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"But when everyone is desperately seeking to achieve the highest percentile, the result for the majority has to be disappointment. Even those who do well have been convinced by a society that only accepts one hundred percent that they need to do better."

Korea: The Impossible Country, by Daniel Tudor.

Referring to the Korean education system and the crazy race to the top here in Korea, but I think it can be pretty applicable to life in general. Korea may take it to an extreme, but I know that I definitely have to remind myself that comparing myself to my peers is not an accurate test of my success or worth.

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This is super interesting but I’d like to know more, with more than anecdotal evidence.

It does support what I’ve seen from Japanese friends, though, who didn’t even know what Dokdo/Takeshima is. Any elementary schooler in Korea could tell you in incredible detail the history of Dokdo and why it’s a Korean island (and why Japan is awful for trying to take it away).

Not saying that the Korean way is better, of course, it’s just fascinating to see the differences in the way history is perceived and, therefore, passed on to the next generation.

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Applying Myself

It’s official: all my graduate school applications are in. They’re out of my hands, there’s no longer anything I can do about them. Which is both comforting and completely terrifying.

For those of you who follow my blog for the random funny things my kids say and/or reblogged videos of Korean presidential candidates animated like Indiana Jones, feel free to stop here. For people who are curious about my plans next year (aka Nana), read on.

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fyeahkorea:

evangelllion:

theres a course at NYU on Gangnam Style

NYU is offering a course on the politics and pop culture of Gangnam Style next semester.

Now this is legit.

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I am blind. 
I am not lonely.

I am blind. 

I am not lonely.

(Source: koreanstudentsspeak)

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I should’t fear the English book

I should’t fear the English book

(Source: koreanstudentsspeak)

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partyintherok:

Why are the bad students always boys?

I had some classes today that the other teachers warned me were the worst in the school. Three in a row. All fifth grade.

The first class was only a little loud. The second class would quiet down long enough to listen to me but it was really hard keeping…

For me, it’s not that my “bad” students are mostly boys, it’s that it’s harder for me to deal with the style of troublemaking that boys tend to perpetrate, whereas I can handle my girls’ problems much more easily.

For example, if one of my boys is having a problem day, that means he is talking loudly with his friends, punching his friends, flicking things at his friends, getting up and walking around the class for no reason, etc. My girls, however, might be chatting and giggling, or doing makeup with giant mirrors out, or doing homework for other classes. 

I feel like the misbehaving boys are louder, rowdier, and more likely to actually disturb the learning of other students and throw me off of my teaching groove. I actually have to stop class and deal with them. But with my girls, if they are doing something they’re not supposed to be doing, it’s often only distracting themselves. And the girls are much more willing to stop doing whatever they’re doing with a well-timed glare.

Obviously it depends on the student, but I think partially just because of my personality and discipline style it’s much easier for me to handle problems with my girls than my boys. The longer I’m here and the more they get used to me, though, it’s become much easier.

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"Let’s respect our teachers!"

Walking into school this morning I saw a bunch of students lined by the entryway holding signs in Korean. I didn’t pay too much attention beyond giving them curious looks and rushing to print an absurd amount of class material in the twenty minutes before first period. But when I later asked my coteacher what they had been doing, I got the full story.

Apparently, students who misbehave in class get points taken off their grades (naturally). But they have a chance to regain some of their lost points by standing around before school with signs that encourage good behavior.

So apparently all the signs said things like “Let’s all take out our trash!” and “Let’s not be late to school!” etc. Adorable, but probably mostly ineffective.

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"In conclusion, to parents and teachers, vacation is time for students to play and rest. Think of our future. Do you think studying is the best way to make bright future of the country? I don’t think so. Experiencing something we don’t know is more important than learning new knowledge. You might say studying is what students have to do on their age but, reality is different. We think it’s time to change your mind. Think carefully."

— From an essay for the school newspaper by one of my second grade middle school students arguing for a longer summer vacation (this year they had two weeks of vacation).

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IT DOESN’T MATTER IF OTHERS THINK THAT YOU ARE ODD
JUST DO WHAT YOU WANT!

Great advice. Love it.

IT DOESN’T MATTER IF OTHERS THINK THAT YOU ARE ODD

JUST DO WHAT YOU WANT!

Great advice. Love it.

(Source: koreanstudentsspeak, via inlovewithsouthkorea)