Sunday, May 15, 2011

Creative Thought... where is it?

We went to an alien nore bang (karaoke room) on Saturday night.. what a time we had!! (Felicity, Krish, Molly, Skip and I)

Is it odd that I was comforted by this… my dad told me that even in the states, people are not getting paid on time. My company over here in South Korea can not afford to pay its employees on time either. I'm new to the business world but I did not think it was going to be this way. I guess I can't expect it to be that much better when I come home. I have applied for dozens of teaching positions back home and haven't heard a peep. I'm keeping my fingers crossed… do the same for me, please! :)

This weekend was gorgeous… especially on Saturday when I had to sit inside all day and work. We had a mandatory work day this Saturday because of the many days off we had/have this month. I don't get it but whatever… I went into work and did what I was told… carried on with the typical slave work. All the classes were split up so each teacher only had to teach one class from 10:30 to 12:30 then write the next three month's lesson plans. Luckily, I was out of there by 4ish so it wasn't too bad. I had a higher level class in which I taught one 16 year old boy. Between you and me, I was a little intimidated because I've never taught high school, but I played it off ….you would have never sensed my timidity. I actually learned a lot from James. We discussed the issue of racism in Korea and why so many Koreans dislike foreigners. It is a lot better now than what it used to be but some Koreans just don't want to share their country. They hate to see it growing with foreigners… the idea of diversity just sickens them. I think diversity is definitely one thing I miss most from the states. In our free time, I often show my students music videos on youtube. My Kindergarten class loves Justin Bieber so I always show his music videos. I never noticed it before because it is what I am used to seeing but, like in any music video, there is a diverse mix of people. I like for my students to see how these different races/ nationalities interact. I wish I could take every single one of my students back to America with me. I want them to see how different our society is.

While i'm on the subject, I'll share with you some major differences that I have seen. So, my fourth graders are currently writing an argumentative essay on why there should be no school on Saturdays. When I tell them that students in the US don't go to school on Saturdays, they are just blown away. Like I have said before in my earlier blogs, these poor kids never get the chance to just be kids. Sundays are spent doing homework and studying and maybe the occasional trip to the mall but that's it. One of my students said, "well, that's why Koreans are so much smarter than Americans!" I responded with… "well David, you may be right about that but ya know what, we are happier and less stressed!" I went online and showed him that Korea has the largest number of suicides in the world because Koreans bottle up all their emotions and stress and then finally they take their lives because it's too much to deal with. After telling them this.. they all just sat back in their seats in awe. They even admitted to me how stressed they always are because of school and the pressure from their parents to do well not only in Korean school but in English school, violin, piano, hapkido, Chinese, etc. It's really sad, I don't remember feeling that way until I was a sophomore in high school. We are still in the brainstorming stage but, I am very anxious to see how these essays turn out.

I spent my Sunday with Skip discussing some of these same issues. Skip made a very interesting point that makes so many thoughts about Korean culture so perfectly clear. He was stating that yes, Koreans are very smart but a lot of their knowledge is information from books that is just regurgitated… memorized. Very few of them think creatively! Ah… YES, he hit the nail on the head! I think about all my classes and the times that I have asked my students to just think about something.. give me your opinion. They look at my with blank stares or hurry to find the answer in the book. NO NO… it's not in your book… think outside the box! This is so hard for them. Creative thoughts just don't run in their heads naturally. The language itself is this way. In English, we have so many different words for one thing but in Korean, if you say a word then that's it and you aren't going to hear a synonym or any type of slang for it. Everyone says hello the same way. You never hear any slang like we have… "what's up", "hey", "how's it goin", "hi"… etc. No creative thought, it's crazy to me! That's why this country has NO sarcasm! I really have to watch myself sometimes because my students get so confused with my sarcasm.

Korean Facts/ Randomness:

I went to a pet shop this weekend and had a ball playing with all the little kittens. Several of the kitties stared at me in the weirdest way. I finally figured it out… they were looking at my just like the Korean people look at me, like a crazy foreigner. I certainly didn't mind this kitty staring at me because he was adorable but I get so sick and tired of being gawked at. Some might think it is flattering but trust me, it's not! They do it in such a rude way too.. it makes you feel so uneasy. They don't just glance, they literally gawk.. no exaggeration. If they see you coming they tap their friends on the shoulder and all giggle and point. Often just looking at you in the time they pass is not enough, they have to turn around and keep staring as they walk away. MY GOD… enough already! I have gotten really good at ignoring them- sunglasses and my ipod, that's the trick! Ya know, my mom always taught me that it was rude to point… well, not in Korean cause even parents do it.

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