A Travellerspoint blog

Where is the big stick?

sunny 25 °C

Is corporal punishment dead? I think not

So, I was sitting in the "Teachers Office" today which unlike home isn't off limits to students. That's one thing about schools over here, teachers don't seem to get a break from students at all. The students pretty much roam the school all the time which probably explains why I spend more time in my 5th floor classroom than the teachers office. Now I do like the girls but everyone needs a bit of peace every now and then. Anyway, back to the teachers office. So there I was sitting at the computer when I heard a teacher raising her voice to some students. This went on for about 10 mins; I looked up every now and then for a nosey and saw the students didn't really looked that bothered, so I got back to work. But then I heard a loud crack, so I looked up and saw the students getting smacked across the hands with a long stick. And I thought corporal punishment was dead - obviously not!! Now, you would think a hard slap might make the students shed a tear (as we are talking about girls) but no, I think I saw them smile!! Maybe I should try this in my class when students are lying across their desks catching some zzzzzz.

Jumping Jack Flash

Now all my co-teachers seem to have their own way of disciplining students, from standing at the back of class with your arms above your head to standing with a sign above your head to doing 'lines' whilst sitting on the floor in the teachers' office but this one made me laugh. I was teaching a 1st grade class and about 7 students arrived late so they were whisked to the back of the classroom where my co-teacher made them all peform jumping jacks whilst holding their ears. I think they did this for about 10 minutes. Now, I didn't see this original form of discipline at first but when I did I found it hard to keep a straight face. It was hilarious. Again it was one of those moments when I thought am I really seeing this? I have much to learn from my Korean teachers, much to learn :)

Posted by JuliaG 06:54 Archived in South Korea Tagged educational Comments (0)

Taste test

sunny 26 °C

So Val and I went out for dinner last and rather than doing our usual and going to a place that serves bimibap (rice and veg) we decided to be adventurous and try dining al fresco at a Korean BBQ place. Now I've been to this sort of place before where I've relied on looking at the pictures of the food to help me decide what I want. However, this place had no pics so the waitress just pointed to the menu board and expected me to pick. I was a bit lost to say the least. Val, at this point had left the ordering to me ;) Anyway, our friendly waitress obviously saw the blank look on my face and decided to help me out. Spoon in hand, she started taking me round the different tables of customers in the restaurant and took a bit of their food and let me try it. Now, I have to admit when I've been to restaurants in the past I've always thought I'd love to go round and 'sample' the food that other customers have but I never actually thought I would get to do it. Anyway, her trick worked and I ended up picking something that I think was pork, potatoes and other bits of veg. So, Val and I cooked our food and washed it down with some Korean beer. Quite delicious :)

Posted by JuliaG 03:42 Archived in South Korea Tagged food Comments (1)

Work, work, work

sunny 20 °C

I'm not talking about me but the students I teach. So I always knew that some of my students go to 'academy' for extra studying after school, what I didn't know was how much they go. Some of them go every day afternoon from about 6-10pm. Today I found out that one of my students studies 5 different subjects at her academy, so she finishes about 11pm every night. I think my face fell to the floor.You should see some of the students I see on the subway, they're so tired they sleep and practically fall onto the person next to them. It's a bit strange seeing students wondering about the streets with books around 11pm. I've even seem them on Saturday nights!! That's one thing you don't tend to see happening at home.

Posted by JuliaG 08:44 Archived in South Korea Tagged educational Comments (0)

Time to take your clothes off

rain 16 °C

Well, when I decided to come to Korea I told myself I had to be open to all new experiences that came my way, so when I was invited to go to a Jimjjilbang, I couldn't really say no. But before I fill you on the (some) of the details I should tell you that a Jimjjilbang is just a public bath which seem to be a way of life over here. As you can probably guess by my intro, clothes aren't needed.I'll admit I was a bit worried when I first entered the main bathing area with little (as in nothing) on but I quickly got used to it. I didn't get any funny looks!! Some of you may be wondering, surely men and women in the same area and the answer to that is no, they aren't.There are separate bathing areas for men and women. Anyway, after your initial quick 'bath' you get dressed into the Jimjjilbang clothes which are just a pairs of shorts and t-shirt. After this you head into the main 'spa' area where you can try out different rooms that claims to have health benefits like an outdoor hot foot spa, a water room, a sound room etc.T hese areas are for men and women.You could literally spend all day in the spa as there were about 15 rooms to try out. After you've had enough of the 'spa' you head back into the changing room where again you strip off and head for the bathing room again. Once you're there you can try out of the pools that are each a different temperature or head to one of the outdoor pools (and yes, there is a roof cover so people on the outside can peep in). For those of us that are slightly braver you can have a personal body scrub and yes, I did have one. Being scrubbed down by a lady in a bra and pants is definitely an eye-opener, but my skin did feel silky smooth afterwards so it was worth it. I do plan to go again sometime - - any takers out there?? And, there aren't any photos.

Posted by JuliaG 08:42 Archived in South Korea Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Ahh, the Nori Bang

sunny 21 °C

Well, one of the most memory experiences so far was my first trip to a Korean Nori Bang aka 'a singing room' or as we know it, a good old fashioned Karaoke.Yes, that's right, I was there; I saw it all and even sang a little tune. Well the microphone was literally forced into my hand as I was pushed towards one of the 9 TV screens that had the lyrics on them. Funny thing was I didn't actually know the song they'd chosen for me but I didn't want to let them down so I searched the song book again for something my Korean friends would know and ended up picking 'Super Trouper' by ABBA. Some of you may laugh but my new buddies liked it and sang along.And so we continued to party and dance to Korean songs while having a few beers and eating the random nibbles that most bars over here serve to customers. I tried to sit down a few times but was quickly dragged to my feet to dance or to play one of the 2 tambourines that were being passed around. It was one of those times when you think what am I doing here? The whole experience was quite surreal but great fun and definitely something I want to do again and again and again!!

Posted by JuliaG 08:40 Archived in South Korea Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

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