Conversations with Hannie

  • Hannie: Are you guys coming to the wax museum with us then?
  • Leah: Is it free?
  • Hannie: Yeah.
  • Grace: What? It's free?
  • Hannie: We have tickets.
  • Grace: What about them?
  • Hannie: They don't have tickets.
  • Leah: Oh... Thanks.

My Newsarticle

We all had to write a random article about our stay here in Korea. I don’t know how it got this long.


Gyeongbuk TaLK News Article

Eunhye Grace Lee

          A month ago, I experienced the longest five minutes of my life. It was right after my mentor teacher left me in my new classroom, five minutes before I started my first day of teaching. It all seemed breezy in theory; the night before, I had created a relatively long powerpoint presentation in fear of having nothing to do after ten minutes of introductions. I slept pretty well that night, thinking that I was as prepared as I possibly could be. But then I sat there in my chair, realizing that I didn’t even know what first graders even looked like. Being the eldest of three children, I always saw my younger siblings as babies. But looking out the window in that elementary school, I became painfully aware of the fact that both my siblings are now in high school. I hadn’t interacted with a child who was younger than at least 16 years old for a very long time.

          The first minute passed. I quickly opened up my powerpoint and read through it. My first period was 40 minutes with 1st graders. First graders. It’s at that time I realized that first graders would be six or seven years old. They would have been born in 2006. Where was I in 2006? I was in highschool. I was already a big kid when these babies were born.

          The second minute passed. I nervously skimmed through my powerpoint again. I had lots of pictures of myself and Canada, but would these kids even care? I tried painfully hard to remember what I used to be interested in when I was in the first grade, but there was no way I would remember.

          The third minute passed. I was starting to feel anxious. Should I make some last minute changes to my powerpoint? Should I scrap the whole thing and just do ABCs? Do these kids even know their ABCs?

          The fourth minute passed. I panicked as I opened up a few tabs on the internet searching for some games to play with the kids. I hadn’t thought of doing any games - what if I became the boring teacher that no one wants to listen to? Even worse, what if some of the kids stop coming to class? At this point, I had knots in my stomach as I nervously clicked through different English teaching sites.

          But before I could even read through the list of games, the door slammed open obnoxiously and three tiny children ran into the room laughing and pushing each other.

          ’They’re like tiny human beings,’ I thought to myself in awe as I sat there, just taking it all in. They sat down and curiously looked at me as one would a foreign object that didn’t belong. I took a deep breath and started my lesson.

          Two hours later, I once again plopped myself on my chair, exhausted and aggravated. I spent 40 minutes with my first graders, trying to communicate using English, body language and pictures. About 20 seconds into the lesson I came to the distressful realization that these kids had no idea what I was saying. At all. I was just going through the motions, flipping through the power point even though the kids looked blank and lost. Afterwards I gave them a sheet that I had prepared for them so that they could draw a self portrait and write down their names for me. Thankfully, the kids understood what they were supposed to do and the rest of the class went by smoothly. The second graders, however, were determined to give me a hard time. They interrupted in class and would yelled out random things, talked while I was talking and even ran around during the presentation. When I asked them to draw themselves, they decided to draw Angry Birds instead and when that got old, they started picking on one of the quieter students. 40 minutes passed by hectically, and as the 2nd graders stormed out of the classroom I felt a wave of relief.

          At that point I was starting to question the meaning of life itself. Was this what every day was going to be like? Why had I not thought this through? I thought I handled kids well because I could play with them for 10 minutes, with their parents around, no less. Why did I think that this was going to be a fun job? Where on earth did my obnoxious confidence come from? I was not expecting much from my last class, the 6th graders. I just sat there thinking ‘God, I hope these kids at least know their ABC’s’. My stomach clenched as the door opened once again. A girl poked her head through the door and looked at me. She seemed almost confused, but she said ‘hello’, came in and took a seat.

          ”Today we have English?” She asked. I almost cried. SHE SPOKE IN ENGLISH! It was the first time hearing someone say a complete sentence in English all day. I refrained from running up to her and giving her a big hug as I nodded and answered ‘yes’. She nodded her head as well and started unpacking her things. A storm of 6th grade boys appeared afterwards, all of them saying short hello’s as they entered the classroom. I felt a bit more relaxed as I started my presentation this time. The kids were responding! They laughed at the funny pictures instead of looking confused and could guess where Canada was correctly! They even knew what maple syrup was! By the end of the presentation I was bubbling with joy. They all drew self portraits without trouble and wrote down their names, their ages and their hobbies (with a little help). Afterwards they handed their papers in and said goodbye as I sent them off.

          I had survived my first day. It wasn’t all fun and games, but the sixth graders gave me hope. In about four or five years, my first and second graders could be like my sixth graders! All I have to do is help them make that first step. It’s been a month now and I can say that it isn’t easy, but I understand my students better now and hopefully they’re trying to understand me as well. I see improvement in their English and even their attitudes (mostly 2nd graders), and I can’t wait to see where they will be by the end of my time here.

Tumbling Along

Aaaand I’m back!

I keep forgetting to update my Tumblr. It’s not because I’m lazy. I have so many things to do, people to meet, food to eat and naps to take. Minus the first two.

Anywho, I’ll try to post from time to time. Cheers!