After finishing a particularly challenging week of teaching, all teachers at our school were required to attend a mandatory teaching seminar in Incheon this week. After a total of 5+ hours of travel time in the bus and finishing the seminar, I can say it was quite interesting to be in such a forum where more than 500 Poly teachers attended together at an event where they could share their stories of students, curriculum, schools and academic planning. While during the seminar there were often times many moments did not seem informative for teachers (as many of the speakers were not teacher themselves but instead research and development staff). I will say, I came back with some useful information that would allow me to hopefully teach my students better and more efficiently.
Two weeks of being in South Korea, there are some very definite elements that are standard for the weekends which start as soon as you leave your school. Dinner is a must. And is usually within walking distance to anywhere. You’re choice for dinner or lunch, or even brunch for that matter, will consist of meat. It doesn’t matter where you go, there will be a grill for you to cook your meet table side. Typically, going out for bbq was always a “special occasion” day back home. However, being in Korea for two weeks, I have never eaten so much meat in my entire life! Beef is something of a special treat here, it’s quite expensive so most people have Pork (which I am finding that, because it is everywhere, if you weren’t a pork advocate- which I was not, now is the time to get on board) . I have made the decision to become vegetarian during the week so that I am not on full meat overload! The second important thing that is accompanied with dinner is liquor. Liquor seems to always make its way to the table the minute we sit down (sometimes on the floor). Most peoples choice of liquor is either beer or hard Korean liquor called Soju. If you aren’t familiar, it is potent!
Just a cab ride away were five people crammed into a sedan taxi (and by sedan think just a little bigger than a mini cooper). We arrived in downtown Daejeon to a “foreigners bar”. From this point on, everything is referenced as foreigner places rather than just “bar” to distinguish what crowd you will be headed to.
A night watching my drunk coworker dance spastically to a rhythm and beat that I never knew to exist, then watch him bring over a married woman who he left us to host to continue with his dancing, only to be met by her husband where we then we played darts, was something I don’t think I will ever forget. The night ended at Burger King. Who knew a whopper could taste so good after eating only Korean food for 14 days straight. Until next time…