Thursday, March 31, 2011

Not On An Island

Today I am feeling a bit better, consciously not physically, about these conundrums at work. Our school has put together committees of teachers to assess things like curriculum, camp and other topics. I am on the curriculum committee and we had our first meeting today.

After talk of what we will do and such rituals we came to a discussion of the woes-of-work. So it is that I found out my troubles are not isolated and this is basically how the school functions. Everyone said they had issues with bad students and groups and that it is tough to get them involved. Alongside this everyone experiences the murky communication amongst the departments. In essence, I am not alone in my troubles and probably shouldn't have thought so anyways.

Although physically exhausted right now, and still getting over a cold/allergy thing, I feel like my burdens can be transformed into something more functional. Generally, I am seeing that I need to find ways to control my stress level when things do get bad.

Funny thing today was that I overslept but Tom woke me up time. He's a good alarm clock, except there is now snooze button on him.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Culmination of Challenges

Today I am writing this post but if things go grammatically wrong do forgive me. Work has been culminating into a pool of half good and half bad. The good half are the groups of children that function in the classrooom, and the bad half are the groups of children that are dysfunctional in the classroom. What has ended up happening is that the bad half drains the life out of me and makes me wish I wasn't a teacher.

The good half, on the other hand makes me feel warm inside when a toothless-girl smiles at me and we giggle together. This half makes me believe that I can transform the subject of "Math" and turn it into "Math English." I feel hopeful and full of life!

Yet when I get dragged down by the bad half I wonder what can I do? How can I manage them? How can I make it so that they are so engaged they won't end up being bad. Then I think how futile it is when one kid in the class has some kind of disorder and ends up being a nuisance. Like an infection his "wildness" spreads and distracts me and everyone. Trying to discipline the kid doesn't work well since he doesn't understand me or is just playing a game.

The bad half reminds me that the First grade in general is showing signs of many problems. It makes me wonder why communication is so poor. Makes me wish the Korean homeroom teachers took more action to help us or at least suggest things we could do. I end up feeling resentment and anger towards people I want to respect and have a good relationship with.

Today I am the middle of this whirlpool of self-pity and it feels like I can't get out of it. As much as I say to myself what I will do next time, I know there will always be these challenges. I don't want to care and think too much about it.

These are the challenges that my new job has presented me. Yes, I can say with all honesty that I would rather be here at this school than at my previous jobs (public school). I cling to the hope that I will get use to these situations and know how to handle them better.

I don't know how to end this post. "Finisheee"

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Children, The Classroom

 So cute with their missing teeth...

This was a scene of the higher level working on their "Shape Turtle." Instead of having each kid make one I made it so that pairs worked together. They all did a stunning job.

The classroom before the start of the day, as seen in the following pictures. The class is taking on some personality. Probably could straighten things out a bit more...

This shows you where I am most of my days. Certainly beats the last school where I had to sit in that tiny office with everyone.  :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Seeing My Art on Display

Yesterday I went to the UPlus gallery / cafe at the LG UPlus building near Seoul Station. I made my out of exit 11 and found myself up against a late winter wind.

As you might recall I posted about this earlier in the month and was excited to get out there. I found my way with some helpful tips from Chris in South Korea.

As I entered the cafe I saw on the left digital monitors with the Artpoli's group works transitioning back and forth.

The barrista behind the counter greeted me and when I gestured that I was the artist on the wall she became very excited. She quickly went back behind the counter told her coworkers and then took out her cell phone. Next thing I knew she was taking a picture of me and then a "couple" shot together. Goodness! I didn't know I was famous. Haha... I think though since the employees of the cafe are the ones who most often see the works on the wall they probably have spent more quality time looking at them. Or maybe she was a fan of Artpoli? Anyways I enjoyed the 5-second feeling of fame I received.

I managed to get her to take a picture of me...

I thought it was a great little space in the cafe and the use of technology to display the artworks was definitely innovative. JH arrived a little later and saw the works too then we were off to dinner.

I suggested galbi, since I felt there was some celebration that needed to get done. He drove around the Namsan tower on his way closer to Nowon.

Last night's dinner was certainly very delicious and satisfying, mostly I think because it was my first meal of galbi since coming back to Korea.

It truly felt great to know that I finally had my artworks shown here in Korea. I hope this means that this year is going to be one that continues on this artistic path and finds myself more involved with the creative side of Korea.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kolleen Park Melody

I am thinking of making and submitting something to the contest. But I really feel like I don't know who Kolleen Park is enough to produce something sincerely. So I am doing research, and started with a youtube search.

The above video gives me a good feeling, even though I don't know the words to the song. Maybe you aren't into creating art but it would be fun to come to the event, right? Go back to the contest page and check the dates. There is going to be activities such as portrait drawing and I bet the gallery opening will be really great.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tom's Furball News

 Tom here! Meowwwww

I am herezz to talk about my Mummy Joy. Okay okay she said I should stop talking in catzz speak.

Joy seems to be doing well these days and not as stressed. I recall seeing her last week at the L-shaped box thingy with flashy-lights. Plus she kept on pushing me off the bed, but nowadays let's me rest on her chest. Well sort-of.

There is this guy who comes over and stares at the L-shaped thingy too, eats the food she cooks and then disappears again.

Mrawwweow..... Oh sorry I thought I heard something in the kitchen. Ah yes that was mom cleaning again.

She wants to remind you guys that she is past 900 posts on the blog and whenever it gets to a 1000 that will be a grand day.

Okay I better go before she sees me touching the all-important-L-shaped thingamabob.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I Got Out!

It's not that thrilling, but last Saturday I did manage to put down my work and head to Gangnam station. I met up with the good people of Artpoli to discuss how I can be involved more. So far they have been mostly use to Korean members and are trying to bring in non-Korean artists. It was awesome to talk about art and how I can help the group out. Already you can see I am posting information about their contests.

(Note: If you get to their site and it says "not available" it's because they're doing maintenance.")

Along the way, I managed to get in a few snapshots of the Gangnam subway station, which seems to be under a huge renovation.

While I tried to get out of the station and find my way to exit 8 I found myself meandering through a maze.

Above ground I later took these photos while I waited for JH to pick me up.

For dinner we stopped at a Japanese restaurant in my neighborhood.

 Twigum: (fried appetizers)
 Rice and Donkatsu:
Hopefully this is just the beginning of what will be my usual weekend-adventures.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tom the Laptop

I have yet to purchase a desk for my home. Instead of a nice comfortable place to do my work I have been completing it on my bed. Tom seems to find this a fun advantage for him, as instead of my laptop making it onto my lap, Tom gets there first most often. Usually the following picture is how I look while I try to get ahead on my lesson planning.
If only Tom could master Google searches of math worksheets than this scenario would work wonderfully. I did manage to get out of my house yesterday and take a few pics along the way, which I will post later. Although I spent most of my weekend planning and sorting the mess that is work's duties, I feel good knowing most of it is done.

63 Years On: Film Screening about Comfort Women

Although the tragedies that are affecting Japan right now are serious there is something else to consider thinking about this month. There will be a film screening at The House of Sharing at Dongguk University which will show, in multiple languages with English subtitles, the stories of 5 survivors of the Japanese Military Sexual Slavery during WWII.

I know this sounds pretty serious but let's consider this part of history for a moment and that you have an opportunity to go see a piece of creation about it.

The details:
  • It is free. 
  • The film is in multiple languages and there will be a speaker along with a group discussion.
  • Date: March 26th from 3 - 5pm (the film is 63 min long)
  • At Dongguk University in Seoul at the Cultural Center, Deok Am Seminar Room, 1st Floor
  • How to Get there: Take Line 3 to Dongguk University Station. Take exit 6 and go up the escalator and follow the road until you see Lee Hae Lang Fine Arts's the building on the backside of the theater.
  • Info:                Email: 
This looks like a great opportunity to see some history and then talk about it during the discussion period.

From the press release:

This screening provides a window to an episode of Asian and International history which has been willfully ignored by so many for more than 63 years. You are invited to join the House of Sharing and show your support to the survivors who continue the fight for justice.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Togethership with Kolleen Park" Open Art Contest

The Artpoli group has put together their first art contest on their website. Shinhan Gallery Yeoksam & Artpoli hold the [Togethership with Kolleen Park – Open Art Contest] sponsored by Shinhan Bank. In this smart and social art event, artists apply works online at Artpoli, and popular works voted by viewers will be exhibited offline at Shinhan Gallery Yeoksam.

Who is Kolleen Park?
If you are like me and generally in the dark about just who Kolleen Park is well let me give you some information. First off, do you remember this video of many famous Korean folks singing the "Nella Fantasia"?

Well that is her conducting for the group and who trained them to be able to perform like that. She really got involved in this project and became famous for her dedication. In the article, "[Coffee Break Bio] (@kolleen22) Lives for the moment of performance", written for the KoreanUpdates website it states:
One of her responsibilities includes staying as close to the original production as possible. The score has each movement of each actor written out, but Park insists performance is organic. “When you translate English to Korean, there are subtle changes that need to be made, such as where to put an emphasis and how. All of the music, tempo and the feeling should harmonize comfortably on stage to move the audience,” she says.
As you can see she is a special lady and probably a mentor and role model out there to young women hoping to do something meaningful with their musical talents in the future. So why not participate in Artpoli's contest?

- Celebrating the opening of Shinhan Gallery Yeoksam, Shinhan Bank visually shows its new direction in  supporting art and wants to establish the new gallery as a proactive and multi-purpose art space.
- Broaden the enjoyment of art, using modern technologies like online social media and smartphones.
- Provide opportunities for many artists to show their work with online submission.
- Let many people enjoy art with a subject matter that can resonate.
- Shinhan Bank, the leading financial institution, collaborates with Artpoli, a small and experimental startup.

Where and How to Participate:
  • Visit the contest site and vote: Check out the contest page. Click "추천" and your vote will be tallied. 
  • The subject should be Kolleen Park, musical director.
  •  Please refer to photos and videos from Shinhan Bank’s commercials, which feature Kolleen Park. Basing your work on other photos on the Internet may infringe the copyright of the holder.
  • Any size is welcome, from very small up to 2-meter high. The gallery can accommodate large sizes.
  •  Any media, material or style is fine.
  • You can submit as many works as you like.
  • Submit works at (You need to sign up as an Artpoli member, and apply for an artist membership.)
  • The faster you submit your works, the more chance of being voted for. Move fast!
Vote Online!

Event & Schedule Information:
  • Selection of works for offline exhibition: To be announced on April 14th. - Popular works, based on number of votes by viewers, will be selected.
  • The administrators may exclude works not appropriate for the nature of the exhibition.
  • Offline exhibition: April 28 - June 15, Shinhan Gallery Yeoksam (Mon - Sat, 10am - 6pm)
  •  Opening event: April 28, Time to be announced.
    - Kolleen Park will join.
    - Instant portrait event.
  •  Vote for works (offline): April 28 - June 15
    - Please recommend works you like at the offline exhibition.
  •   Award of Works and Artists
    - Most popular artists at online and offline events (Select 2 artists, 1 based on the total votes received online and the other offline): Opportunities of invited exhibition at Shinhan Gallery Yeoksam next year
    - Kolleen Park will select some works and give awards.
    - Viewer participation awards: Select 100 people, who participated by voting, commenting, and sharing. Awards will be given.

Special Program
  •  Learn portrait art - Scheduled at 2pm on May 14, 28 
  • Select 20-30 people who have voted for works. (Family can be accompanied.) 
  • How to apply will be announced later.

  • Entry fee is free. 
  • Publicity of Kolleen Park may not be used for any other purpose than creating a work for this event. 
  • Submitted works may not be sold until after the exhibition.  
  • The submitted art works can be purchased at after the exhibition.

More info:

Get involved!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Working Adult Life

Besides my first year in Korea, when I worked at the hagwon, I have never worked so much until now at this job. Because of this I have been busy after work taking care of plans and preparing materials, and my weekends have been spent with work as well. On top of this, ever since I moved in to my new place I have been running around on the weekends picking up stuff for the house and taking care of visa tasks.

I just want one weekend where I explore and do something other than house or work related. However, as much as I whine about how this job is keeping me busy it doesn't compare to JH's work week. The poor guy usually works till 7:30pm or on some days has to drive around Korea. It amazes me that even after a day of hard work he still calls me in a good mood.

But because of his hard week he is often very tired on the weekend, and you can usually find him in the position as seen in the picture above. It's been a little issue in our relationship of how our time is spent on the weekend together. I want to get out and explore but he mostly wants to stay home and rest. We have come to a compromise that not every weekend we will do something active and that we don't have to do everything together.

Tomorrow is Friday and I have to leave work early to get to KEB bank to open an account. Although I still do not have my new Alien card yet, I can use my passport to do this. As I was getting permission for this today I was told I could go there by taxi and then "come back." But of course I don't want to have to come back. I was told we get to leave work early for these kinds of matters just once a month, but it doesn't really say you should "come back." We'll see!

Tom needs my love! Bye

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Discovering My "Mean Teacher" Self

When I was told I was given first grade I knew it was going to be hard. But now that I have actually been experiencing it the experience of it is a lot worse than what I imagined. The sum of things is that the morning classes are darling, but the afternoon classes are evil. I attribute it to that they have a lot of energy by the first afternoon class and then are completely drained by the third.

Because of this there have been several classes that fall into the category of "horrible." They lack in the ability to get ready for class, listen to me and generally keep themselves in check. Yes I know they are first graders and their attention span is not as yet developed. But really things can get to a point where I feel like I am losing it.

What has saved me is discovering the "mean teacher" inside myself. This kind of teacher is the one who will yell at the class in a deep and serious tone. It is the person who gets in their small seven year old faces and tells them to sit down and then asks, "Are you going to be a good boy today?" And guess what? It's been working, and the more I use it the better it gets. On top of this I have a management system of a "red" and "yellow" card. Yellow card means you have to stand and then red card means they are taken to their homeroom teacher.  This has been working too.

Well that is work in a nutshell. Still have a lot to prepare and really want to spend a weekend without it being blown away by extra work. Today I am not doing any afterschool homework and instead I am blogging and playing with Tom.

Let's hope I get out there and actually get a chance to use my shiny new camera!

Monday, March 14, 2011

White Day Surprise

The last time JH brought home a box it was full of three kittens. Today when JH brought me a box there was a cake inside. I think he is finally putting two-and-two together. Really, though I think I whined enough about not getting a white day present or any kind of present for my birthday that it finally impacted him.

As I was cleaning out some school supply boxes JH brought me the sweetest and most darling of cakes.
I was charmed by his surprise and promised him to never complain again about not getting cakes or presents around special times.

Tom update:
He is doing well here in his new home. One of his interesting habits is finding things and hoarding them under my bed. My friend who was taking care of him warned me about this. To avoid him taking the sponge from the sink I put it in a container and left the lid partially open. So far I am only missing the drain stopper for the bathtub, which I hope to find since I like taking baths.

He also enjoys sitting on my drying rack in the balcony area. Since I recently washed a blanket this made it easy for him to get up there. But after taking it down it made things a lot more risky. So tonight I rigged it up so he can get up there safely, and sorry no picture. For now just one of him on the blanket version.

My Tom is a very inquisitive and curious cat, but also a bit dependent. He is sitting on my lap now sleeping, and when he is not likes to meander around the house meowing for me to play with him. I love you Tom, but I kind of can be too busy for you.

**Anyways, I hope other couples out there got something nice for White day.**
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