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It’s Paying Off

Chad and I have had a crazy schedule recently.  We had a huge demo class at our school that required weeks of preparation and renovation and then we quickly ran to Seoul for me to take the GRE.  After less than 12 hours home we boarded a bus to tour the DMZ.  We got home last night.  In about two weeks the Board of Education is hosting an English festival.  We received a paper today that one of our students, Jin Mi Guem (gin like gin and tonic, me like me, guem like chewing gum), wrote to read at the festival.  She is in 4th grade.  Her English is great and she is one of our favorite students.  Surprise!

The reason I want to share this with you is that reading this essay  proved to us that the little things we do are paying off.  Not soon after we arrived here we realized that we were not in Korea to make sure everyone can respond to “How are you?” twenty different ways.  We are here as diplomats of the English language and western culture.  Our goals became much bigger that the difference in the pronunciation of ‘rice’ and ‘lice.’   Every time we reach out to those kids and accept them for who they are and for what they already know, they will become more and more comfortable with us and our way of life.  Every time Chad treats me as an equal or says that he cooked dinner he is showing the students that  women and men are equal.  It’s a much bigger goal than we had originally anticipated but much more fulfilling.

Mi Guem’s essay proved to us that our efforts are working.  The entire essay can be read bellow but the parts that pertain to my blog post are in boldface.

안녕하세요. 만나서 반갑습니다.

Hello. Nice to meet you.

저는 근덕초등학교 4학년 진미금입니다.

I’m Jin Mi-geum, a 4th grader at Geundeok Elementary School.

저는 오늘 우리 학교에 대해 말하고자합니다.

I want to tell you about my school.

우리(our) 학교는(school) 한(each) 학년에(Grade) 한반씩(have 1 class) 있는 작은(small) 학교(school)입니다.(is)

My school is a small. We only have one class for each grade.

근덕초등학교에 와 보신적이 있나요?

Have you ever been to my school?

우리(our) 학교는(school) 작지만(small but) 예쁜(pretty or beautiful) 학교(school)입니다.

It is a small but pretty school.

운동장에는(in the playground) 잔디(grass)가 있고,

There is grass on the playground.

교실앞에는(before classroom or in front of my classroom) 정원과(garden) 큰 나무(big tree),

We have gardens and a large tree outside the classrooms.

언제나(every time, or always, all the time) 앉아서(sit) 쉴 수 있는(be able to rest) 긴의자(long chair, bench)가 있습니다.(there are)

There are benches where I rest everyday before class.

여름에(in summer) 나무(tree) 그늘(shade or dusk) 밑의(under) 긴의자에(bench) 앉아있으면(sit),

In the summer I sat under the trees in the shade.

불어오는(swelled up?) 시원한(cool) 바람에(wind or breeze) 기분이 좋습니다.(I feel good)

The cool breeze made me feel good.

우리(our) 학교(school)에는 2명(two person)의 원어민영어선생님(EPIK teacher)이 있습니다.(there are)

There are two EPIK teachers at our school.

선생님의 이름은 케이트와 채드입니다.

Their names are Kate and Chad.

성은 몰라요

I don’t know their last names.

저는 그냥 케이트, 채드라고 부릅니다.

I just call them Kate and Chad.

한국 선생님들은(korea teachers) 케이트 선생님(teacher kate), 채드 선생님(teacher chad)이라고 부르라고(call) 하는데, 이름만(just name) 불러도(call) 영어선생님들은(EPIK teacher) 화내시지 않아요.(don’t angry)

Korean teachers tell me I should call them “Teacher Kate and Teacher Chad” but they don’t get angry if I just call them by their names.

그래서(so) 더(more) 가깝게(close, intimately, friendly, near) 느껴집니다.(feeling)

This makes me feel closer to them.

저는(I) 영어 선생님들과(with EPIK teachers or English teachers) 공부하는(studying) 수업(class)시간(time, hour)이 정말(really) 좋습니다.(like, good)

I really like English class with the EPIK teachers.

영어선생님들(EPIK teachers)은 참(really) 재미있게(fun, interestedly ) 가르쳐주십니다.(teach our)

Their classes are very fun and interesting.

그리고(and) 제가(I) 서툰(terrible, don’t know well, wrong) 말(words)로 물어보아도(ask) 잘(good) 알아듣고(understand) 대답해주십니다. (answer, respond)

If I ask a lame question, they always understand and answer.

케이트, 채드 선생님은 제가 3학년일때 우리 학교에 왔습니다.

Kate and Chad came to my school when I was in the 3rd Grade.

영어선생님들을(EPIK teachers, English teachers) 만나서(meet) 영어가(English) 더욱(more) 좋아졌어요.(like)

I like English more now because I met them.

우리 학교는(our school, my school) 올해(this year) 전원학교에(garden school) 뽑혔다(voted, was singled out, be elected, was chosen)고 합니다.(I heard)

I heard that this year my school was chosen to be a Garden School.

사실(In fact) 전원학교가 무엇인지(what garden school) 저는 잘 모릅니다.(I don’t know well)

To be honest, I don’t know very much about Garden Schools.

하지만 전원학교가 되어서 기쁩니다.

But I am very glad that my school is one.

전원학교가 된 이후로(since be garden school, after garden school) ‘야간(evening) 무료(free, pay free) 반딧불(firefly) 교실(class)’이 생겼어요.(create, make, come into being)

Because my school is now a Garden School, there are special after school classes for free in the evening.

야간 수업으로는 핸드 페인팅, 기타, 바이올린, 영어자격증반이 있는데,

Some of the evening classes include hand painting class, guitar class, violin class and English License Certification class.

부모님들도 배우러 오세요.

Even our parents get to come and study!

모든(every) 수업이(class) 무료(free, pay free)이고 기타(guitars)와 바이올린도(and violins) 학교에서(at the school) 학생들에게(to students) 줍니다.(give)

Each class is free and they even give the students violins and guitars.

저는 영어자격증반에 공부하러 가요.

I go to the English License Certification class to study.

5,6학년이랑 같이 수업을 받아요.

I study with 5th and 6th grade students in the class.

조금(little) 어렵기는(difficult) 하지만(but) 영어수업(enlish class) 받으러 가는게(go) 즐거워요.(fun. be pleasant)

It is a little difficult but I think the class is fun!

5,6학년 언니들은 이번에 영어자격증 시험을 봤어요.

(5th,6th Grade student took English license exam)

합격했는지는 아직 모르겠어요.

The 5th and 6th grade students already took the exam. I don’t know whether they passed yet.

저도 내년에는 영어자격증 시험을 보고 싶어요.

My school got extra money to train students to take the English License exam.

시험보는(testing, exam) 돈(money)도 학교에서(at school) 내줬어요.(gave, pursed, open one’s purse, lay out )

내년에(next year) 제가 시험볼때도(when I take exam) 그랬으면(same happen) 좋겠어요.(I hope. I want)

I plan to take the exam next year.

선생님(teacher)이 말씀하시길(say), 다른(other) 지역(city)으로 체험학습(field learning experience trip, learning trip)도 갈 거래요.

저는(I) 앞으로(future, forward) 기대(expect)가 많이(many, big, a lots) 되요.

My teacher said that we will go on many field trips to other cities. I am excited for the future trips.

시간이 되시면, 우리 학교에 구경오세요(lionize, watch, see the sight of).

If you have time, please come tour our wonderful school.

지금까지, 경청해주셔서 감사합니다. Thank you for listening.

좋은 시간 되세요. I hope you enjoy the rest of your day.


I think I could write an entire book about Mi Geum’s essay.  I hope that every foreign teacher with goals similar to ours gets to see how his or her work effected their students.

A note, most of you have probably picked up on the name thing here.  How you address someone is incredibly important.  We have been making a point to always be respectful to everyone – not just those above us. I love the Mi Guem thinks Kate and Chad are our last names.   Chad made a post recently, Annoying Our Students, in it we are teasing them about not understanding when they ask if Chad and I are a couple.  In the first video I say that Mi Guem is my friend, she spazzes out and says “No, you are my teacher!”  It’s cute, especially after reading this essay.

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On another note, look forward to more pictures!  Chad sold our two old digital cameras and got an amazing new lense!  He had some great pictures of our DMZ trip but some are now gone, that’s for another blog post.

One more final tidbit from the lived of Chad and Kate, I took the GRE on Saturday.  My last name, Korroch, is smack bad between Kim and Lee.  I had to raise my hand and ask that the protor read the directions in English!

Chad is out getting a haircut and curry ingrediants.  He is wonderful.  :)  I’m about to start nursing my cold with some Ugly Betty and EMERGEN-C.


I’m done.

Happy Hump Day!


Kate & Chad

October 28, 2009   3 Comments

Adventure Fridays…

I’m writing this at my Friday school Kongcheun Elementary 공촌초교. Kate is sitting next to me after an unexpected trip here from her Friday school Jangho Elementary 장호초교. How did we arrive at this pleasant surprise? The story, I will tell…

This morning early, at about 8:20, Kate and I were picked up by Stephane (pronounced – [Stef-awn] – A 40 something single Korean man who enjoys going to singles night at his christian church. His nick-name is Stephane from the time he spent working as a missionary in a French speaking country. We drive the 25 minutes to my school Kongcheun listening to Korean Christian ballads and not really talking much at all. This is all part of the Friday Routine (if you can call it that). I get out at my school and walk up to find many extra cars in the parking lot. (No longer are we on a normal schedule – from here on out it gets more and more random). I walk in to find Principals from other schools, VP’s from other schools and other high up administrators from the ministry of education in Samcheok. This was somewhat expected because today I was teaching in a Demonstration Co-teaching class. We practiced for this last week so that students were well rehearsed. I walked around a met some of the “powerful people” and then we practiced a bit before the class at 10:10. The back of our classroom filled up with observers and we taught a most perfectly rehearsed class. Even the Korean teacher, who doesn’t speak much English, said most of her English directions without having to look at her script. We were all pleased. Then they started to move desks in for some bigger meeting, so I left and went back downstairs. One of the supervisors for Elementary Ed in Samcheok (who has introduced himself to me now, 3 – 5 times, he drinks a lot and already smelled of soju at 9am this morning) came into the office and asked me to come upstairs to discuss our lesson. I obliged and went to sit in on an hour meeting (ALL IN KOREAN) about my co-teacher’s and my class. It was very exciting. :( Then I waited another hour doing nothing but chatting with Kate on gmail about how confused we both were, then ate lunch – a sprawling traditional Korean meal (made by the school cafeteria) including raw octopus, wheh (raw fish), snails, Noodle soup with beef (all I ate) and of course – rice and kimchi. Everyone ate and was merry for 15 minutes and then left. Seriously, it was that fast.
After everyone left, I sat and started to write this post. Then I hear “Chad? ” Whoa it’s Kate!!

Kate’s day was less surprising in the morning. No large crowds of important people or raw Octopus. But, because her principal was at MY school, they had a very relaxed day and decided to out to eat and go fishing. Fishing however is MAN’s Activity, so she was banished to the joy of Kongcheun. Stephane wanted Kate to come fishing, but no one else did :) So they all went out to eat, then drove her to my school and said “Go find your boyfriend”. Then, “Hitting Bong” (seriously, that’s his nick name – his last name is bong) came in and told us we are going to dinner with him and his principal. Then we find out it’s the whole school in celebration of the morning. Now everyone is cleaning up the school, and we are sitting here bored and slightly confused. This is the tale of pretty much every Friday… It’s always an Adventure.

If anything else crazy happens we’ll be sure to update this post. But for now, wish us luck!

October 16, 2008   Comments Off

First Day at Jang Ho

Today was not only our first days teaching but alsp our first days at our Friday schools! Big Day! My school has about 30 students and I am only teaching 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th. My biggest class had 6 students. Amazing.

The third grade class was wonderful, 5 little girls who were amazing at English speaking. After class they dragged me to the floor with them to play a dice game (pictured above). You throw a dice up and grab others from the floor while the dice is in mid air. There are levels of each throwing and grabbing seqence. . . They are really good at it and I am not. It was nice to just play with the students. At our other school there are many more students (a whopping 120) so there is less playtime with the teachers. I loved it. I had friends at lunch. :) Friends that do things like count to three and chant “Teacher is beautiful.” I need to train Chad to do that. ;)

After the 3rd grade girl crew I had the 4th grade boys. They requested English names and due to their giggly manner I found it appropriate to name them after my Dad and his brothers. Tom, Bob, Dave and Jim. There was a problem with my Dad’s name. . . “Bob” sounds like “Bap” which means rice in Korean. So, the kid felt like he was the staple food group instead of a strapping young Korroch. Robert sounded too much like robot so we settled on John. I call him John Bob.

Finally I got semi-ditched by my co-teacher for my last class. I am training the 5th grade on Peter Piper. They actually liked it. I hope to get lots of tounge twisters into them.

Happy Weekend!


September 18, 2008   1 Comment