Good-bye Korea, Hello Japan!

It’s been about 5 and a half years since I’ve made my way here and it looks like it’s the end of an era for me. I’ll still be back, obviously. For concerts, for Kpop, for my boys. As for this blog? It’ll still be updated, no worries. At least making sure that the music show stuff is nice and updated because that’s really the only thing that people use this site for XD

But, as of March 1st, I am no longer a resident of South Korea. Instead I will be living in Japan. Please feel free to have a look at my Japanese blog, http://japancodex.wordpress.com where I’ll be talking about how to living Japan and do K-pop and J-pop things there.

Ah, I’ll miss this country but…well, one has to move on with life 😀

Solan Elementary School (A Review)

Ah, it’s time for me to move schools and I thought that it’s about time that I wrote a review for my school now that I’m not going to be here any more. Also for any of my potential replacements, I don’t want there to be just one negative article about my school. Almost every teacher I’ve talked to since coming here has seen it. I know the teacher that wrote that article and I won’t say that what he experienced was invalid or that he was just being over dramatic. He felt that he was treated unfair and that’s his thoughts, such as these are mine.

I came here around 2011 after a very long first year at a hagwon in Suwon. When I first interviewed, I didn’t talk to any of the other foreign teachers as one was absent and the other was teaching, but instead just listened to the requirements needed of me from the Korean teachers. I’m horrible at interviews, but the teachers were very kind to me and I was very happy when I got the job. Granted, I wasn’t being very picky at the time. I knew I didn’t want another hagwon and I definitely didn’t want to live far away from Seoul again. Hence, I moved to Bucheon.

Obviously when you start a job, you get taught the ropes. The former teacher, the one that wrote the bad article about this school, taught me as much as he could about the in and outs of the school. And about the, quite frankly, silly little fight he was having with the Korean teachers. I could see that there was a level of dislike between them and I decided not to get involved. I didn’t want drama. I just wanted to finish my year here and then move to Japan.

Four years later, and I’m still here.

There is obviously things that annoy me, but they are inherent to all jobs and not a thing that’s particularly negative about this school. I don’t really like the principal, he’s kind of sexist, but he’s never really done anything particular to me except saying I should find a Korean boyfriend and learn more Korean. But he’s an old man and you kind of expect that kind of thing from people like him. Oh, and you only see him like…once a semester.

As I don’t want to mention names, I’ll just call the manager of our office, H. Sounds kind of cool when you put it that way, doesn’t it? Like a Bond film hahaha

Anyway.

H has always been an amazing manager. I think that our former teacher (from now I’ll just call him J) just didn’t know how to read her moods well? She will tell you directly if she doesn’t like something and as long as you comply she won’t really harp on you about it. She tries to tell us about the going ons in school but she sometimes doesn’t get a message until the day and you’re left floundering around much like she is. It is true that her English isn’t as good as maybe the other co-teachers, but it’s not like she’s that bad. She’ll have a problem remembering the word, but she’ll look it up. She’s also ridiculously easy-going. I admit I have a problem with coming in on time, but she’s never really harped on me about it. It’s this that makes me want to be a better person so I try to come in on time more (I’m terrible employee, I know)

The co-teacher in the English morning classes, who I’ll call ‘C’ (ㅋㅋㅋㅋ) is really amazing and allows you so much leniency in how you teach your classes but also controls the class at the same time. She doesn’t allow the students to really get out of hand and is just all around amazing as a person.

There is a part time Korean teacher now, instead of a secretary as our student base has grown since the time of the previous teacher, her name is ‘K’. She’s so sweet and adorable and will probably have to manage our office soon as H will have maternity leave soon.

But you don’t want to hear about all the good stuff, do you?

I will admit that it can feel like a very big workload, but sometimes you’re left with so much free time that you don’t know what to do with. Not to mention you have TWO computers at your disposal. I just watch anime and tv shows during my breaks (shhhh…nobody’s supposed to know that…). Prep for class is almost too easy. There’s a book. You do whatever’s in the book, and then you let them play games. Yes, you have to make up your own classes once a year, but it’s not that hard. They almost always try to hire a teacher that’s had at least a year or so of teaching experience so that they won’t feel too overwhelmed. I feel like J might have been overwhelmed by the initial workload. The first semester is always the hardest, but once you get a hang of it, you’ll do well.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, that’s the main part. All Korean teachers here are extremely helpful and fun. Especially the PE teacher. He’s a blast. I love talking with him. You’re also not restricted as to what to put on your report cards either. This isn’t a Hagwon so you can sometimes be brutally honest with the parents. I try not to, but sometimes there’s just that one kid…

Anyway, you will work about 6hrs of teaching every other day, 4 on some days. And other days, just 2. Those 6hr days can be really tiring, but don’t let it intimidate you when considering this job.

I…don’t know what else to say. J had a petty fight with the teachers and ended up writing his article. I’ve been teaching here for 4 years and never really had any problems and neither has any of the other teachers who have come and gone. If you want to talk to me about this school personally, just leave a message here and if I have time, I’ll talk with you about it 😀 It’s a really amazing school and no one makes fun of your hobbies haha They think it’s cute and encourage it a lot. Also the students are AMAZING. Like, totally adorable. Always looking up to you, giving you hugs and they almost always listen when you’re scolding them.

Except for that one student…

But anyway, yeah. I don’t want to make a counter argument to J’s article and neither did I do this article at the urging of our school, but I do love this school and I’m really really sad that I’m leaving, but I’m too comfortable here and I like adventure, so off I go!!

 

PS. I should mention that I actually took a break from teaching for 6 months and they REHIRED ME right off the bat! They’ve been so freaking understanding like really. This school is so fun.

Comments Comments everywhere!

I just realized that I wasn’t getting any notifications for my comments and therefore not seeing them at all, so I’d like to apologise to everyone that I didn’t respond to! If you really need to get in touch with me, please contact me through twitter (@himurahimeko) and I’ll be more likely to respond to you! Sorry again!

Also I’ll be revamping this blog a bit in the next week or so to help everyone with their travels to Korea, so please look forward to the changes ^^

Random update!

Hi guys! Been sooooo busy this last two months! I went home to Hawaii for three weeks at the beginning of this year and I spent most of February getting ready to move from Bucheon into Sinchon. Now that I’m settled into my very (VERY) small gosiwon very near Yonsei University, I can finally get to updating this blog and making more youtube videos! Let me know if there’s ANYTHING you want to know about Korea and I’ll try and answer them to the best of my abilities!

Korean Gay Pride Parade 2013

I’m such a sucker for these sorts of events. I adore anything to do with Gay Pride and try to actively support LGBTQ communities whenever I can. This year was the first time I had the chance to go to a Gay Pride Parade IN MY LIFE. I cannot express how happy I was for the opportunity.

Despite being quite the affectionate sort (I have bared witness to many an ajusshi kiss), Koreans are steadfast in the notion that Homosexuality does not exist in Korea. Quite inaccurate considering the fact that I know a few Koreans who are openly gay.

It was quite heartening to see so many people at the Gay Pride. I heard from someone that they almost didn’t have it because of money issues, so I’m really happy that they were able to pull it off. I went alone, so I was quite hesitant to stop at the booths, but most were selling artwork and food and all sorts of rainbow goods for the attendees.

Not shocking is the rule against photographs. Most people who attend the Gay Pride in Seoul are still in the closet at home. Being caught in any picture would probably end in utter despair for them. Korea is far from accepting of an alternative lifestyle. Hell, even getting married at the wrong age would spell disaster for any Korean man or woman!

Purchasing a tag to be able to take pictures, I went around to the booths and discretely took some videos of their goods and watched the on stage performances with a great big smile on my face. I really am a sucker for gay pride.

The parade itself took us onto the main streets of Hongdae where we partied along with the floats, which were few and far between, but a lot of the parade goers just went with it all, walking down the street in a mob of glitter and rainbows: definitely one of the highlights of my life.

I’m so glad I went this year and I’m definitely marking my calendar for next year!