freetime spent freely

Sept Misc 090A hard-earned weekend is celebrated with much leisure. You might think teaching everyday is easy, but it isn’t. Saturday morning we went out for lunch together, which was meaningful as it was Mom’s last weekend with us. On Sunday, Kyz and I went for a long bug walk, went to church and went out for dinner with friends. I like not having plans and just letting the weekend happen.

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filled with friends

Facendas 088Fill your home with books and friends. And coffee. The Facendas came to visit with their four kids. Kaiser had a blast playing with them. All of the kids attend martial arts class, so it was a fun, physical time.

Here are the ladies at the tea house in Damyang. It’s always a beautiful drive getting there, the weather was perfect.

Rachel 173Mom and Tamara spent an afternoon making apple pie cupcakes. They went well with the Veranda coffee Mom brought.

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Kaiser and I went to the TMNT movie. He loved it! It was full of  good Turtle action.

Rachel 164We have a new keyboard, so now we can play together. Here is Kaiser’s version of Moonlight Sonata.

Key Board 044If you are wondering where buoy #7 is, we found it–parked on the street. I’d love to hear the story about how it got here!

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my first education essay

Before teaching, I used to think students wanted to learn. During my first year (my first day) of teaching I found that my students weren’t interested in learning. My students were interested in fighting, candy, cosmetics, graffiti, sleeping, and playing with a friend’s hair. My first year teaching was indeed, the worst year in my professional life. My students spent more time talking in groups, fighting and being punished by the head teacher, to the extent that we accomplished nothing the first semester.

My students did not have respect for each other, for their school, their teachers or their classroom. I was shocked by the daily violence between students and the constant corporal punishment meted out by teachers.

I was not willing to quit and I knew I could not change my students; I could only change myself. I needed to become the kind of teacher who deserved respect; respect for myself as a teacher and for the act of learning. My classroom needed to be transformed. To begin with, I started each class by removing all distractions from students. I took away all contraband which was restricted by school guidelines. This was the first step in making learning an object of attention.

When my students came into my classroom, they were only allowed to have a text book and pencil, everything else was removed or stored away. I also rearranged the classroom so that each student was an arm’s length away from their neighbor, so they couldn’t hit or play with each other’s hair. Now there wasn’t anything else to look at except me, the board and their books. I had their attention. Now, I began to make learning an object of conversation.

We began with basic exchanges, and then gradually worked in the lesson points. As students began exercising their language skills, I praised each student’s success. Every time someone did something right, I pointed it out to the class. Positive reinforcement and encouragement did more for class order than corporal punishment. Class infractions diminished; we had more time for learning.

With these gradual gains, we began to consider learning as an object of reflection. Students felt comfortable mulling over their own ideas; they began ruminating together in learning teams—and doing so naturally. Reflection is self-awareness complimented by the unknown; by potential and by desire. It’s a kind of intellectual kneading that blends various thoughts toward the goal of personal completion and renewal. Reflection both signifies growth and promotes growth. It makes a person whole. With these little successes and the newly felt confidence, I worked the class toward demonstrated knowledge.

I wanted the class to visually see their growth, as well as other teachers and parents.

How do we make learning visible?

Over the course of the year I used PowerPoint visuals to aid the students. The students were comfortable with this style of presentation. In order to illustrate their learning, I began limiting the visual/conversational prompts. At first students hesitated. Then they thought, smiled and engaged each other. They realized that they had the knowledge in their heads and only needed to share it.

During the teaching process, I had to quickly re-evaluate myself; the teacher became the student. I had to learn how to learn in order to teach. It was a painful process. I knew that I was responsible for teaching the students and that they were responsible for learning. But I had to learn to navigate my own classroom before we could arrive together at the desired destination: sharing the task of learning. The new ideas I gained were sought.

Seeking wisdom is an additional responsibility in teaching knowledge. I had to acquire new strategies that diminished learning by coercion and grew into learning for the love of learning. This was a Herculean effort. The challenge I face is to constantly renew the classroom vision and maintain learning momentum.

Teaching is a tiring endeavor. A teacher cannot live for the classroom alone; he or she must be renewed and rewarded as well. During this live-fire exercise, this running of the gauntlet, I have found happiness to be possible for not only teachers and students, but parents and administrators—when education does what it is supposed to do, transform lives.

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kingdom of children

Facendas 001Kaiser had friends over to play for a few hours. They played with every toy he has, especially the TMNT weapons. All four kids attend martial arts class during the week, the fighting and the stunts continued through the day. Somehow there were no battle casualties. After the livingroom war, the kids got out the Hot Wheels and raced ‘em all!

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if these walls could speak

Move (32)We got everything packed and moved. It was a lot of work, but the system works: just fill the crates! There really wasn’t enough room to both pack and live there, so we packed nine crates and put the mattress on them. That gave us the floor space we needed to move around. Tamara and I also took turns taking Kaiser out to play so the other could work undisturbed, and Kaiser didn’t feel like he was in the way.

In the previous post I mentioned that a conveyor truck will come and the crew will remove everything through the window–that was not the case. Every single thing had to be carried down the stairs and loaded on the truck. When the truck bed was loaded, we drove down the street and carried everything up stairs again. As Kaiser wasn’t feeling well, Mom took him to the doctor’s. That left me with the movers, who implied in Konglish that I was to help them–help them move the stuff I was paying them to move (in the rain). So I did. It went by fast. We started promptly at 9:30 and finished at 11:00. This included driving to my school and getting the washing machine and fridge from storage. The moving crew was the driver, a man, and two women and myself. Veni, vedi, vici.

Move (33)Move (6)Move (9)

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stack ‘em high

Moving Crates 005This is how moving works in Korea: find a moving company, have moving crates delivered, fill them, movers transport them to the new place. When they deliver, they run the boxes up a sliding platform through the front window. Pictures pending…

Since our new apartment is half a block away, I have been going over there every day to clean and to take a few things. This will make the move less chaotic.

Tonight we will begin to fill the crates with non-essentials. Moving day is in TWO DAYS!

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ahh, space…

Empty Apartment 003Here is our new apartment. It is brand new–we will be the first to live in it. I went there today to clean the floors, baseboards, trim and doors, from all of the general construction dust. I also brought a few things over. The couch in the picture is the one Tamara got for us.

Empty Apartment 005Empty Apartment 001Empty Apartment 007Empty Apartment 008Empty Apartment 004


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