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Yes Oui Si - Ye --> Dui
No Photos 18th May 2008 - EPIK South Korea
Rod's second update... much delayed

Second Quarterly Report and Then Some

            The second quarter of our amazing South Korean adventure has had many different experiences and emotions, most good some tragic. Way back in November I was just getting my legs teaching the middle school students, their lower level was definitely being a challenge. The high school was going great as always, with an open structure and motivated students it gave me many opportunities implement a more progressive program. There was of course the reunion in December, an EPIK function to help alleviate our anxiety about being away from our families during the holidays. January was full of all kinds of new experiences from 6-hour days teaching adult English classes to a random week of teaching newly arrived high school students that won’t be seen again until March. January closed out with our much-anticipated trip to Thailand, to be mentioned later. The end of this quarter was punctuated by my father’s death and a quick return to Canada for the funeral.

            November was the month I began to really feel the pressure of trying to achieve too much with students that were for the most part not motivated to develop language skills in English. It has been a really good learning experience for me as an educator in going through the process of modifying lessons for the varying levels of students. I view this teaching opportunity as one of the best for developing my skills in creating and implementing IRP/EEP types of programs. The next semester I hope to take some of my observations of this last year and put them into practice, if not in both schools then at least Gyeongsan Science High school. I will be creating small mini-units that are approximately one month long consisting of 4-6 classes. I also hope to make the classes somewhat modular in nature allowing for flexibility of time frame for teaching. As most of us here in South Korea teaching have found out it is difficult at the best of times to expect a consistent schedule for lessons, I expect this lesson inter-changeability will help me to adjust on the fly much easier. 

            The EPIK reunion was a pleasant surprise and I am glad that we both went. It was nice getting in touch with those brigands from Gyeongju, Nick and Alison, among others.  What I really want to know is why the beautiful rendition of Freebird did not win the talent contest. Oh . . . wait, I know why, that guitar guru Emile never finished it. Bummer. At least we were treated to a complete belly dance (lol). As December merged into January Beverley and I decided that we would forgo the Christmas season until next year. As an agnostic it is just not as big a deal without family or little children around to reflect the years happenings with. Next year it’s with the Dunfields, I am a little excited.

            During the month of January I worked harder than any of the previous four months. It began with a short week where Beverley and I offered to take on some classes for Gyeongsan Science High school. The catch was that Beverley had planned on getting sick and leaving me with her remaining classes on the Friday. So beginning on the first week I had more classroom hours than any previous week teaching. The following week it was another full load with organization and implementation of an English camp, and then came the teacher training and another full week lastly was one week of a shorter teaching schedule at the science high school. I could not wait for vacation.

            Vacation in Thailand was great. Beverley and I spent the first two days at a posh hotel in Bangkok and then travelled almost to the Cambodian border. We went to an Eco resort near Kung Wiman beach. This place is a fairly new resort (3yrs.) and we had the place to ourselves for most of the eight or nine days we were there. For a more play-by-play account and extensive pictures you will need to check out Beverley’s travel blog. This was an amazing time and it was really nice to get back to having our own space, the fact it was a penthouse with a Jacuzzi tub, surround the room floor to ceiling windows, and a deck you could land a plane on didn’t hurt either. My most memorable part of this trip was a short afternoon jaunt when we went to a place called “The Monkey Caves.” The cave was a large rock formation that has been used as a Buddhist worship centre with varying types of construction that spanned many decades. There are many large Buddha’s statues and a massive one at the top of the natural outcropping. Several hundred semi-wild monkeys have made the area their home and have become a little bold at times when meeting people, there was much growling, posturing, and fang waving, even a little chasing, biting, and grabbing. A completely memorable experience to be sure, pic’s on the getjelous website.

            It is now May and I am back in Canada. After a return to Canada in late February to attend my fathers funeral I went back to South Korea only to be treated as a criminal at worst or a disrespectful foreigner who doesn’t understand South Korean work policy, at best. I will write a short addendum to this story at a later date as this little write up has taken much to long to get published already. Suffice it to say, my father’s death was not wholly unexpected but its affect on my family and myself will continue to reverberate for many years to come I am sure. I am sad that this chapter in Beverley’s and my life has come to an end in such an un ceremoniously manner but am amazingly hopeful for the direction of our future. Many lessons have been learned through this process and personal reflection will be essential to distil all of them into a potion that can be imbibed by our souls. 

Next: Heading off again!
Previous: It`s been a busy month...

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