The Kids Club Kindergarten English Realities

So, in my last post I wrote about why I’d let the blog-writing slip off the back-burner and behind the cooker. This is why I’ve scooped up the writing and… want to add more… then put it on the internet.

I was looking around for the Kids Club Cyworld site to see how if anyone looks different/taller, also I pretty much miss a few of them, even if all the cool kids, my ones, left months ago.

In my searching I found a Naver blog post that translated thus:

“The Kids Club Namyangju School”

The Kids Club Kindergarten driving or out yebinyi Namyangju because school is in the Open Class and went hurriedly.

Namyangju School Kids Club

Children’s cognitive emotional and physical balance to the development of

English kindergarten programs in the world proven authentic British designed and energy

Langauge, Arts & Craft, Science, Gym, Ballet, Cooking, Cabe, Math, Haba, Orda, etc.

Variety of courses for preschool age and level of play activities should be conducted in English must meet.

Simple language is not English, as the center of the book

English as a variety of interesting activities

English learning environment for children to melt naturally focuses on providing, he said.

For five “ ~ I love .. love ..

Today’s Cooking Class theme “Make a pizza”

Making Cooking Class in the pizza apron wearing a pretty hat, wearing a chef ..

Binaural hearing and explain very carefully yolssimi yebinyang … keke

Yolssimi native teachers to follow in making a pizza stone ~

Yebinyang tense in English hadaboni own ..

But according to yolssimi yolssimi listening and following along ..

Yolssimi good answer ..

Whoa, my baby … eukeukeukeu ….

Cutting mother for two clumsy yet yebinyangeul saljjakung dowajwotjing …

Oh ~ ~ I’m damn funny, what’s ~~~^^

Onion Plymouth ~ ~ jeu

Lost in classes with native speakers without having any jusigong …

Made it in the oven to bake delicious bread, eat pizza today completed the Class.

————————————————– –

Open Class LA grunge eosuseon progress, but a little upset too ..

Eukeukeu coy … .. makes you want to send an English speaking kindergarten

Yebinyido on the way home was so wanted to attend kindergarten to tighten English cast ..

Lee Charm’s headed to the English Kindergarten unfair ….

Oh, what am I gonna ~~~~~ ~ ~

And start worrying …

Kindergarten English Kindergarten Is … Is General Aung ~ ~ ~

Here are some of my choice cuts from that appart from the bits that didn’t translate and just come out as saljjakung jibberish:

  • Children’s cognitive emotional and physical balance

There is scarcely any thought of the sort.

  • English kindergarten programs in the world proven authentic British designed and energy

Two British men are employed. That is where the British begins and ends. The children are still encouraged to say “waaderrr

  • Simple language is not English, as the center of the book
  • Whoa, my baby … eukeukeukeu …

That nonsense of the end is like their “lolololol”

  • Oh ~ ~ I’m damn funny, what’s ~~~^^

and of course

  • Onion Plymouth ~ ~ jeu

I can recommend Google translate any time. Not for anything serious of course.


End of year revue and graduation

Last weekend marked the end of the academic year in Korea. As such the hagwon put on a show for the parents the previous Saturday with all the kids (in theory) performing a song, dance, ballet or spoken piece. This was the show I mentioned a few posts ago, much of my Saturday was absorbed by this and didn’t involve any more pay, although to be fair it’s in the contract. Anyway, it was an absolutely golden opportunity to get some cute/funny/daft shots of the kids and roped-in-MC Jon (who also blogged about the about the ordeal)

Emily in ballet mode

ever the cheerful

Tony in elephant mode

as NOT seen anywhere in the official version of Jungle Book

"musical english" song, this represents the highest level of choreography

My personal photographic highlight was this one of Cherry class, showing the true coordination ability through the disparity and variety of stance each child adopted. Only three of the five children in this shot (not the whole class) performing the same thing. We have no way at this vantage of even telling if this was remotely correct.

looking slightly like an evangelical preacher and his dull comedy side-kick

previously mentioned, roped in MC and strange purpose-hired Korean-language MC

Until for some reason, some parents were cajouled into going up onstage and dancing in order to win an arbitrary prize. They were mostly shy but a few were all kinds of scary.

Jon was so disturbed he kicked a bit of wood in-half.

so hard his shoe stayed where it was

Along with the show, an odd “graduation” ceremony took place for all the kids leaving the hagwon to pursue the further studies in Elementary School. Although for some reason each kid received the same graduation certificate regardless of whether they were leaving for ‘big school’ or the next class up. I suppose thats another danger of using certificates/other materials written in English – it’s unlikely that anyone will care what it actually says. Anyway, the best part was seeing all of the kids who had received their little rolled up certificates using them as telescopes/guns. I don’t remember being quite as irreverent at my University graduation.

it's a small photo because I couldn't actually take the photo obviously

notice the damn fanciest balloon rosettes that Pearl has ever produced

Show photos can be found in my Picasa album here.

Lunar New Year at Kids Club

This Sunday as I am sure you are all aware, marks the first day of the Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year. In Korea this is generally celebrated with a family gathering, drinking Shikhye, playing odd/dull traditional games. Sometimes while wearing hanbok.

To this effect, we had a wonderful day at the hagwon this Friday with what seemed to me to be a Korea-themed day. Traditional Korea no less. The kids arrived wearing their little hanbok(s?), to be greeted by the sight of Jon and I in our rather dashing numbers, as purchased by our director.

The kids’ hanbok seemed to range from sort of plain to frankly resplendent, as seen demonstrated here by Eric in his imperial robes.

one day I will own the adult version of that set

Next they got low-bowing lessons, so as to impress Grandparents into giving them money – another tradition. We, the teachers were treated to this. There were mixed results, several kids had it to a tee, but a fair few of the younger ones didn’t quite get what was going on and just kind of stood around. Very funny anyway!

bowing lessons

roughly a quarter of Cherry Class is seen here successfully bowing

After a damn fine lunch composed it seems of some of mine and Jon’s favorite bits of Korean food – Japjae, duk-gook, kimchi (of course) and egg fried white fish, the kids were treated to some odd and apparently arbitary traditional Korean games with Jon, while others were taught how to drink tea with the director and I. I learned how to say “thank you for giving me tea”. May sound a bit boring but I actually found it quite a relaxing affair, with great opportunity to take some adorable photos.

The actual drinking of the tea was received with a mixed level of success, as with the bowing. A few kids didn’t know quite what to do, others were completely oblivious to what was going on…

I can only wish it were Lunar New Year every day.

More pictures here.

Lessons: Cancelled

12/02/10 – 18:00

I have twittered about this, but damn it’s brilliant. On the last of the week it has been decided by the powers-that-be in an hour long meeting that next week’s lessons are CANCELLED. All of them.

Not because of Swine Flu or the Apocalypse, but because the kids need to practice more for their talent show taking place next week. More than every spare five minutes that they get currently, but all damn week. Actually, only 3 days given the public holiday and special birthday day, but still, wow.

I have put the date and time at the top of this statement because it is liable to change about 3 times. I will update below if this happens!


My co-teacher of the day started talking to me about art lessons for today. I stopped her and asked if she knew there were to be no regular lessons. She seemed oblivious, although she was in the meeting where it was decided.

The Parents

Diverging from my rather negative posts of late (I love to be super cynical apparently), I will now write a neutral tone post.

The relationship parents have with the education facility known as a hagwon seems novel to me. While I’m sure that the parents of children while I was at school were equally interested in their development and welfare, thus the formation of parent/teacher committees, the role of the Korean parent seems much more directly involved here. Perhaps it is something to do with all that money they are shelling out for their kids education.

I will take a moment to explain the concept of a hagwon. A hagwon (학원) is a private academy usually with a small number of students, usually specialising in the teaching of a specific field, supplementary to regular state education. I, for example, am a highly sought-after (!) native English teacher at an English language (supposedly – but more on that in a later post) Kindergarten. Other kinds of Hagwon are available, such as mathematics, science or other languages like Chinese and Japanese. All ages attend hagwons, from pre-school such as my kids, to older ones at high school and even those attending University and beyond.

Anyway, while I would expect some level of involvement, there seems to be all too much back seat driving by parents going on here.

Case in point, I am informed that prior to my arrival in Kids Club, the classes were arranged by ability rather than the present system which is by age. This seems to make sense, however one of the mothers didn’t like her son being in a class with kids much younger than him and made a complaint about it to our director. I mean, I feel for the kids in that situation, but after that one complaint the whole thing was restructured.

Another example was at a much worse hagwon where a friend of mine was spotted by one of the Mums with a kid (not theirs) on their lap. A formal complaint was made that my friend “didn’t love all the children equally” [verbatim] and so her class was taken away from her. Surely that is ludicrous?

The directors and teachers seem very aware of the eyes of the parents hanging over their classroom, a lot of the time the work is tailored to look impressive to the non-English speaking parents rather than being of education benefit to the students. This has led to some finishing or re-doing of artwork by teachers (who appeared embarrassed when subjected to my ire).

It’s not all negative (hence the neutral aspiration of this post) while the parent’s may be involved, they are also very interested in keeping on good terms with us, the teachers. This usually means everything is all smiling, giggling and bowing during meetings of short duration. With more awkward compliments of handsomeness in more prolonged encounters. Even better, on any field trip the parents are quick to supply a wealth of kimbap (everyone loves kimbap) and usually when a parent visits the hagwon to pay or whatever, a cake or box of doughnuts is involved. Right now in fact I am sat dangerously close to one of two big boxes of doughnuts brought in by a parent, somewhat heralding the return of her daughter who had been off for a while.

Oh, that didn’t actually end on a positive note, more of a selfish note. I’m sure that you could view my negative points as positive, perhaps in that the views of the parents are reflected more directly than in an equivalent institution in England where their opinions are not so well observed, I don’t know.

Anyway, doughnut time.

Christmas blog

The run up to and main event of my first Korean Christmas have been and gone. I am now enjoying the week or so holiday I have from work before I go back on the 5th of January.

Notable Christmas activities have been:

A trip to a German Christmas market themed celebration at a German School in Seoul.

lovely german writing, somehow both comforting and still quite alien

The 평내동 외국인 (Pyeongnae-dong foreigner) anonymous Christmas gift exchange.

Two layers of wrapping and about 6 or 7 boxes to package a small bottle of 소주 (Soju) and 10,000 Won. Well done Dan and Latanya.

Ashley is holding Marisa's new penis-boy lamp

The Kids Club Christmas party was quite the event. Complete with the gym teacher dressing up as a crippled, old, magic performing Santa.

Father Christmas is weird in Korea

The kids had a really good time (only one cryer – Fry, the tiniest and most tear-prone child) and Jon and I enjoyed some time darting about taking photos and nearly avoiding lessons for an entire day.

Pear Class as you see, were overjoyed

Orange class, Jon and Santa preforming the Thriller dance moves to Jingle Bells.

On Christmas eve I met with Ha Young and spent some wandering around 혜화 (Hyehwa) enjoying the sight of Korea at Christmas.

I do not want presents from this guy

shops that put these outside are only just better than those with the shouty clapping people

Christmas day was quite quiet since Jon had wandered off to Hong Kong with Ashley. I spent the morning with Ha Young, unwrapping presents from my parents (pants and biscuits), my sister (a nice little glass tree decoration) and some actually quite impressive presents from some parents of the kids (Bean Pole socks, a mother of pearl keyring and some Issey Miyake aftershave). Somehow I failed to meet my cooking target of Cauliflower Cheese before we had to leave for Suwon, so I cooked up the storm that is Egg and Soldiers – another English cuisine first apparently.

수원 at Christmas

I also experienced my first ever white Christmas in Suwon.

Suwon is also great for night time photo opportunities:

also, I have a lovely lens for taking crunchy night photos

it always surprises me how late children stay out for here

street food

Roasted chestnuts

On Boxing day we wandered around a bit of  화성 (Hwaseong Fortress) and somehow didn’t die of frostbite.

Hwaseong Fortress

You may have noticed that I have mentioned the temperature quite a few times on this blog/twitter/facebook. You may conceive that constant comment is redundant. Let me first of all tell you that it has occasionally snowed – an event always worth talking about unless you happen to be an Eskimo (Innuit, whatever), but also show you this picture of a damn drain pipe outlet from some pavement a level above on a road.

That is frozen water right there. A whole load of frozen water.

I mean, what the hell. How is that even possible?

It has taken me far too long to write this blog, but I now intend to spend the day/rest of my time off preparing some Hanja and Korean language posts as filler between my more regular updates. Somehow I will fit this in with my learning Korean/Hanja/how to teach/gym/shopping/New Years celebration/short excursion schedule, but I will try damn it!

Here are the links to the photo albums on Picasa.

Christmas at Kids Club

Christmas time

Lazy update

This is going to be a bit of a lazy update because I am ill. Not terribly ill of course, just a bit off-colour. I had a cough yesterday that transformed into a full-on cold, I have spent a lot of today in bed and have felt generally wretched as you would know if you have been following my Twitter updates over the the right there. This is surely the peril of contact with/getting sneezed and coughed on by children from the other side of the world. By the way, please do not mention the “M– flu” in a comment please.

Anyway now that I have got out of bed and have produced a fabulous beard (pictures of that to follow) for my costume this evening, I feel that I have regained enough grit to cobble together a little photo collection of funny stuff that I have captured in picture form.

it really is super tight

Juan's nice, but tight, new wrestler's mask



When putting picture stickers next to words in your workbook, the first step is to stick them to your face

this is what happens when you are in close proximity to Japan

Some sort of air-con robot basketball game promotion

god damn it

My vote for 'worst human who is not necessarily a criminal'

I will always regret not entering this

hot-dog eating competition in Seoul