Teaching English
Documenting my Peace Corps projects

Documenting my Peace Corps projects

[Hanging out with some of my adult students after class.] When I created this blog in 2011, I intended it to be a travel blog, but over the past few years, it’s merged into a travel/art/lifestyle/I-write-whatever-the hell-I want-to-write-and-that’s-why-this-blog-could-never-be-that-popular kind of blog. However, one topic I rarely write about is work. In Korea, I occasionally wrote...
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...
Riding the white horse: On being foreign in South Korea

Riding the white horse: On being foreign in South Korea

KEVIN, my Korean co-teacher, had an idea for our open class. “Let’s make a motivational video,” he suggested. “I’ll ask, ‘Would you like some more?’ you’ll say, ‘Yes, please,’ and after we repeat this a couple times, you’ll stuff your shirt with balloons. When you stand up to clear your tray, you’ll look really fat!” “Really,...
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...

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