Tuesday, August 09, 2005

My thoughts on Korea and teaching so far......

Jamie and I have been in Korea for almost 2 weeks now. Koreans are interesting people. It is so vastly different here that I don't even know where to begin. Here in Seoul, the people seem to be overtly materialistic. Everyone and their dog has a cellphone/mp3 player/camera (sometimes all three come in one package). Just the other day on a hike, it was not unusual to see people hiking and talking on their cell phones. We have met some very kind Korean people who care for us a lot. After Jamie hurt his knee, Ottilia (one of jamie's adult students) has called everyday since to make sure he is okay and she offered to take him to the hospital to translate.

The streets are lined with market venders selling fruit, veggies, socks, smoothies, sandwiches, CD's...just about anything. It kind of feels like downtown Vancouver with a rural twist. The food is great, but sometimes it'/s hard to get used to eating Kim Chi 24/7..I still don't understand why it's such a staple product here. Most of the time, I feel like I'm at home here in Seoul because of the friends we have all around us. We have about 5 friends one subway stop away from us. We also have friends on the other side of the city, but we see everyone at least once a week at church and sometimes during weekend gatherings. The social mosiac is really rich--think about it...lot's of young recent University grads with lot's of searching questions about the meaning of life, about spirituality, about our future. It's really great.

As for teaching, it has its ups and its downs. i usually teach about 6 classes per day and at least 3 or 4 of them are decent, but the ones that are a flop really mess me up sometimes. Some kids you love and some you love to hate. Teaching is not a science--often the classes I prepare more for don't go as well as the classes I put little effort into. There are many challenging with teaching ESL. The obvious one is the language barriere, but sometimes an even more challenging wall is the cultural barriere. In Canada we teach freedom of choice and positive reinforcement. In Korea, you are TOLD what to do and what not to do. You are punished when you are bad and nothing is said when you do what you should. Silence is a gift.


Peter said...

Sounds like you guys are having a good time over there. I will continue to pray for you guys. I am very jealous. Talk to you later.

Lydia said...

Jennica - How's your family in Oliver? We've been hearing lots about a fire there...Hope everything is ok with them.