Friday, May 30, 2014

From Spring to Summer with So Much to Do!

I decided to have some photos taken! © j i m i z e l l : p h o t o g r a p h y

It's Spring now, and the weather has really improved drastically! My life is just moving along, as usual.

I have been transitioning to my new job pretty well, and it has definitely been a big change. There is also a lot more work, but I really love it! Most of my kids are well-behaved and eager to learn. Having my own kids and classroom really makes a difference, because I can develop a real relationship with every student and watch them all progress. This works wonders with classroom management as well, because I can put real procedures in place that the kids and I follow every single day. I love all of my second-graders, no matter how bad ::wink::

Gifts from the students on Teachers' Day!
My first round of parent-teacher conferences are over, and it was really nice meeting all of the parents. Well, mostly moms came, but some dads did as well. I was surprised at the excellent English skills of so many of the parents. The school provided translators, but only a few actually needed them. There's also a culture of parents always hovering around the school, usually toward the afternoons. This hasn't really been a problem, but it's certainly a change from hagwon life where I never met any of the parents! When meeting them for the first time, a surprising number of them were very reasonable and even chill. I really liked that.

 I'm almost finished with the TeacherReady program too. It has not been without its hiccups, however. Somewhere along the line last winter, around the intensive season at my last hagwon job, I fell behind on the assignments.
Right after that intensive season came the transition of finding and moving into a new position (and a new apartment). With all that, I just didn't have a lot of time to keep up with the rest of my cohort. So, I was eventually pushed back a cohort. Then, my credit card expired and I couldn't pay for Lesson 7. Once I finally make that payment, I'll be back on course to finish! I found a wonderful mentor teacher at my current school who will sign me off on my teaching practicum. Fortunately for me, I can just teach in my own classroom.

After a zumba class!
I have been doing a range of activities, from dinners at nice restaurants with friends and dating to zumba classes and mountain climbing. I have a pretty good group of friends here, so I have been having a lot of fun with them. One of my friends, whom I met in Korea a couple of years ago, ended up coming back. I became a member of Costco since the grocery stores in my area aren't so good. I have been trying to exercise more, so I have been taking zumba classes which are really fun. On rarer occasions, I hike up a new mountain somewhere with friends. I prefer to keep my exercise on flat land, however!

Another thing I'm excited about is my vacation time! I've worked at hagwons for 3 years, so I'm used to having only two weeks of paid vacation time with one week in the summer and the other week in the winter. My last year was particularly brutal with only one full week and the other 5 days were split up, making it hard to do anything. This time, I actually have 6 weeks of paid vacation which is a drastic improvement. If I had seniority at my new school, I would potentially have 8 weeks because I wouldn't necessarily have to teach camp.

Anyway, this summer I'll be heading to Europe for the first time. More specifically, I'm planning my vacation to Spain! The tickets were far cheaper than going back home. I can't wait since I've always wanted to go there, and friends have always raved about it.

I'm also going to attempt to use Couchsurfing for the first time. I've been a member of the website for a couple of years, but I have only used it to meet up with other travelers. I've actually never stayed on anyone's couch, nor have I hosted anyone. I hope to change that this time around! I purchased a Korean-style sleeping mat (with extra cushioning, of course) that would also make it possible for me to host people in Seoul. We'll see how that goes!


  1. Did you mention you swagger jacked my camera >..<

    1. Haha, I don't think I need to mention any of that! I'll stick to what's actually relevant and important :-p

  2. Hi there, "Little Lauren" I'm reading through your blog, and enjoying it quite a lot!

    I'm trying to find a way to contact you directly. I'm Rob, known online as "Roboseyo," and I'd like to send you an e-mail to ask you about a blog post you wrote a little while ago. Is there a place I can reach you? You can find me on gmail at "roboseyo" or as Rob O Seyo on Facebook, and I'd love to connect with you!


    1. Hello, I went ahead and reached out to you on facebook by private message.