SOLC#31: Sometimes…

Slice of Lifer

For 31 days, you blogged day and night, from different countries, time zones and classrooms

Sometimes, you felt like you had nothing to write

Sometimes, you smiled as you shared about a memorable memory with your students

Sometimes, you struggled to get what was inside to come out on your screen

Sometimes, you were encouraged by the comments of other slicers

Sometimes, you wanted to scream, but instead you blogged about it

Sometimes, you learned from others through the power of words

Sometimes, you were moved deeply by life and you wrote about it.

Sometimes, you realized how hard it is to write every single day

Sometimes, you were amazed at the strong community of writers that can form on the Internet

Sometimes, you fell asleep with the laptop by your side and post still unwritten.

Sometimes, you were surprised at how people responded to your slice

Sometimes, you wrote slices instead of doing grading or dealing with paperwork.

Sometimes, you wrote about the matters of your heart, your students and your passion for teaching.

Sometimes, you wanted to stop, but you kept going.

I am so happy to say that I did it.

31 days.

31 posts.

Now it’s time to celebrate with some poetry from our classroom poetry wall. A special thanks to slicer Diana for sharing about this link yesterday. I had some students  write emotional animal poems  & love that poems today. They were amazing!

Poetry Wall Instructions

Emotional Animal Poem

Love this line!

Imitating the Style of Walter Dean Myers

SOLC#30: Expert Advice

For the past few years, my work out routine consisted of stretching for a few minutes then going on the treadmill and running for as long I could push myself. A few times I dabbled with the weight lifting machines, but I just didn’t find much interest in them.

Over a month ago, I heard a rumor. I heard that our elementary P.E. teacher was giving personalized workout regiments to some teachers. I immediately asked her about getting my own personalized workout plan. She asked me some questions and did a basic consultation of what I wanted to work on. By the next week, I had me my own plan.

When I saw this plan, I was surprised at how detailed and long it was. She created three different categories of workouts for me: cardio, circuit and core. Then, she listed different workouts for each category. I admit that I’ve been only doing the cardio ones recently. They are the easiest to figure out what they are exactly.

After a long day of being with my students, going to a meeting, then doing some prep work for the next day, I finally made it to the gym by 5:30pm. I had a good cardio workout where I used the treadmill, elliptical, rower, and bike. I know that without her workout plan, I probably wouldn’t have pushed myself to try to use the other equipment at the gym. Also, a lot of these workouts are much harder to complete than what I normally did before. These workouts are challenging, but a good goal for me.

I was reminded of our roles as teachers again. As the experts in our classroom, we need to consult with our students, and know where they are. We need to constantly be pushing our students to reach new levels. We need them to find value in the advice we give them. We need to support them with specific goals for them.

SOLC#29: Take Your Parents to Work Day

I remember they used to have take your kids to work day when I was growing up. Now, I feel like the roles are reversed. Today, my parents came to work with me. They are visiting Korea for the first time since I moved here. They came to see my school and meet my students. So I forced my mom to teach my writing workshop lesson! She is a poet and writes poems in Korean which fit in nicely with our poetry unit.

She shared with my students a Korean poem she wrote about spring and then had the students ask questions about it. She also shared her book of poems and pictures she had. After, I had the students work on poems in English and/or Korean. The students seemed to enjoy it, as did my mom!

The magical place from yesterday's post!

SOLC#28:A Magical Place

In the middle of our work time in writing workshop today, I walked over to the rug area, where two of my students were sitting by the window. We have windows that go almost to the floor on our walls. They were the two lucky students who were allowed to sit next to the window and make observations through the window.

During the mini-lesson, I was discussing with them where we could find ideas for poetry topics. One of the suggestions a student had was to look at nature and the world around us. So I had two students sitting by the window recording observations and collecting ideas for possible poems.

“How’s it going? Did you collect a lot of ideas?” I asked.

“This is a magical place. ” She replied.

“What did you say?” I thought I had misheard her.

“It’s a magical place. I’ve collected so many ideas. I saw cars, trees, the playground.  I think I might write a poem about global warming.” She confidently told me.

SOLC#27: Lessons From The King’s Speech

I finally watched The King’s Speech today in a full movie theater in Korea. I was glad that the movie finally came out on the big screen, even though it’s a bit late.  As I sat through the movie, I felt so moved by the relationship between the King and his speech therapist. There were 3 lessons that I took away.

1) You have incredible power through your words. King George the sixth says in one part how he doesn’t have power because he couldn’t make a government or pass laws, but the people of England still looked up to him. He had power through the words that he spoke as a leader for England. His successful speeches ended up having great impact.

As teachers, we have great power through the words that we speak to our students that are in our classroom every day. We need to use this power wisely and be aware of it.

2)  The fear of failure can cripple us. The King struggles with this fear of failure inside of him that rooted from a number of different causes. This fear was manifested in one way through his speech impediment.

Some of the students we teach come to us with different fears. Maybe someone told them they were bad writers, or maybe that they’ll never be good at math. Whatever fears they carry with them to our classrooms, as teachers we need to help them overcome their fears by creating a safe environment of trust and mutual respect. We need to help them to have freedom from these fears.

3) We need people that have faith in us, around us.The King didn’t have a single friend, until he met Lionel. This relationship changed his life and helped him get to the root of his speech impediment. Lionel had faith in Bertie and Bertie was able to recognize that in time. It wasn’t always easy at times, and at times they fought and didn’t see eye to eye. Yet, through patience, perseverance and love, Lionel was able to breakthrough Bertie.

As a teacher, we need to have the faith in all of our students, no matter their troubled background, learning difficulties or attitude they have. Our impact might not be as dramatic as the relationship between Lionel and Bertie, but as teacher’s we can plant seeds of hope and life into our students’ lives. We might not always see the results while we teach them, but maybe later on they’ll remember a kind word you said about them, or how you treated them differently than other teachers.

What did you think of the movie? What lessons did you learn from the movie?How do you help create a classroom of trust and mutual respect?

SOLC#26: Thank you

As I came home tonight, my parents were already in my apartment. My apartment felt like a sauna , my mom gets cold easily.

“How come you didn’t write about climbing Seorak mountain?” My dad inquired. Well, first I was surprised that he read my recent blog entries. Second, I just didn’t have time nor the energy. So instead of writing about hiking up Seorak mountain during our infamous family road trip, I wanted to write a slice for my parents in honor of their 31st wedding anniversary this past Friday. 🙂

Thank you for always being willing to pick me up from the train station even if it’s past your bedtime.

Thank you for making soup or bringing me medicine when I’m sick.

Thank you for being just a phone call away when I have car trouble or need a ride.

Thank you for coming to all those school concerts, volleyball games and skating competitions.

Thank you for valuing education and encouraging me to strive for excellence in all that I do.

Thank you for giving me the space to make mistakes and discover who I am in the process.

Thank you for your unconditional love that parents can have towards their children.

What do you thank your parents for? 🙂

my parents ❤

SOLC #25: The Sprint

I continued walking at a brisk pace, as I glanced at my watch. I was running late and needed to get to the bus stop as quickly as possible. Then, I looked towards my left to see if the bus was coming, and to my surprise I saw the big blue city bus barely ahead of me. That’s when I started to book it forward.

The crosswalk had turned green and I started to run, with my black leather bag hitting against my side. I continued to sprint across the street ahead of the pedestrians casually sauntering the street. As I turned the corner and raced along the sidewalk, as I saw my friend waiting for me at the bus stop a few meters ahead.

The bus had obviously beat me to the bus stop. It was stopped as passengers started to get on the bus. I still had a good few meters until I reached the bus. I increased my speed as I waved to my friend. She started to get on the bus, as I quickly lessened the gap between the bus and me. She waited by the door and I finally made it on.

As I slid onto the seat next to my friend, we laughed as I attempted to catch my breath. It was a close call. I’m glad the bus driver didn’t leave me. We finally made it to our destination. We got to eat some great food at Amandier. I highly recommend their food especially their desserts & breads.

americano & fresh sandwiches

chicken caesar salad

mango cream cheese & strawberry sakura macarons

strawberry tarte & popcorn/yuza cake

SOLC#24: Home Sweet Home

After many interesting twist and turns on our family roadtrip (See roadtrip adventure #1 & #2), we made it back to our apartment safely this afternoon. We almost got stuck in a snow storm, but luckily left early to avoid it. They were forecasting 10cm of snow in the area later that evening. I’m wondering when spring will come to Seoul.

In the end, it was a quite memorable and fun trip. We got to enjoy the mountains and beach. We ate a lot of good food. We took a lot of photos among our three cameras. Here are some photos I promised from our trip.

@ The East Sea

This rock looks like a face!

Seorak Mountain

Beautiful Scenery

Enjoying Crabs

SOLC#23: Road Trip Adventure Part 2

The adventure just continues… 🙂

My dad, mother and I were eating a lovely Korean meal at the restaurant at the 11th floor of our resort. Maybe it was the off season or our timing, but  in the huge restaurant, there was no one else in there except us. As we continued eating, it seemed like things were going to be ok. Then the phone rang.

It was the car mechanic asking us if we had the car key. My dad told him that we would check with my brother because he was the last person to have the key. We continued to eat, but with an uneasy mind and quickly finished. My dad went first to check to see if the key was with my brother. Luckily, my brother put it in his pocket and forgot to give it to the car mechanic.   The mechanic told us to bring the key to the Chrysler car center on Friday, when we got back to Seoul. The car was already sent by tow truck to Seoul.

As we were sitting back in our room, by brother finally woke up from his long nap. He started looking for his phone. He looked all over and didn’t find it anywhere. Maybe it was in the taxi or maybe in the car. He was lying down in the back of the car, and he remembered putting it in the side compartment.

A few phone calls later, we got in contact with the tow truck and they found the phone in the back of the car. Yet, now we had another problem. The tow truck left the car in front of the garage at the Chrysler car center, but they needed to move it immediately. However, without the key, they could not move the car. My dad made some more phone calls and we found a way to send the car keys to Seoul by delivery immediately. We ended up renting a car for the day and drove to the bus terminal near us. We sent the car key to Seoul and hopefully it arrived there.

Afterwards, we enjoyed a nice drive to the Seorak mountain in our rental car. We enjoyed the clean and fresh air. We enjoyed the snow topped mountain peaks which we hiked up.  Later that day, our aunt drove from Seoul to meet us, and to drive us back to Seoul. Thank goodness for family!

SOLC#22: Roadtrip Adventure Part 1

It has been many years since our family has been together on a road trip. It was much easier when we were living under the same roof and in the same continent. However, since we got older it’s hard for our five member family to be altogether at one time and moment.  My parents managed to come visit my brother and I, in Korea during our spring break. We thought it would be a good idea to borrow the school car and go on a road trip to Seorak Mountain a few hours east of Seoul. 

We left our apartment with bags packed with clothes, food and drinks. We loaded up the mini-van (that ran over the yams) and put in our destination on the GPS.  24 hours later, I’m sitting at a PC room in the resort basement with enough stories to write that would fill a short novel.  It almost seemed like everything that could go wrong, did.

Part 1: Car Trouble

After making a detour to Itaewon to pick up  my brother’s camera charger he left at church, we started our way to Seorak mountain. After wrestling with some Seoul traffic, we got out of the city and entered the scenic and beautiful countryside of Korea. We kept driving for over two hours straight, then finally stopped at the rest stop. After eating a hearty meal of ramen, kimbab, kimchi jjigae (stew) and dduk mandoo gook, we got back into the car. My brother kept trying to turn on the ignition, but nothing. The car engine wouldn’t start.

After numerous phone calls, a car mechanic arrived at the rest stop and attempted to start our car by charging the battery. No luck. A few other men came over and tried to help us. They brought their bigger SUV type car and tried to jump start the car by hooking up the cables. Still, no luck. Then, the tow truck came, and we stayed in the mini-van, as we were lifted on top of the tow truck. The truck drove us and the car to the car shop.

The car mechanic got off the phone angry at the Chrysler people for not helping us with the car. The Chrysler people insisted on just bringing the car to their dealership in Seoul. The only possible solution at that point was that the car mechanic would send the min-van by tow truck all the way to Seoul. That would cost about $300. Now, here we were stuck on our vacation, with no car. We ended up getting a cab, that took us to our resort and now we needed to figure out how to get around and how to get back home afterwards!

Stay tuned for part 2….I’ll upload some photos as well once I get back home! 🙂