some good things about aging

17 07 2013

you can teach your students salty phrases like,

Life’s a bitch.
and Shit happens.

you have the confidence to take chances in class, knowing your lesson plan may flop.

you’re not the youngest person in the room, so you have other ways to bring value to your students, your friends and the world.

you know this life is short, but every day offers new opportunity.

*     *     *

each night, when i go to sleep, i die. and the next morning, when i wake up, i am reborn.





Tuesdays With Morrie redux

7 07 2013

I’ve wondered if teaching Tuesdays With Morrie for the second month in a row means I’m giving students less passion. Today though, we had a wonderful lesson.

We read The Tenth Tuesday: We Learn About Marriage last night. Today, using the word accommodate and Morrie and his wife Charlotte as examples, we talked about how we accommodate each other in our marriages.

Jason from New York class said he lets his wife go to bed first, even when he’s tired. “She feels scared and alone, if I go to bed first,” he said.

Justin said he does basically everything his wife asks him to do, which led to teaching the expression:

happy wife, happy life

We listened to Ray Noble’s The Very Thought of You, which Mitch’s wife sang to Morrie. The 1934 song echoed the lindy hop we watched on YouTube last week.

Finally, we wrote tributes to our teachers and loved ones. For some, saying “thank you” was an atrophied muscle. Cynical-@$$ London class protested most loudly, swearing they could think of no one to thank. So, a 20-minute writing exercise took 30 minutes to complete, because it took 10 minutes for some of the guys to get into a thankful head space.

In the end though, even the prima donnas thought of at least three people they could think, and this was a good exercise in empathy.

Not a bad way to spend an overcast Friday listening to Al Bowlly and reading about your students’ gratitude.

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Morrie makes em cry

27 06 2013

today is mid-terms today at Samsung Engineering’s English camp.

my student Eric started crying in the middle of his oral interview. again, we are reading Tuesdays With Morrie with a new group of students. Eric drew this discussion question:

“Who is Eva? What does Morrie gain from Eva? What did you gain from your mother?”

If you’ve read TWM, you know Eva was Morrie’s stepmother and the first person to show him love. Eric, I think, suffering from lack of sleep, exam anxiety and sudden remembrance of his mom, was defenseless. His face contorted and his eyes welled up, and you knew what was going to happen next.

He talked about how his mom taught him about love and sacrifice. His father retired early, so their family didn’t have enough money. His mother found a job at a restaurant and woke up every day at 5am and returned at 11pm, so the children wouldn’t be burdened by having to work.

Eric cried for about 10 minutes. He apologized and said he was surprised by this sudden emotion and remembering the restaurant. Eric said many times he’s wanted to visit his mom in Busan and doesn’t know why he hasn’t. I suggested he try to remember this feeling, even when he gets busy and to call his mom to thank her today.





life’s a b!tch

4 06 2013

my students finished Tuesdays With Morrie this month. i’m so proud of them! for many, this was the first book they read entirely in English.

there are some salty phrases in Morrie too, so i had the opportunity to introduce colorful colloquialisms like~

  • Life’s a b!tch
  • You’re full of sh!t
  • Wipe your @ss
  • A hell of a lot, as in, teacher you give a hell of a lot of homework.

My gyopo co-teachers taught me some equivalents in Korean.

  • Life’s a b!tch = 인생이 엿 같다, literally, life is like yeot (Korea’s hard-@ss, break-your-teeth squash candy). A closer translation–>life is forked.
  • Fork you = 엿 먹어, eat yeot. Don’t use this one. Really bad.
Image

엿 the candy

Image

엿 the gesture