Saturday, March 21, 2009


I've incorporated idioms into quite a few of my classes this year. I think they're of utmost importance for ESL learners. If they are to properly understand native English speakers they need to understand idioms, as our regular speech is littered with them.

So far, we've talked about color idioms (out of the blue, green with envy, a white lie) and food idioms (a lemon, a piece of cake, cheesy). I've stressed again and again with my students that they need to incorporate idioms into their speech.

I've also noticed that many Koreans do not have very polished email skills, to put it lightly. So, I'm also working dilligently with my students on improving their email response time, grammar, and format. Their current assignment is to pretend that they are the manager of a small electronics store. They have 12 employees. They need to fire 4 of the employees due to slow sales. So, they need to send an email to their employees calling a meeting. They have to give a specific time and ask their employees to bring a list of their contributions from the last year (ala American Beauty).

After putting so much stress on the importance of idioms, I shouldn't have been surprised when some of my more enthusiatic learners combined the two lessons. My student Mina wrote....."at meeting in Wednesday on 9:00 pm 4 of you will get the boot."

I think I'll address idiom etiquette in my next class.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Gunpo it is!

We’ve been in Gunpo for almost three weeks now…and although most Korean people would probably consider this the country…it’s big city living to Jason and I. We’ve got our T-Money cards and our swanky new clothes. Our old students in Cheongok dong would hardly recognize us. Even though we’re in one of the far outer ring suburbs of Seoul we’re still on the subway line. We have access to all parts of Seoul. Which so far we have used to visit Fritz and the Costco. Not exactly big city excitement but we’re working up to that.

Our new apartment is great. It’s bigger and much nicer than our last one. The only downfall is that it’s not furnished. It came with a bed and a TV stand and that’s it. We’ve since bought tupperware (which by the way, is far superior to the U.S. kind) and floor pillows. I think we’re going to have a very zen place this year…at least until we find some good dumpster diving scores.

Teaching so far seems great. I’ve only taught three classes this week but I love it. I was surprised at how energized I was after my first class. I don’t know if it’s from being so idle over the last few months or if I really like it that much. Either way, I’m glad (and a bit surprised) at my reaction to coming back. I wasn’t nervous or anything. I felt extremely comfortable in front of the classes. I never thought I would.

Another big change this year is that we have co-workers who are foreigners as well. So, we have people to help us navigate our first few weeks, people to ask question of, and people to talk smack with. Yeah!!! So, far they’re all really nice and only two of the people seem like they could be weirdos. One of the other guys at the university quietly referred to one of them as the new Boo Radley. I love dorky literature references!

So, here’s to another year in Korea – new jobs, new experiences, new friends, new memories! Kombai!