Teaching English
La Boquilla Tour

La Boquilla Tour

Even though I’ve hit the ten month mark in Colombia, I’ve failed to really show you how wonderful my Peace Corps site is. Now is your chance to glimpse some important places in La Boquilla through the eyes of my 9th grade English conversation club. Last semester, I worked with this group of students to film a...
On teaching English conversation classes to Korean university students

On teaching English conversation classes to Korean university students

For the past two months, I’ve been a teacher’s assistant for two university English classes. These classes are not your typical mandatory English classes; they are designed for English translation majors–students who are devoting their lives to the English language. These students will be translators, interpreters and teachers. Particularly, these students should be the most enthusiastic about...
Goodbye Seokgwan Elementary School

Goodbye Seokgwan Elementary School

Goodbye Seokgwan Elementary School. Goodbye bringing toilet paper to work. Goodbye Cool Messenger. Goodbye empty office. Goodbye squat toilets. Goodbye deskwarming.   Goodbye four-story building. Goodbye barren playground. Goodbye English textbooks filled with mistakes. Goodbye Nami. Goodbye Jinho. Goodbye low-budget English videos.   Goodbye students who refuse to use punctuation. Goodbye Hello Kitty pencil cases....
Dueji and 'Diet' stamps: the importance of weight in Korea vs. the United States

Dueji and ‘Diet’ stamps: the importance of weight in Korea vs. the United States

“What did you do last weekend?” I asked my class of 24 twelve year-old students. “I played with these two pigs!” shouted one of the skinny boys, referring to two of his friends. His friend turned around and slapped him playfully on the head. Later in the day, I was playing a Powerpoint game with...
Promoting Korean Reunification through English Tutoring: an interview with a PSCORE volunteer

Promoting Korean Reunification through English Tutoring: an interview with a PSCORE volunteer

Despite living in Seoul, mere kilometers from the Demilitarized Zone that divides North and South Korea, it’s quite rare to meet North Korean defectors in everyday life. I may have sat next to a North Korean on the subway, or interacted with someone at a local shop, but I wouldn’t have realized it. In magazines...
The Ddongchim: Korea's obsession with anuses

The Ddongchim: Korea’s obsession with anuses

As I walked inside IBK Bank one day, I didn’t know whether to run away or burst out laughing as one of the employees, an ajeosshi (middle aged man) with a beer belly, casually grabbed a pen from his pen holder. It wasn’t a solid-colored cube void of personality, like you’d expect to see at a bank,...
More $#!* my students say, write and wear

More $#!* my students say, write and wear

Last March I published a post called “$#!* my students say, write and wear,” with some hilarious comments, writing and Engrish t-shirts from my 12 year-old students. Now I have a few more I’d like to share. $#!* MY STUDENTS WRITE:   $#!* MY STUDENTS WEAR:   $#!* MY STUDENTS DRAW:   $#!* MY STUDENTS...
This is what happens when you let your students play with your hair.

This is what happens when you let your students play with your hair.

Everyday, there’s one class where a couple girls love playing with my hair. “Ooh, Ms. Shaw has baby hair!” they say. (Yes, I know. My hair is ridiculously thin and I’ll probably be bald when I get old.) During the ten minute break before class starts, I let them braid my hair or put it...
$#!* my students say...and write...and wear

$#!* my students say…and write…and wear

I teach English to eleven and twelve year old students at an elementary school in Seoul. I taught fifth grade in 2011, and now I’m teaching the same 210 students this year in sixth grade. For the most part, their English skills are extremely poor, but there are a handful of students who speak relatively well....
How Teaching English in Korea Actually Helped me Learn Korean

How Teaching English in Korea Actually Helped me Learn Korean

I’m terrible with kids. I substitute taught second graders who, in clusters, nagged me to go to the bathroom, and hellion seven-year-olds in my Saturday Art School classes in Brooklyn, New York, telling me that my pastel fish drawing project was “for babies.” I remember my lack of classroom management skills as paintbrushes were thrown across...