Just Another Manic Monday

I haven’t worn makeup for the past two days because something has been irritating the skin around my eyes. Anyway, I walked into one of my younger classes only to hear “Who are you? What happened to your face?” This was repeated over and over until I realized that my students were referring to the fact that I wasn’t wearing any makeup. How sweet. I simply had to move on and get my lesson started.

It is generally acknowledged that beauty is highly valued in Korean culture. There are numerous makeup counters in the department stores and beauty shops are to Korea as Starbucks is to the United States. Since coming here, I myself have purchased several skin care treatments due to the fact that there are advertisements everywhere and everyone I see has absolutely flawless skin. They’ve got to be doing something right, right?

(Side note: I have actually fallen in love with everything I’ve purchased for my face so the answer is yes, Korea is absolutely doing something very right.)

I have also been making a serious effort to look like an actual human being when I leave my apartment in the morning (read as wear makeup and put on something other than yoga pants). So far, so good. I legitimately couldn’t bring myself to do it today, though, due to a weekend filled with itchy red eyes. Although, feeling better after today.

Then, during one of my evening classes, one of my female students kept on calling out “teacher!” and frantically slapping at her shoulder. I eventually noticed that my shirt was askew, and my bra strap was showing slightly.

Thank you, students, for your concern about my makeup-less face and messed up clothes. Aren’t Mondays grand?


Everybody Likes Stickers

Really. It doesn’t matter if you’re five or twenty-five. If someone gives you a sticker, you’d probably be overjoyed. I know I would be.

Yesterday was the day Tia Teacher brought stickers to class. Minion stickers, to be specific. I figured I would use them as little rewards for giving right answers.

My first class of the day was a class of six beginners. We read a story about running a marathon and then I wrote the past tenseĀ forms of some irregular verbs on the board and had each student tell me the present tense. Some examples I used were brought, caught, thought, and ran. They had so much fun guessing! Then, the stickers came out. Their eyes were filled with such wonder and the sight of the Minions. It was adorable. They stuck them all over their phone cases and notebooks and were so excited to show me.

On the way to my next class, which is probably my favorite, I was walking up the stairs when two of my female students happened to see my sticker book on top of the things I was carrying. They each latched on to one of my arms, pulling, and shouting “MINIONS” in the middle of the stairwell. “TEACHER! TEACHER! WE WANT MINIONS!” I literally had to wriggle out of their clammy grasp and assure them that they would get their Minions during class. Needless to say, everyone was very well-behaved that day. No stickers for naughty children!

The rest of my classes went really well, for the most part. I have one class of middle schoolers at night who just won’t speak. They will read text if I ask, but when it comes to answering questions – silence. I try so hard, but it’s like pulling teeth and I spend my time listening to myself talk (which does get rather boring after a while).

Has anyone else encountered a class of students who simply refuse to speak? What are some techniques you’ve used to get them to participate?

On the Bright Side…

I have officially completed my TEFL certificate! That’s 140 hours (professional), plus an additional 10 hours for one-on-one teaching.

The in-classroom part of the course was held in New York City, near Wall Street. There was a group of about 8 students, myself included, from all over the country: Nebraska, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio. It was so great to see so many different people with the same goal assembled in one place.

Our teacher, Teresa Jacobs from i-to-i, was PHENOMENAL. She really embodied everything a TEFL teacher is supposed to be: enthusiastic, engaging, knowledgeable, helpful. The classes were long, 9 hours/day on both Saturday and Sunday, but it was totally worth it.

We did lots of lessons and drills and had opportunities to teach the class lessons we came up with ourselves. I feel like I acquired a lot of helpful information over the weekend and I met some really fantastic people, too!

It would be great to meet up with them if we’re all in Korea at the same time.


Has anyone had any experience with SkimaTalk? I noticed that I can sign up through my TEFL program (i-to-i) to teach with SkimaTalk and supplement my income.

It looks like teachers can make $15/hour and must be available a minimum of 10 hours/week. Potentially, I could make $600/month doing this which would be awesome, like woah.

If anyone has done this before, please let me know about your experience! Or, if you know of any other similar programs, I would appreciate that, too!

Back to School

Working on my TEFL certificate is like being back in collegeĀ again, except without the all-nighters, the bad cafeteria food, or being able to seek refuge at the radio station 24/7. (WSOU represent!) Also, to be honest, I only took one online class when I was an undergraduate and I hated it. There’s just something really impersonal about the virtual “classroom.” But I went for the online training with the two in-classroom days because it was literally half the price of other programs that were entirely in-class.


Anyway. The phonemic alphabet is killing me. I have never used this in my life. Except when I see phonetics next to like, Wikipedia words. And even then I overlook them because I’m all “what is this nonsense.”


I’m also having flashbacks to my third grade class and all the different verb tenses and participles. My teacher back then, Miss Grouleff, was a stickler about grammar. She must have done something right because I’m not doing as horribly as I thought I would be.

Coffee would be really good right now.