Monday, December 21, 2009

2009 SMOE Workshop Day 1 – Unrealistic expectations?

Let me preface this post by saying teaching is one of my passions and that I take improving myself as a teacher seriously. The intent of this post is to make some very needed observations and criticisms about how workshops are designed and how presenters are chosen and presentation materials vetted . . . or, unfortunately, to illuminate the lack of vetting and the lack of supervision . . .
I arrived at Korea University at 8:40am Monday . . .
I signed in, got my name tag, and picked up a workshop booklet. After that I headed into the auditorium and found myself a seat.
Some Koreans were testing the microphones and prepping things for the opening ceremony. The usual items were being prepared . . . national anthem, big Korean flag power point slide, and an overview of the workshop schedule power point slides were readied for the 200 or so native English teachers slowly filling up the auditorium.
As I sat in the audience waiting for the usual hoopla to be finished . . . I thought about how I always find it amusing that foreigners are asked to stand and salute the Korean flag and sing their national anthem. I have no problem paying my respect to the Korean flag, and standing while their national anthem is played–I am after all at work and on their dime–but I still ponder these things from time to time.
National anthem and flag respecting done the supervisor says some opening remarks, and begins introducing the SMOE office co-ordinators . . . and unfortunately can’t remember all their names. I am terrible with names so I feel some sympathy for him because I’d probably have been lucky if I could remember 2 and I think he got through about 4.
The supervisor then goes over our schedule for the two days.
Monday December 21st
8:30 to 8:50am – Registration
9-9:20am – Opening Ceremony
9:30-10:20am – Co-teaching
10:30-10:50am – Reflection Session: Classroom Issues and Professional Development
11:00-12:20 – Reflection Session
12:30-13:20 – Lunch
13:30-14:20 – Reflection Session
14:30-16:00 – Co-teaching Demo Lesson and Q&A
Tuesday December 22nd
9:00-12:50 – Co-teaching Workshop
13:00-15:00 – Lunch Party Buffet
16:00-17:30 – Go to see “Jump” (Show)
I had already seen the schedule because my co-teacher is awesome and when she got the memo she printed out a copy for me, and then when I asked her to she translated some of the info written in Korean. There wasn’t really a lot of info to translate but what there was she did with no hesitation or complaining. My co-teacher rocks, and I’m insanely lucky to be working with her.
After the supervisor finished going over the schedule a coordinator got up and kind of did the same thing, lol, and then pointed out a map we had been given in our schedule booklets. Finishing that we had a ten minute break before the first presentation, “Practical Co-teaching,” began.
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Click on the link below to see pictures and read more at Kimchi Icecream: The Second Serving . . . . I've moved over to and will be blogging there from now on.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Flugun Gate at Snow Jam, Seoul 2009 — What is a ‘flugun gate’?

After the final match was finished at the Snow Jam event I began to walk home . . . and came across a Flugun Gate . . .

Since I’ve never seen one before
I did a Google search for “flugun gate” and came across taryn’s korea adventure blog posting, Incheon Global Fair & Festival. She writes about how she had to wait “in line first to be spritzed with hand sanitizer, and then to pass through the so-called “Flugun” gates where a machine doused us in some kind of germ-fighting mist.”

Another blogger, With Backpack, also went to the Incheon Global Fair and writes,

“Along with the hundreds of hand sanitizer machines, there are also many “fluguns” installed where crowds are expected. This is a device that is suppose to kill flu germs, I think. I doubt that it works, since after being “flugunned” about three times in Songdo I had a cold the next day.”

Another day in Korea blogger writes, “It’s misty and apparently kills the flu.” And Annyeong! writes, “Of course, before entering we had to walk through the Flugun Gate, just in case we were carrying H1N1. The swine flu scare is getting ridiculous – so many festivals have been cancelled because people are scared to gather in large groups because of the flu.”

After doing several different searches on Google for about 20 minutes I finally gave up on finding an expert source defining what a “Flugun Gate” is and whether research has been done that proves there’s any degree of effectiveness in H1N1 prevention . . .

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Click on the link below to see pictures and read more at Kimchi Icecream: The Second Serving . . . . I've moved over to and will be blogging there from now on.

Snow Jam Seoul 2009 / LG Snowboard FIS World Cup BA — Awesome snowboarding with huge air and a few wicked wipeouts

This past Sunday afternoon Julianne and I headed back to Snow Jam for the afternoon qualifying match, which was scheduled to run from 1-5pm, and then we planned to hang out for an hour till the final match that would happen from 6-7pm.

We got to the snow ramp at about 3:45pm and I snapped a few pictures of the scaffolding with my Canon D400 and Sigma 10-22mm lens . . .

When we walked to a spot where we could see the ramp there was nothing going on . . . I’m not sure if the afternoon match finished early but . . . yeah . . . arriving at 4pm, 2 hours before the final match starting time (6pm), actually proved to be a bonus in disguise because I was able to get a good spot inside a barricaded area just across from the ramp. If we’d arrived at even 5pm we would not have been standing at the edge of the street. Even so, it was FREAKING COLD and standing in one spot for 2 hours was not exactly the most fun thing to do on a Sunday afternoon. The only thing that kept me motivated to ignore the cold was that I was pumped about it being my first time taking pictures at an international sport event!

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Click on the link below to see pictures and read more at Kimchi Icecream: The Second Serving . . . . I've moved over to and will be blogging there from now on.

Snow Jam Seoul 2009 / LG Snowboard FIS World Cup BA — Awesome snowboarding with huge air and a few wicked wipeouts

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Seoul Snow Jam 2009 -- World class snowboarders and a 3 story high snow ramp in Ganghwamun Plaza?

Julianne and I headed out to Seoul Snow Jam tonight . . . but we were too late. But I should backtrack a little and explain how I found out about SSJ.

My co-teacher asked me on Friday if I'd heard about SSJ--I said a friend of mine, Sonya, had mentioned it to me. My co-teacher then asked me if I knew that the main snowboarding jump was '3 stories high' and in Ganghwamun Plaza . . . and it was at this point that the photographer in me began to giggle like a little boy on Christmas morning at the images I imagined I'd be able to shoot at this event . . . needless to say I was VERY happy my co-teacher had reminded me, and that Sonya had passed on the event info to me.

A brief search on Google brings up this link to the event's site. And more importantly this link to the event's schedule. On Sunday there will be a qualifying match from 10am to 12, another qualifying match from 1-5pm, and then the final match is from 6-7pm. I can't believe that I didn't research this event on Friday when I heard about it cause normally when I hear about a festival or event I post a blog with all the info I need to go, and share it too. Too much has been going on lately (for example, my school is asking me to do FIVE WEEKS of winter English camps--the most of any foreign teacher in Seoul that I know) and other stuff that I won't bore you with . . .

There are also news articles about the event online too. Here's one from the Korean Herald, 2009 Seoul Snow Jam held in Gwanghwamun, and Hermit Hideaways has a bit on it too.

Anyways, tomorrow I'm going to head back to Ganghwamun Plaza and find myself a good spot and take a bizillion pics of dudes flying through the air doing spins and tricks that defy the imagination! I can't wait.

As for the trip Julianne and I took tonight . . . well, here are some pics of the event area. Oh yeah, and it was CROWDED!

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Click on the link below to see pictures and read more at Kimchi Icecream: The Second Serving . . . . I've moved over to and will be blogging there from now on.

Seoul Snow Jam 2009 -- World class snowboarders and a 3 story high snow ramp in Ganghwamun Plaza?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Rubber Seoul Event and World AIDS Day, Hongdae, Seoul, South Korea - Saturday December 5th, 2009

Julianne and I are going to be volunteer photographers at the Rubber Seoul Event and World AIDS Day, in Hongdae, Seoul tomorrow night.

Please come out and have some fun while supporting World AIDS Day.

See you there,

p.s. If you read this and have a blog PLEASE put up a post about this event.

Rubber Seoul 2009 is coming soon on Saturday, December 5, 2009. The line-ups and clubs are official! Look below for details.

For those of you who missed it last year, Rubber Seoul is an evening of music, dancing, and all around fun in Hongdae that coincides with World AIDS Day. It is a great way to spread information about HIV/AIDS in Korea, as well as to support the Hillcrest AIDS Center in South Africa.

10,000 Won will get you a Little Traveller doll as well as unlimited access to the clubs until the wee hours of the morning. ALL proceeds from the cover charge will go to support the Hillcrest AIDS Center in South Africa.

So, save the date on Saturday, December 5, 2009. It's gonna be an awesome night.

We have three clubs lined up, and here's the band line up:

JANE’S GROOVE (Doors open at 8:30 pm)
9:00 pm Brick Slipper
9:45 pm Bridget and the Puppycats
10:30 pm EV Boyz (Minus One)
11:00 pm Sotto Gamba

CLUB FF (Doors open at 9:00 pm)
9:15 pm The Koxx
10:00 pm Pony
10:45 pm Gogo Star
11:30 pm No.1 Korean
12:15 am U R Seoul

1:00 am - 6:00 am DJ Eddie's Super-Fun Rockin' Dance Party!
DGBD (Doors open at 11:00 pm)
11:15 pm Solitaire Love Affair
12:00 am Tacopy
12:45 am Rock Tigers

Get ready for a great time and to help some people out!
Don't forget to invite all of your friends.

T-Shirts, Little Traveller dolls, and hand made crafts will also be available for purchase at all venues, with the proceeds going to benefit HIV/AIDS charities.

And make sure you check out our blog, and the Little Travellers Korea website:

Little Travellers are beautiful beaded pins made by women affected by HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Each pin is individually handcrafted and unique.

Founded in Canada and now sold in Korea for 5000 won each, all of the proceeds go to fight HIV/AIDS in the KwaZulu-Natal province; an area with one of the highest prevalence of HIV in the world.

For every little traveller that is sold, 40% goes to the crafter and 60% supports the Hillcrest AIDS Center. Hillcrest provides a variety of services including education, counseling, emergency feeding and school fees. For more detailed information, please refer to the Little Travellers brochure.

Proceeds from this event will be donated to the Hillcrest AIDS Center, a non-governmental, non-profit organization located in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. The Hillcrest AIDS Center provides home-based care and nursing, emergency feeding programs, school and funeral fee funds, educational workshops, counselling, testing services, and economic empowerment through the income generation project.