Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Schools

No wonder these kids are brainiacs! The amount of schooling they go through is really something else. I have never seen anything like it. All children go through public schools and most families send their children to “Hagwons” which are private schools for extra training. I work in a Hagwon, the class sizes are much smaller than the public schools. Public schools have about 30-35 children per class and the Hagwon’s have about 7-12 kids per class. These Hagwon’s teach the important subjects according to Koreans; Math (being the most important), Science and English. One would think that because it is a private school that they might just attend these classes one or two days a week. But no…they go everyday even Saturday and Sunday. This is a typical schedule for a Korean child.

Elementary students-M-F public school 8:30-4p then the Hagwon from 5p-7p and Saturdays from 9-1.

Middle School students- M-F public school 8:30-4 then the Hagwon 5-10p, Sundays 9-3 and some Saturdays when studying for exams.

High School students- M-F public school 8:30-4 then the Hagwon from 5-11p, Saturday and Sunday’s from 9-1 or 3, I think.

You would think these kids are pushed to the limit, however, the elementary and middle schoolers attend, piano and tae kwon do on top of their schedule! NOW, these kids are pushed to the limits and you can feel it and see it on their faces. They are worn out and stressed. Especially the high schoolers. Anytime, I do an assigment that allows them to be creative and dream a little each one of them says the same thing---they just want a day off.

They do get “winter break” and “summer break” but not really. They get the public school off and still attend the Hagwon—but the Hagwon is full-time during the break. So, really they get no break. Poor kids. When do they play? In between classes and during “dinner” break.

I have read in the “Korean Times” that the education system has been debated for some time now. Some Korean’s think they are pushing there students too much. Will it change? I don’t know, I hear their Preisdent enforces education of this nature. Korean’s feel that because they are such a small country that the only way to be truly powerful is to be exremely intelligent. Intelligent they are.

Sending a child to a Hagwon cost about $200 a month for one kid. And if a family doesn’t send there child, it is highly frowned upon. You see the poor scraping every dollar they can find to send their child to extra schooling.

With all of that being said, South Korea has the highest suicide rate of any “developed” country. Why? Competition (Pressure of being the best), finances, and overworked. When they become adults this sort of thing doesn’t stop, they work all the time hardly taking a day off. No vacation time is given to the Korean teachers where I work.
They are very smart, I do have to say! And most kids are very well behaved. Out of 28 classes I teach each week, which is about 300 kids a week I only have a handful that are truly terrors. So, I can’t complain. A lot of the young ones don’t know any better and are so happy, loving and sweet! Always, yelling and waving “Hello Jodylynn, Nice to meet you Jodylynn”. They are my favorite ones to teach.

These pictures were taken during Halloween.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Random Christmas decorations in Seoul

Hotel Room Service

30,000 won is about $30 USD...exactly, huh? What?

Korean money

Korean won

Korean Food

Here is some Korean food! I am not a fan. A lot of meat eaters do like Korean Food...so maybe you would enjoy. But it isn't my thing. So, I head to Seoul every other weekend to get me some good Indian Food! :-)

Anchovies...they put them in EVERYTHING! Even granola bars!

Live crab--they were actually still moving. Being the vegetarians that Steve and I are, we wanted to grab them and quick run to the sea and let them go! :-)


Dried octopus anyone? They actually sell very small versions as well at the check out lane at the convenient store.


They eat silk worms. Yes, they do. This is a pot of good ole' silk worms. They are fat and juicy and are from trees in the mountains. They look horrible, just horrible, like big fat caterpillars. Gross!

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Christmas Gift!

A hot and sexy hunk of San Diego love! His name is Steve and he is from…you guessed it, San Diego, California. Yes, my Christmas gift was my newfound love. We met on a spiritual website in June of 2009 and have been chatting for six months; he came to visit me in Korea and arrived exactly on Christmas Day! Merry Christmas to us! We had such a great time, and we are very much in love. Isn’t he adorable? I am very happy as you can see! We spent some time in Seoul and visited a Palace, went shopping in Namdaemun Market which is a market where many western foreign goods are sold like; cocoa powder, oatmeal, vitamins, deodorant, chocolate, soups, and cheeses etc. and of course, are at very high prices. They want $15 USD for a regular size oatmeal box. I didn’t need oatmeal that bad! We dined and well...just enjoyed each other. It was so nice and I am very much missing him. He left on January 11th. But....he will be coming back--in May! Makes my heart patter. Three more months and counting.

He took a lot of great pictures, so I will post them soon--in a few weeks!