wanna be...

i am currently in a whirlwind of preparation. weekly meetings, learning a dance routine, frequent e-mails and updates...all for a trip of epic proportions.

i've been learning a lot this year and it's been on my heart to be a part of missions this summer with my church, new philly. i took part in a gangster "school of world missions" when the pastors of living hope church in emeryville, california came to korea and taught us during one intense weekend. i heard stories of teams seeing the lame walk, blind men see, the deaf hearing, and those in pain being healed. my one missions experience with SPU in 2008 was a great learning experience, but we definitely did not see signs and wonders to that extent and i knew i wanted to be a part of it.

and the doors flew open. i became a leader of new philly after going through training and qualified to go with living hope on their mission trip. i am one of two to be sent out by new philly with living hope. we are meeting the team there, so our preparation is separate but our mission is the same.

as i said, we are learning a body worship dance (and it's really good so far), preparing testimonies and sermons to preach, learning about spiritual warfare and altar ministry. i'm really being tested and purified during this season.

i will be in INDONESIA from august 8th to august 18th!

i'm excited yet still a bit apprehensive because i don't know completely what to expect. i really appreciate your prayers! please partner with me in prayer for the people of indonesia - they don't know that a wave a grace is about the hit them. if you want to support my trip financially, you can do that here. i'm definitely giving it over to God to provide.

in the meantime, my senior students just took their finals. i have some golden quotes i'm going to share once i'm finished grading. the underclassmen have one more week of school then finals week. it's coming to an end so quickly. it's especially bittersweet for the seniors graduating this friday. they've been together (in a small room!) for the past year (at least, and some of them longer) and they've become family. it's such a blessing to get to spend time with them every week and i've seen their relationships evolve over the year. they are excited for the future (although some of them aren't sure of their plans), but leaving each other will definitely be leaving some holes.

graduation update next week then!

while we're at it...happy canada day!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

come back...


from the kics retreat. we took the holiday weekend (memorial day in america, buddha's birthday here!) to retreat to the mountains and had a great three days uniting as students and teachers. it was lovely to watch different grades and classes interact that don't usually, to participate in the blessings the students received, and to pray with and for students. there was also plenty of water fights and ultimate frisbee games, so all in all it was a fun and refreshing weekend.

a teacher getting soaked...

we are winding down to the end of the semester - about a month left. their graduation is july 6th. finals the next week for underclassmen.

oh! i had a birthday too, right before the retreat. i didn't really tell anyone it was my birthday, but of course my students found out somehow and i was surprised with treats and songs. coworker friends took me to lunch and dinner, so it was a very full day of celebration. quite lovely.

besides the major events, it has been pretty routine, yet constantly full of joy. we've been learning a lot in classes, but also taking time just to have fun together, especially with the seniors.

this week, seniors are doing "passion and affirmation projects". we finished the main course content, so their goal is to teach the class about something they love and in return the class is going to affirm them. awwww. i'm looking forward to it (and not just because i have no more planning to do for that class!)

eighth graders are in the thick of world war ii. they made up some creative "great depression games" last week so it will be fun watching them make diplomatic moves as fascist dictators, if all goes well!

ninth graders are getting into far east asia. for them, they love this region because, of course, they live in it.  i've actually been really impressed with this class. i am pushing them hard this semester and having them learn where all the countries are by region and they are getting it. one of my favorite games i recommend to them is seterra online - although it doesn't include a lot of the smaller countries, it does have south sudan, unlike a lot of the other games.

time is swiftly running out this year. they are pushing really hard to get teachers to re-sign, but a very small percentage is staying next year - it's a mass exodus. it's gonna be a new school next year.

odd observation skills #14: okay, so, students. i can tell them over and over again about a project and they will still say "what? we had homework?" but not even kidding, one day my hair was parted on a different side than usual by accident and they TOTALLY called it out. selective observation?

i'll update you about my summer plans soon...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

so good - so, so good to me

i can't believe i haven't blogged since march. it really doesn't feel that long.

i posted some photos on facebook of sports day and some biking adventures.

the first weekend of may, i went to a church retreat with new philly in paju. we actually rode our bikes there and back which made for a great weekend. watch a video of our church in action during worship!

i have two minutes before i have to go to class, but i WILL update soon. really.

yesterday was teacher's day! our students did a pretty good job of honoring us.

off to teach and learn about South America, World World One, and family life, kind of in that order.

He's been so faithful and so, so good to me.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

what doesn't kill you makes you (stronger)...

a detour through life in korea as seen through my handphone...

long ago promised pictures of the puzzle cafe. as you can see, puzzles everywhere! the largest puzzles in the world on the wall, puzzles on the shelves, puzzles on the ceiling! and half of our group working on their puzzle. i don't think you can see them, but our mugs were sitting on puzzle piece-shaped coasters. what bliss.

although korean-produced coffee is virtually nonexistent, their cafe themes are virtually endless. cat lovers can mingle with their furry friends (although you can't bring your own cat, apparently). there's a hello kitty cafe as well, if you prefer your cats in cartoon form. i prefer neither, just so you know.

was it just last week? maybe two weeks ago. we were studying alternative energy in 12th grade, so i had them make eco-friendly KICS building models. here are some of the most visually impressive (although not necessarily the most functional or realistic :)

one of them even had a moving solar panel. many of them put to use the "PaveGen", as inspired by their reading of this article.

so things have remained interesting on the school front.

unfortunately, this has been one of the most trying weeks in terms of administrative insanity. the kids received a lovely gift at morning chapel, or maybe they saw a need for bicep work. (i stole this photo from my coworker.)
yeah, you see that correctly. every student standing with their chair above their head.

they also introduced us to three new folders. one for "attitude check" for our homeroom during chapel, one for "cleaning check" for our homeroom, and one to write down every time we make more than 5 copies at a time. 

but it's time like these that i remember Brother Yun, who faces actual persecution every day. so you know what? we're hanging in there with faith. 

we're actually studying submission to authority this week in class (yeah, it's actually in the curriculum - strange, strange mennonite homeschooling curriculum). 


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

the sun is up...

and winter really might be over in korea. we've had warm(er) days lately.

although the sun might be setting at my school. want to see our new list of "classroom principles", recited before school every day? some of them are actually helpful, but it gets pretty hilarious. and supposedly we're supposed to have them recite before every class too, but for sanity's sake...[the horrors of daily recitation? this is from memory...even the grammar and spelling problems...]

1. start and end class with prayer.
2. take daily attendance.
3. start and end class on time.
4. do not play a joke, go around, or chat during class. if you are sleepy, go to the back of the class and stand.
5. speak only english in class.
6. raise your hand if you have a question.
7. study with proper posture and attitude (do not stretch your legs, put your chin on your hand, cross your legs, or lay down on the desk)
8. do not use electronic devises (without permission)
9. do not leave the classroom during class
10. keep your classroom clean

always nice to start the morning with a stand-up routine, no?

in order to exert their almighty control, the administration has also decided that during our free periods (one a day, more if we're lucky) we will be their spies, writing up fellow teachers if any of their students break these rules. i have been written up twice for students resting their head on their chin (although the paper says chin on chin, which would be a lot more difficult). i refuse to blow whistles, so i hold up inspirational signs instead (e.g., "best teacher ever", "high 5", "don't stop believin'"...).

seriously, besides the fact that every new administrator thinks of new ways to earn respect gain power by making up ridiculous things for the teachers to follow, the students remain surprisingly benevolent and patient. and we've had some good times in class, joking together about the classroom policies, among other things.

time for class.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

today, today...

today is a major national holiday in korea.

so we're working, of course.