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Lesson Planning

Working in Korea is a lot of fun! Aside from the outstanding culture and the beautiful scenery, the people are really great... and by people I mean the students... the adorable students that steal your heart and candy. Most hagwons (private academies), will have a general curriculum for you to follow. And if you're lucky, like I was, you'll get a lot of recycled lessons plans that you can use again! Most schools will let you be creative if that's what you want. Some schools will already have lesson plans for you. Others may have nothing, give you a pencil and point to the drawing board!
I work at a Poly school, which is a really big and prevalent chain throughout Korea. They have a lot of pre-made lesson plans for the classes, however there is a lot, and i repeat, A LOT of room for wigglin'. I got really lucky my first year with an a really flexible staff. They let me have creative control with my lesson plans. I was able to do art with my students, learn through a lot of games and experiments.! I for one would die of boredom if I didn't change the pass from time to time! If that's not your style, there are a lot of resources online that can help with lesson planning.

10 Methods for Regaining Control in the Classroom

 

“OK! Time for class!” you yell frantically. It’s week one at your first hagwon job and your mission is simple: keep it together. Yet, the bell has rung and your students do not have their books out, are yelling in Korean, and throwing things across the classroom. It is time for you to regain control of this situation -- but how? 

1. "1, 2, 3, eyes on me”  

This is a chant I remember from my own elementary school days. Practice it with your class beforehand and it will really come in handy. When you say “1, 2, 3, eyes on me” then the class responds “1, 2, 3, eyes on you.” Make sure that the students are actually looking at you when they say it.

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2. Clapping

The noise will override any other conversations that are happening and clapping in unison will make sure everyone in the class is on the same page. Plus, clapping is fun.

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3. Turn off the lights

The kids will instantly freeze and wonder what is going on. In the calm of darkness, firmly explain to them what you would like them to do once you turn the lights back on. Disclaimer: this method is only for the 7+ crowd (you want to surprise the kids, not scare them.)

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4. Silent method

If you yell enough, it will simply become background noise to your kids. Instead, mix it up by standing there and looking at the kids sternly.

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5. Sticker method A

Chances are, you will have one student in your chaotic class that is sitting like an angel. Give this student a sticker, or two stickers, heck, give ‘em three. The other students will be envious and start emulating this good behavior.

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6. Sticker method B

“OK, class! Does everyone want a sticker? Then we must listen. If one person is not listening then nobody gets stickers. If everyone does listen, then everyone will get a sticker.” After this announcement, the class will start policing themselves in no time.

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7. The Persistent Method

Channel your Aunt Edna and nag the children into good behavior. Anytime that a student is talking when you are talking, stop the lesson and say their name. Repeat this nagging until all of the student’s peers are also asking them to be quiet.

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8. Countdown from 10

I don’t fully understand the psychology behind this one, but I do know it is timeless and powerful. It still works on me for Christ's sake. 

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9. Phone a friend

Invite a co-worker into your classroom, preferably a native speaker, to reprimand your misbehaving students on the spot. Even better, have them take the student into the hallway. It will feel gratifying when they apologetically bow to you afterwards.

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10. "I'm sorry teacher”

If a student is being out of line, they probably know it. To make sure you are clear about what does and does not pass in your classroom, request that the offending student apologize. If they do it sarcastically make them do it again, and again, until they get it right.

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11.The board is your friend

Write everyone’s name on the board. If someone gets three strikes (or sad faces, or anything) they are out and will not get a sticker for the day. If that is not working, five strikes and they go to the office. Which leads us to 12..  

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12.Call the offender out on their bluff

If there is one bad egg who will just not listen to you, send him to the office. It will ruin your credibility with your other students if they are allowed to stay, which may create even more problems in the future.

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All kids test their limits in the beginning of the semester. So, be consistent (and kind) and your students will quickly learn what is and isn't ok in your classroom. 

What to Expect Your First Week in Korea

Your hagwon bought the plane ticket and now you are sweating with anticipation. While each experience is different, there is some universal sage advice that every new teacher can use their first week in Korea. 

 1. You will hit the ground running

Like, there is a 50/50 chance you will start working when you land. If not, you will work the next morning.

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 2. Your apartment will need some deep-cleaning

Tenants do not face fees for leaving a mess when they move out. Therefore, unless the previous tenant was a saint your apartment will probably be gross. I found rotten vegetables in my fridge and dusty tissues scattered around my apartment. Consider it your initiation!

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3. Dress to Impress

Appearance is everything in Korea. Although most Koreans know Westerners are generally under-dressed, you will be taken much more seriously by your new students and colleagues if you put in the extra effort. I even went the extra mile and changed my clothes in the bathroom when I landed in Incheon. My boss took us out to dinner as soon as we got out of the taxi so it was a smart move.

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4.Get ready to Perform

Your first week you will probably be asked to teach a class in front of your superiors and coworkers. If you are loud, extroverted, and smile a lot you will be fine.   

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5. The children will probably be scared of you (the parents might be too)

This may be the first time they have seen a foreigner. Don’t be surprised if the sight of your foreign face makes them start crying.  

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6.Do not touch the opposite sex

Yes, even handshakes, Confucius will be angry.

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7. If needed, re-negotiate your contract          

If anything is not up to expectation, address it, immediately. The accommodation for me and my girlfriend was literally a hallway. We were persistent and got upgraded to a shoe box.

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8. You will probably hold a cup of your pee next to one of your co-workers

Not the fancy fastened pee-cups you find in America. I’m talking a Dixie-cup. And whichever co-worker took you to the hospital for your medical exam will be just as horrified as you are.

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9.Ask about your ARC semi-constantly until you get it.

Your life will be in limbo until you can get wi-fi, a cell phone, health insurance, and a bank account.

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10.Remember to Take a Deep Breath

Transitioning to life in another country is never easy, especially when it is South Korea’s hurry-hurry culture. Know that you will eventually learn the ropes and be schoolin’ the rookies in no time!  

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Surviving the Heat---->Being in my late 20s, I am a little embarrassed to admit I am homesick. This isn’t summer camp, this is life! And I’m a full-grown adult! I know living in a new country is always a challenge. It’s nice to know I can depend on my coworkers to lend a hand when I need help.

The first night in SK was honestly exciting and also a bit hard for me.

I was taken immediately to my hagwon after my feet hit Korean soil and I observed classes and even taught a lesson despite having passed a sleepless 15-hour flight to Seoul. All I'm trying to do is survive and create memories. I didn't bring much money, so its very few things I can do this month.

Holidays Abroad

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(Me and my family rocking Christmas sweaters.)

With Thanksgiving long past and Christmas just around the corner, I wanted talk about what it is like to be away from your family during the holidays. I do realize that everyone have different attitudes when it comes to family and when it comes to the holidays and the mixture of the two; but for me the holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, have always been my favorite time of the year especially during college. I loved being able to come home and be with family and eat until I could eat anymore and just be able to wind down from the stresses I endured during exam week.

Now that I am not able to come home for the holidays, it has made me miss my family even more and I can't help but to think about all of the things I'm missing out on and all of the things that I took for granted while I was with them. There were a few things that I didn't really care to do while I was home, like going from one family's house to the next during Thanksgiving or decorating the Christmas tree, that I now wish I had an opportunity to do.

I'm not going to lie, if you and your family are really close and you love being with them on the holidays living in abroad for a whole year is going to be tough; but it's not all sad. I made friends here and was able to convince them to have a Thanksgiving dinner with me. We spent all day shopping and cooking a big meal that we could enjoy together. It was the first time I've ever made a whole Thanksgiving dinner, and sitting down and seeing what we created together and then stuffing out faces made me feel at home. 23795886_1790769700941413_6268521076099725936_n

(Final picture of out Thanksgiving dinner.) 

Also for Christmas this year my fiance is coming to visit me and I will be able to share all of the wonderful cultural experiences that I have enjoyed with him. 

So, even though my holidays are not going to be same without being back home and with my family, I do get to make new and exciting memories here in South Korea. 

Happy Holidays!

The Five Major Things You Need to do When You Land in Korea

Step One: Fly to Korea

Step Two: Land in Korea

Step Three: Profit?

Okay, so ignore that last one but for real: you’ve landed in Korea, you’ve gotten to your apartment, you’ve met some of your co-workers (maybe even taken a tour of your school, and now you’re trying to mentally prepare yourself with navigating your way through this unknown and exciting world…now what? You here, you’ve made it, there can’t possibly be anything else to prepare, right? No, dear reader, that’s where you would be wrong. There is still more paperwork to be filled out and more things to prepare. Luckily, I’m here to give you a heads up!

  1. ARC (Alien Registration Card)  Id

Before you even eat your first piece of gimpap or snap your first “I’m in Korea!” photo you need to start setting into motion the paperwork for your Alien Registration Card. This is basically the Korean equivalent of a “green card” saying you are allowed to be working and living in the country. “But wait,” you might be thinking, “Isn’t that what my visa is for?” Unfortunately, dear reader, the visa only allows you to work and live in the country for up to 90 days and allows you time to work on getting your ARC. If your hagwon is like mine or you’re teaching at public school, then it is most likely that they have already started to set into motion this process; but not every school is the same and though the majority of the paperwork needs to be completed by the school it may be necessary for you to take the initiative. Don’t be hesitant to talk to your school about getting your ARC because it is also very beneficial for them: obviously if they hired you for a year or more then they probably would very much would like you stay longer than 90 days.

Your ARC is not only important in the fact that it is the only thing between you and deportation but it also necessary for you to have one in order for you to do important things such as, you know, get paid. Which brings me to my next point.

  1. Bank Account  Korean-banks

Depending on where you live and what banks you have near you, you may need to wait to get your. ARC before opening up a bank account (which why, in that case, it would be better to start the paperwork ASAP); but banks today are slowly allowing foreigners, or at least ones with specific types of visas, to open up a bank account without their ARC. My bank, KB Star (Kookmin), for example, allowed me to open up a checking account which came with a Mastercard credit card with only my passport and visa, and allowed my school to pay me through direct deposit.  And, boy, am I sure glad I opened it up so I could get paid because I would not have made it for another month!

Disclosure *Just be sure to ask your Korean co-worker or friend for help, and don’t be surprised if it takes longer than expected; getting a Korean bank account is much harder than in America.

  1. Wi-Fi and Korean Sim Card  Wifi

It’s a cliché to say, but in this day and age you cannot survive without Wi-Fi and data and being in a foreign country it’s even more so. I don’t think I could have survived with not being able to speak to my family and friends for more than a few days, which is why I took the initiative in getting someone to help me get a Wi-F- box for my apartment. It cost me around 40,000 won or around $35 for a Wi-Fi box plus an extra 20,000 won ($18) to get some equipment to set it up; and, yes, it’s true what they say Korean Wi-Fi is A-ma-zing. And it has been definitely worth it to get not just because I am able to keep up with all my favorite American shows, including Game of Thrones and Project Runway, but because in order to get used to some of the culture shock you’re going to need to be able to contact your family and friends for support, and I mean also Project Runway.

In addition to a Wi-Fi box you will need to get a Korean phone or sim card, depending on whether or not your phone is unlocked. (If your phone is not unlocked then you will need to get a Korean phone on top of a sim card plan). This has been a lot more difficult for me to get considering that I am still working on getting my ARC; unlike some banks getting a Korean phone plan does require an ARC number. And what’s more a Korean phone number is pretty essential to some things in everyday life. Whether it’s needing to call one of your co-workers for help, ordering a pizza, shopping online, or even being able to watch YouTube videos only suitable for 19 years or older, you need a Korean phone number.

There are a few alternatives to just waiting for your ARC in order to get a Korean phone number. Which is to buy a prepaid Sim Card that allows you to have a temporary mobile data plan and phone number. However, the downside to this is it tends to be a lot more expensive than a regular data plan and you may not have as much data available as you like. However, if you are not interested in getting a Korean phone number (because let’s face it everyone just uses Kakao Talk to communicate anyway) and are only interested in being able to use data while you’re out and about then a lot of people have mentioned to me that getting a Wi-Fi egg is the next best thing. A Wi-Fi egg is like portable Wi-Fi router and gives you a certain amount of date per day for 30 days, and once 30 days is up you can recharge it again for another 30 days for one flat rate. This gives a bit more data than the pre-paid Sim Card and is cheaper as well. Whichever you choose to get, I still think the most important thing to get is your Wi-Fi box so that you can use this next thing.

  1. Kakao Talk  Kakaofriends_talk

As I mentioned before, most Koreans nowadays uses an app called Kakao Talk to communicate. It uses Wi-Fi or data to make calls, send texts, and make video calls, and best part about it is it’s free AND you can already use your American phone number to make an account (it also has a bunch of cute characters as mascots who are Everywhere in Korea). I highly suggest this app because as soon as you get to Korea I guarantee your co-workers will be asking, “Hey what is your Kakao so we can meet up?” Of course, you can’t go anywhere without a T-money card.

  1. Public Transportation card  T-money-card

In Korea I constantly use my T-money card to get around. A T-money card is a rechargeable public transportation card that you can swipe to pay fare for buses, subways, and sometimes even taxis (depending on how much you have). Many convenient stores sell these cards for a small price and then you can go to any convenient store to recharge it. T-money is the most common card you can buy but there are other brands you can buy as well. I never leave home without it and it makes riding the bus less stressful than trying around to correct change for the bus fare.

Those are a few of the things I think you need to get as soon as you get to Korea, until next time dear reader!

 

http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/GK/GK_EN_2_8_1_1.jsp
http://blog.trazy.com/sim-card-wifi-egg-which-to-use-in-korea/

How to Survive the 13+ Hour Plane Ride to South Korea

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For those of you getting ready to leave for South Korea (or wherever you happen to be flying to), you probably have a million and one different things going through your head: “Do I have everything packed? Do I have my passport? My plane ticket? When do I have to be at the airport? What do I do when I arrive?” But one thing you’re probably not thinking about is, “What am I going to do on this 13+ hour plane ride?” Well, fear not reader because lucky for you this is isn’t my first time flying across the world on a long-duration flight, and here are some of my suggestions on how to survive it.

 

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With nowhere to walk to when you’re bored and no ability to stare at your phone except at a very specific instant in time (the airplane WIFI is not the best), there are limited options to what you can and can’t do while you’re awake. If you’re lucky like I was, my last flight had mini personal screens in the back of every seat filled with new TV shows and movies, so I spent a good few hours watching those. But if you get bored then bring some other things on your carry-on to keep you occupied: bring that book you’ve been meaning to read, a notebook to write in, your DS and your favorite Pokémon game, one of those adult coloring books, maybe a phrase book to catch up on your Korean, and even though most of the time they are provided, bring your own headphones. You’ll thank me later.

 

Sleep Sleep on plane

Sleeping has to be one of the hardest aspects of a long plane ride; it almost comes down to a science. First, know that you WILL sleep but knowing when to sleep is essential. Be aware of when you’re arriving at your destination. As I mentioned in my previous article sleep is important to not only adjust your body to the time difference, but also to protect your mind from being too strained from the effects of culture shock. So, knowing when you arrive in (my case) Korea because if you arrive at night then you want to be tired enough so that you fall asleep at an appropriate time or if you arrive during the morning or the day you want to be awake enough to make it through the day so you can, again, go to bed a reasonable time. For the love of all that is decent, Do NOT take a nap! Your sleep schedule will not be kind and you will regret it. So, sleep close to before you arrive if you arrive during the day or sleep further from when you arrive if you arrive at night. It will be impossible to get a full 8 hours (unless you just so happen to be flying first-class) but sleeping even just a little will make a world of difference.

 

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What’s the deal with airline food? No, but, really amateur comedians don’t have it completely wrong. The food is … well food. It’s not good and it’s not bad; one thing it does have going for it is that the meals are varied and you do get enough per meal.  My suggestion is even though the food is not super appetizing it’s best to still eat even a little each meal. Even though it may not seem like it, flying can be a very tiring venture and food is the best way fuel your body for the long road ahead.  My other suggestion is do NOT eat the fish especially if it is sushi; yes they do serve that and yes it probably as bad, if worse, than gas station sushi.

 

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I know reader, you probably read this and thought, “Do we really need to talk about this?” and to that I say yes, dear reader, yes, we do. Take bathroom breaks! Take bathroom breaks as often as you can. Flight attendants everywhere might hate me for this, but I’m going to say it. The fastens-your-seat-belt symbol comes on more often than you think and when that light is on there is no way you are able to go to the bathroom. When the light is off don’t hesitate to go especially if you have just finished a meal. Trust me you don’t want to have to go when the plane is flying through some slight yet unexpected turbulence and while staring impatiently at the fasten-your-seat-belt light. If you think red lights take a long time to change then you have another thing coming.

 

Hope that was helpful dear readers. All of this advice I accrued from my first trip across the world. Let me know if I left something out or if you have advice of your own. Until next time, see ya!

Excitement, Fear, and Advice From Friends

As the day of departure is fast arriving and the only thing standing in my way is the return of my fully visa-ed passport, I wanted to reflect on the things that I am most excited and most anxious for my one-year stay in Korea

  1. Culture Shock Blog #1 image

My friend once described the culture shock she experienced at the beginning of her semester in France as an overload of the senses; and even though she had been studying French language and culture for some-ought-6 years she still couldn’t believe the adjustments she had to make while over there. Now, looking at myself who up until this summer had zero knowledge on Korean culture or language, I could pretend and say as John Mulaney once said “I know what most things feel like,” but I know that would be a total lie. Luckily for me I don’t have to this alone and unaware.  My world-traveling friend, like so many others, was able to survive the dreaded culture shock and she gave me some advice which I know will be invaluable to me in the near future:

She said the number one best thing you can do for yourself is to get a good night’s sleep. Because culture shock is such an overload to the senses, it is best to give the brain time to process and to adjust and learn from mistakes. It’s going to be hard not knowing how to communicate effectively sometimes and it’s going to be frustrating if you mess up some cultural norm, but do not fret and dwell and instead reflect and move on. Give your brain a rest and you will not regret it in the long run.  

  1. Teaching  Blog #1 image 2

Do you remember the question “What is your major?” during college and when you answered, “English,” the person automatically assumed you’re were going to be a teacher? Remember when you got so angry because that was the furthest thing you wanted be? Remember that? Haha well if you’re wondering, yes, that was me; and now I’m kind of laughing hysterically because now after only a few months after graduation I’m going to South Korea…To Teach! For a YEAR! What has the world come to?

If you know me well then you know I’m not the biggest fans of kids and therefore I never wanted a career where I would have to work with them for long periods of time. Yet, after much reflection (in between the “What am I going to do with my life”-crisis-periods) before graduation I realized that I had been working with kids during a lot of my college career. I volunteered at an after-school poetry club, I tutored after classes, I volunteered with the Girl Scouts for my sorority; and even though it was difficult for me I still tried my best to help the kids and have fun with them.  Combine that with my English degree, I few classes on TEFL, and a love for South-East Asian culture and boom! you’ve got a pretty good candidate for a foreign English teacher in South Korea.

So, while I’m nervous about the teaching aspect of going to South Korea, I am going to make the most of it and take in what lessons the kids have to offer. Who knows, after this year, maybe I’ll end up being a teacher after all.

  1. Independence Blog #1 image 3

“To find yourself, think for yourself” -Socrates

When I got to college freshman year, I expected that by this time now I would be a little more in tune with myself and little more independent. I would be paying my own bills and buying my own groceries. Unfortunately, I still feel as though I’m riding on the coattails of others, receiving, and never giving. Even during college, I’ve always had the option, and the luxury, of being able to go home when there was trouble. 

This time it’s different, however. Even though technology has come so far and I can now easily video chat with my friends and family from anywhere (while simultaneously looking at cat memes), the fact of the matter is I won’t be able to see them for a long time. And while this does make me extremely sad, maybe there is a silver lining in this dingy ol’ storm cloud.

I have the opportunity to find myself and to not only be physically independent, but emotionally and financially independent as well, and I’m not about to waste it.

It’s exciting and downright scary but I plan to make the most of it. Stay tuned, reader, to see where this goes!

Hello everybody! My name is Jayde Glaser and I'm about to go on an adventure of a lifetime and I want to share it all with you. This August I'm trading in my life in the United States for a brand new one in South Korea. It's going to be a whole new world with a new job, new language, new culture, new food, and new friends and I'm going to tell you all about it. Stick around every week where I will share articles, pictures, and videos full of opinions, advice, experiences, and much more.
Stay tuned!
안녕!!!

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