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Difference Within Similarity

It seems like every week while I have been in South Korea I have had a different and new dynamic to explore in the classroom. Whether it be because I was switching grades or getting used to teaching with different people, I always had something that was different within the confines of teaching in the classroom. This week, however, I finally understood what it was like to get used to teaching in a certain dynamic.

Finally Used to the Dynamic

After two weeks of almost the same dynamic, I knew exactly what to expect in the classroom. The readings I chose were no longer to easy or too hard. The dialogues we came up with were just challenging enough and they were on topics that the students didn’t find boring. I knew just when I could joke with the students and when the right time for a game break was. This feels amazing.

The Tale of the Woodcutter and the easier screenplay

Seeing my students have fun and learn makes long lesson planning sessions worth it. For example, the teacher that teaches my class when DukeEngage is not there said she wanted to create a script based on a popular folk tale in Korean history. The story was called “The Woodcutter and the Heavenly Maiden”. Looking at the story I was given, I knew my students wouldn’t be able to read and comprehend it. I asked the most advanced student in my class and she said she could read it but could not understand most of the words she was reading. Basically, her comprehension of this story was like my comprehension of a Korean passage. I could read it all but I only understood a couple words here and there. With this in mind, I spent two hours simplifying a ten-page story to one easy to read page. Each student in my class was assigned to one character in the folk tale. I even made a drawing for each important scene just in case they didn’t understand. I was so frustrated after I did this. It felt like I had wasted so much time for virtually nothing: just a simplified story.

However, when I got to class and read the simplified version to my students, I knew that I had not wasted my time. When I saw the relief on many of the students’ faces, I knew that a simplified story was not virtually nothing. When I saw them excitedly selecting characters to play in the script, I understood that it was all worth it. I knew my students well enough to know what would be just hard enough for them to tackle, and how to introduce it to them in a way that made them laugh. (Yes, I did act out each character, and yes, they were very over the top lol).

Outside of the Classroom

Melody and I went exploring this weekend! We walked so much that we passed every stop on Line 2 in the subway. Going to another exhibition, we visited a Taemin event. He is a member in a band called SHINee. We also went to the Han River, where we say the beautiful view at night. It was so cool, especially because I had seen it in TV shows. Lastly, we went to the SM building, a famous music company building. The next day, all of the girls went to Lotte World, which is an amusement park in Seoul. It is almost completely indoors and very fun. It felt great to go and be silly.