Thursday, June 23, 2016

What Students Say - Year 1

Well, I'm home now, but I have one last post to wrap up the school year.

Here are a few words that I managed to transcribe from some of my students.

I wish I had thought to write down more than what I have here, but sadly I did not always have something to write with and memory is quick to mush things together. Still, here are a few moments that I would like to remember because they were funny, touching, or just said with such innocence and vulnerability.


Students: "Ms Briard we can't go back to our rooms yet. We're having a fight."
Me: "What kind of fight?" 
Students: "... a competition for funniest photo." (Gr 11)

When a student asks, "Why are you so nice to me?" (Gr 11)

After staring at me for a moment, "I like your lipstick today."
Same student, staring at me a couple of months later: "I like your eye colour." (Gr 7)

"Ms. Briard, you should stay next year so that we can play badminton together."
A couple of months later, same student, "If I paint you a picture, will you stay next year?" (Gr 11)

"Ah!  This is unicorn family! Diversity." (Gr 11 to Gr 11)

"Oh my! I misplaced the mustache." (Gr 11)

"Ms. Briard, can I have your shirt?" (Gr 11)

"Every kind of pizza will be great." (Gr 11)

After asking a student if they want to train for an upcoming race in the morning.
"I don't need to train. I have [friend] to run with me." (Gr 11)

Friend pats a student on the stomach and student says, "Ahh! Why are you touching my fat?" (Gr 7)

"He won't be able to go up the stairs with you."
Response: "But we have a car." (Gr 12, I think)

"How do you inhale styrofoam?" (Gr 11 to Gr 11)

Love and Hugs.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Year 1 ROK 끝.

The end.

After putting those two words on the page, I wanted to leave it at that. My first year in Korea is over and I am currently on my way back to Canada. To say I am excited to be going home does not even staer to capture my emotion. It's been a good year, but it's been a long year and I am ready for a break at home. Tearful goodbyes were said with my friends as we prepared to go off on our next adventures. While we hope to see each other again, we know it might be a number of years before that happens again.

There is a sadness in my soul.

Still, on a positive note, I have learned a lot over the course of the school year. In the spirit of reflection here are a few highlights.

1. All of my students are learning English. At the start of the year, I wasn't sure what that would mean for teaching in the classroom. I went through French Immersion so I understand a bit, but as a student I wasn't really thinking about how I was learning. I was just there. Now I find myself trying to be mindful of how fast I'm speaking; how am I phrasing my sentences and questions; what vocabulary am I using? If I introduce new words, am I providing synonyms? Do I give them an opportunity to think or am I pushing things along too quickly.

2. Piggybacking off of that, I have learned so much about English. Funny, eh? But I feel that in reading my students' papers and helping them with grammar I have been forced to think about how English works. Before this I relied mostly on instinct. "That sounds right..." I would think. But then my students ask me why and I'm forced to analyze my own grammar. Both weird and cool.

3. While I have worked for a big company of sorts before, this is the first job that I've had where at points I had to collaborate with different departments and groups. I have learned a lot about working with people. I hope that I can say that I am a better listener and problem solver as a result.

4. Moving away from professional growth, I have learned that I am a stubborn hiker. Often times when I am out on the trail, I find that I push forward because I want to prove to myself that I can do it. I don't want to give up and so on I go. I've had a number of fun adventures and made some good friends as a result. Onward I go!

5. And five... I have learned that I like korean food. I was worried when I left Canada that I wouldn't like it, but besides eating more seafood than I've been used to, I have liked almost everything I tried.

I'm sure I could think of more things given time, but... the end.

A list created by the Teacher Dons during our Last week of what we'll miss and what we won't.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Korean Driver's License

I decided a couple months ago that if I could help it, I didn't want to renew my international license again for next year. It's not that it's a difficult process in Canada--more so just an annoying one because it needs to be renewed every year.  Plus, the international license is not the most useful in my situation. When I travel, I don't rent vehicles to drive in foreign countries, so it is not an asset in that regard. As for in Korea, it is unclear as to whether or not it is valid for an extended period of time (I have heard that they only accept it for like 3 months or something. I don't know. It's rather confusing).  In addition, to be valid, you need to keep your passport and your original license with you while driving. I rather not worry about accidentally losing one of those other documents while out and about.

So, I decided that I would embrace the challenge to get my Korean Driver's License.

I started looking into the process during the winter months and then heard that a couple of my coworkers were doing the same.  If you live on Jeju and are thinking of getting your license as a foreigner, this website lays out everything very nicely, and here I'll go over some details that stuck with me. (Make sure to bring 3 passport sized photos with you when you go!)

It was surprisingly easier in someways and also more challenging in others. Like in Canada, there are three tests before your full license. The first one is a written test and the last one is a driving test on a designated course. That is about where the similarities end.

1. The written test. Before writing the test, you need to watch a 1 hour educational video. I don't know if it's different on the mainland, but the video I saw was like a game show with a host, an audience and three experts.  Interspersed between the questions were dramatizations of this couple driving around a city. A little cheesy, but at least the video wasn't borrowing. I think that there is also a book that Koreans read with more information, but I don't know if there is an english copy anywhere. Meaning, I went in a little blind to the test and had to guess some answers based on what I have seen while driving around Korea. (Plus, the english questions were not always perfectly clear). Still, it wasn't too bad and if you've learned how to drive in your own country, you should be okay.

2. The second test a functions test. Can you start the car? Can you turn on the headlights? The turn signal? The wipers? Can you do an emergency stop? You do this test on a course beside the center and everything is measured by a computer. A small screen tells you what to do at each stage and then you need to wait for the timer to start before you begin. The hard part about this test is really the timer. Don't start UNTIL the timer starts counting otherwise the computer won't register the action.

3. The driving test. Again, during the third test, part of the test is measured by a computer. The administrator is in the car with you (along with another testee--one of you drives out, the other drives back), but there is also a GPS monitoring the car's movement and speed. Like in Canada, you need to do a bit on the motorway, lane changes and turns, and a parallel park. Depending on your route, you might also do a U-Turn. And like anywhere, really, the traffic will depend on the time of day.

All said and done, that's it. A few minutes after finishing my third test, they handed me my license. Valid for 10 years. Ha.

I feel very much accomplished. =D

If you have any questions about the tests, please comment below and I will do my best to help.

To my friends and family back home, one week more!

Love and Hugs.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

When I get Home

I would like to eat a Hamburger.  Seriously. Yes, they have burgers in Korea, but they... they're not the same.  I don't even want a fancy burger at a restaurant. Just a good ol' BBQ night in the backyard.   And thinking about food, there are a number of other things I look forward to eating (parentals, please take note? I love you. Let's eat good food together) including:
  • Peanut Butter. Everyday. Next year I will make a greater effort to get some. They don't have the natural stuff at the everyday grocery stores.
  • Pasta/Spaghetti. My school cafeteria has a sad attempt at sauce. Really.  The noodles are fine, but the sauce is just... 
  • Muffins. Seriously. There is a difference between a muffin and a cupcake.  A Tim's Muffin would do, but I plan on making muffins at least once this summer.  Banana. 
  • On that note: Tim Hortons. 
  • Salsa and Chips.  Mum, let's have a salsa party. You me, and Tostitos.  Sound good?
  • Pie. All the pie. I have searched in vain for pie.  The closest I got was when I was in China and my friend Kendra set about making an adapted pumpkin pie with the ingredients and cookware we could find.  It was delicious, yes, but I really want strawberry rhubarb, or raspberry, or blueberry, or cherry.... or strawberry rhubarb.  
  • And the last big one... Mum, let's make pizza, okay?  We'll put whatever we want on it and we will most definitely NOT put corn.
That list doesn't seem too bad, right? Ça va?

Don't think that I only care for my stomach. Food isn't the only thing I am looking forward to. Haha. I can't wait to see my friends and family--and I've even had a few dreams this past week where I would be with friends from home and then I'd wake up and realize they were on the other side of the world. It was definitely a weird and sad feeling.  I still really like being in Korea, but I am excited to go home. I want to spend time with my family and visit with whoever I can find. Maybe go up the CN Tower at last, hopefully go on a camping trip, play some euchre, and hop on a bike: destination unknown.

I know the month will fly by and that before I know it I will be on my way back to Jeju.  Que sera, sera.  One day at a time.

Friends and Famjam, see you soon.

Two weeks.

Love and Hugs.

소자38 / Element 38 Café, PC: 소정

Wednesday, June 01, 2016


How did it get here so fast?  The past few months have both crawled and zipped by.  It's crazy to think that I will be home in 19 days.  Countdown is on.  In less than a month I will be able to see my family again. Woot!

But before that magical day arrives, I think I might run around screaming with my hands in the air like a crazy person.

Or at least I might contemplate it deeply...

I know there are still a couple weeks to go, but knowing I need to organize my life into what I'm storing here and what I'm bringing home is one of the biggest stressors right now.  Plus I am currently taking an online English class (which I started almost a month ago) and the midterm will be revealed and due all within the last week of the school year.  Let's not forget my actual work duties.  With the students in exam mode, things are tense all around.  We dons also need to help get things organized for next year which involves cleaning and creating certain materials.

AND before we all depart ways and potentially not see other for a long time (because saying never sounds so much sadder), I really hope to spend some more time with the other Teacher Dons.  A couple are staying on next year, like me, but most are either returning back whence they came or going off on a different adventure.  Who knows where we might meet next?  Onward and upward!

So... 19 days, Canada.

See you then. Love and Hugs

Things I've learned about France (or at least Normandy)

Well there we go, my second European country. In some ways, very similar to England (a lot of meat and potatoes, fancy churches, pay toilets...