Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween without the party

For the last three years Halloween has been celebrated with a great Op Teach party. This year was completely different. Rather than spend the day getting ready for the party I followed my normal routine then simply handed out candy.

My Sunday routine is:
- Coffee on the walk to the subway. Today I had my favorite drink (Campfire Mocha) from Caribou. It may have lacked the little marshmallows I would get in the States, but the drink was just as I remembered it.
- Subway ride to HomePlus
- Groceries for the week
- Taxi trip home
- Church
- School work
- Fun times

Today's fun times consisted of sitting around a bonfire (that's right, three in three nights) with some awesome folks and handing out candy to the oh-so cute kids. I ended up letting Jo pass my candy out for me and I quite enjoyed just watching and visiting.

Now I am back at home, a little smokey smelling and contemplating my lessons for tomorrow. I have done most of the reading I just haven't put anything into a presentation yet. Hm...It will happen but first I might watch some TV.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The blue form

Today was a great day. In reality, my life here in Korea is wonderful. Here are the highlights of my last few weeks.

1. I really like my students - they have such high expectations of me that I am becoming a much better teacher. My former students are great, and the relationships that I have/had with them cannot be replicated, however the dynamics here are so different. Having boys in the class is different, but enjoyable. Living on campus (and not having much of a life) has given me the opportunity to see many of the events that my students are involved in. Last night while out to dinner some of my students came into the restaurant just to say hello to me. It was so heart warming. After dinner we went for ice cream and I ran into the same group of students again. It was great.

2. I received an e-mail from a former student. Just as I was about to go to sleep her e-mail came in and made me laugh. Hearing from the States is always wonderful.

3. My presence has been requested for next week. My time has been booked for Friday night of next week. My new friends wanted to make sure that I was going to come for dinner so they made a point to mention it tonight.

4. Oktoberfest! Tonight was the campus Oktoberfest. We had a nice potluck style dinner and a bonfire. The fellow who organized it filled out a building request form (blue form) and magically 6 gas grills were delivered for the meat, and several table with chairs were put up. My school has these blue forms that I have known about but have yet to fill out. Last night another teacher blue formed wood for a bonfire and 4 bags of wood was delivered precut and ready to burn. Amazing! As a result of these blue forms and the effort of my co-workers I have had two lovely nights enjoying the cool-ish weather. My addition to the meal tonight was German potato salad. I did eat much of Aunt Adeline's potato salad when I was younger, but I think I may have come close. I tripled the serving and only had one small portion left.

I am going to leave it at that and enjoy an evening of crocheting and yogurt making. I hope the yogurt turns out this time.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Positive feedback loops

A positive feedback loop is one in which the products of the reaction(s) ensure the process continues. Contrary to the term "positive" they aren't always good reactions.

Here are three examples in my life and how I have overcome them today

1. Updating my blog. I got out of the habit of updating it on a regular basis so the idea of trying to catchup was overwhelming. Rather than just give it a shot two weeks ago I just let it go. The longer I left it the more I would have to write to catch up, and the more I forgot about my day-to-day happenings. I have decided to just pick up where I am rather than where I left off.

2. Grading lab reports. I have let three assignments pile up. Instead of just sitting down and getting some of them graded I have simply pushed them to the back of my bag. Weeks later they are still there (a little more worn than when handed in) and my bag is simply heavier. I had imagined these papers terrible to grade each requiring more time than I have. Today while my students took a test I was able to grade an entire classes lab reports. Granted the class was only 8 students, it showed me that I shouldn't fear the amount of work.

3. SKSH reference letters. I specifically asked the students to give me all of their information before the start of the summer. I even began working on the letters before leaving Baltimore. Then the summer happened and I didn't do a single letter. I brought all of the information with me to Korea only to get sucked into the vortex of my new school without spending any time on the reference letters. Today, after school I blocked out 2.5 hours to write these letters. Would you believe it only took me one hour? All that time I was worried for nothing.

Let me be an example ladies and gentlemen. Don't procrastinate, and if you do, don't let it go too long. Props to Sayeda and Liz for your gentle reminders of my promise to you. All letters have been e-mailed to the guidance department, hopefully with a few days to spare.

Now, with the hour before Monday night football (really a Sunday night game) I will grade more papers. Or maybe I will take a walk....

Morning time

My father reminded me that it has been a while since I have updated my blog. In the last two weeks I have been busy trying to keep up with my work and fit some fun in. My foot is still broken and I got my first cold of the school year. I have almost recovered from the cold and will be in a walking cast for the next month at least.

This morning I decided to have one of the bagels I bought last week. I cut into it and realized that it has a layer of bean paste. Not what I want ever, especially in the morning. Hm....guess I'll find something else.