Category Archives: The Wonders of Work

Caveat: Student Goodbyes, Part 3

The last two days have been busy with various medical appointments for Arthur, my uncle, but I took some time to get the last of my "student goodbyes" organized. These are just scans of papers they made for me – … Continue reading

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Caveat: Student Goodbyes, Part 2

Here are some more goodbye messages I have received from students. It being currently 4 AM in Oregon, and feeling wide awake from jetlag, I decided to make this post. Firstly, my student Jun Hui, 7th grade, gave me this … Continue reading

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Caveat: Student Goodbyes, Part 1

I didn't make it an official homework assignment, but I told my students I would welcome thoughtful goodbye messages. Mostly the elementary kids wrote on paper, while the middle schoolers wrote me emails. I will scan the handwritten messages tomorrow … Continue reading

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Caveat: Farewell Karma

We had our farewell dinner last night. I felt sad and nostalgic. Who is in this picture?  Seated (L to R): Gina, Rena, Jay, Jody, Carl, RazelStanding (L to R): Curt, Grace, May, me, Helen, Phil, that new math teacher … Continue reading

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Caveat: I’m an apostrophe

As mentioned before, we have this thing at Karma called "CC" class – a somewhat opaque name for what are essentially focused listening exercises using English-language pop songs. Mostly, these days, I can proudly say that my initiative to have the … Continue reading

Posted in Background Noise, Banalities & Journaling, Kids, Not My Poetry, Teaching & Methodology, The Wonders of Work | 1 Comment

Caveat: on the desirability (or not) of movement

I have a student named N__. Because the current "test prep period" for middle schoolers (colloquially called "내신") is just now ending, a lot of students are still absent, so much to N__'s dismay, she found herself stuck with me … Continue reading

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Caveat: 스무th

Today at work I saw a student (I’m not sure who) had added a comment to one of my whiteboard alligators. They gave the “annoyed alligator” something to say, with a speech bubble. What he was saying was, “스무th” [seumu-th] … Continue reading

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Caveat: Today’s announcement

My sixth-grade student Seoeun raised her hand, yesterday, as if she had an urgent announcement. "Yes?" I prompted. "Today is today," she said gravely, and without hesitation. It was clearly something she'd planned out in her head, as one does … Continue reading

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Caveat: The Big Decision

Well, the details are not nailed down at all, but I've made it "official" – as much as such things can be in Korea.  I am ending my career as a Korean hagwon teacher and moving back to the US … Continue reading

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Caveat: The best part of my family is…

We were doing short-speech responses to speaking questions. The question was, "Do you like your family, or not? What are the best and worst parts of your family?" 6th grader Jaehyeon, incorporating a very long pause as he groped for … Continue reading

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Caveat: A man who wears many hats

Today is the big show. It'll be a long day, but the end is in sight. The results will be what they are, and there's not much left to be done except just do the show. Last night my student … Continue reading

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Caveat: 웃음조절장애

Sometimes my middle school students talk to me in Korean, even though they’re perfectly capable of expressing themselves in English. Partly, this is to indicate a different pragmatics: it shifts control of the discourse from me to them, since I’m … Continue reading

Posted in Banalities & Journaling, Kids, The Wonders of Work, 한국말을 배움 (Failing to Learn Korean) | 1 Comment

Caveat: Finger-knitting

In principle, I really enjoy the annual talent show concept we do with the elementary-age kids at Karma English Academy. It takes me back to my own elementary years, at the "hippie" Centering School in Arcata, where for each hour … Continue reading

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Caveat: Snailgater Unigater Babygater

My 9th grade student Seunghyeon draws excellent doodles on his TEPS Test listening practice answer papers. He's no slouch at getting the right answers, either, and has a phenomenal passive vocabulary in English, certainly better than your average American native … Continue reading

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Caveat: No time for caveats

Even starting with having Monday off, this week is a brutal schedule. One of my coworkers is absent, so I'm covering some substitute classes on top of an already fuller-than-usual schedule. So nothing much to say, here, now. I have … Continue reading

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Caveat: One day when the sky is falling

Not much to report. The Karma Talent Show is coming up. A group of elementary students selected this song to sing in the show – I made them choose the song, so that when they complained about it later, I … Continue reading

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Caveat: Either a cry for help, or a strange joke… or both

I have a new student, a 5th grader who has adopted the nickname Mario. He came into my class clearly not wanting to be there. Straight up refusing to answer, and refusing to participate. Shortly, however, it became clear he … Continue reading

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Caveat: Premises and implications among 7th graders

This exchange actually happened in a 7th grade advanced class. Julie: I don't like smart peopleJames: I'm smart!Julie: So I don't like YOU.…Tobias: That doesn't make sense.…James (glaring at Tobias): Hey! I found this incredibly funny, not to mention indicative … Continue reading

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Caveat: Thealligu +or wins

My 5th grade student John recently started at Karma. He has never studied English before, so in the context of Korean English education, he's a rather "late starter." It's hard to place him at a place like Karma, because classes … Continue reading

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Caveat: passing the buck

A 5th grade boy in a low-level class with other 5th grade boys managed a rather sophisticated exchange with me the other day. The exchange began when I asked, "Are you ready, Mark?" "Teacher, sorry. No," Mark complained. I said, … Continue reading

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