Proud of my kids. We had a speech contest today (part of Global Week, which is really just English Week… although I suppose it works, since English is considered the global language).

Our high-level 1st graders (13-14 yr olds) were the only participants, and I the only judge.

I’d been under the impression that a few of my co-teachers would also be judging and we would come to a consensus afterwards, but at the last moment I was handed the scoring sheet, list of names, and my CT said joyfully, “Maddy, actually I’m not going to score. You can choose the winners,” and proceeded to take photos during the whole event. LOL. She’s a cool person, so it’s okay.

I did find myself scrambling a bit at times to correctly identify the current speaker and match their name on the scoring sheet (the names on the sheet were completely out of order with the order of speakers) while also listening to them begin their speech. My Korean reading skills are good, but not that good.

Topics ranged from “My Future Dream” and “Why I’m Proud of Korea” to a handful of quite serious speeches about the terrorist attacks in Paris and what to do about ISIS. One student talked about the Anonymous hackers as well.

Speakers ranged from those who simply read what they had written in Korean and translated (or maybe a teacher/parent/Google did the translating) into English to one extremely bright girl who spoke without notes, naturally and earnestly, about working for peace following the terrorist attacks. (She was our clear winner.)

But regardless of their speech content, delivery, or English ability, I was so proud of all of them for having the courage to stand up and deliver in front of their peers and teachers. Personally, when I was in middle school I would’ve been a terrified, red-faced, stammering mess when speaking to a crowd – let alone in a second language!

They worked hard and put themselves out there, even some of the not-quite-as-high-level kids, and I think that’s awesome.

Yay for my students!


These are just 7 of the 20 kids who participated (oh, and me). Photo taken and cute-ified by my CT.

In other news, we also finished up our English Market today (held in my office), which meant students could come in and buy candy, stationery, socks, and other trinkets using the fake “money” they received in class. We had an English-only rule, and my CT promised them discounts and freebies if they spoke lots of English, so we had a lot of “Teacher, beautiful. I love you. Wow. Discount plees-uh” being thrown around.

Also, I had one of the best moments of my teaching career thus far (haha, not really. but kinda) when I single-handedly taught three of my VERY low level 3rd graders that the word “cool” has two meanings: “chilly, refreshing” (시원한) and “awesome, neat” (멋있어). (I’ve found that both my CTs and my kids solely use “cool” in the sense of chilly or refreshing and are often confused when it’s used to mean “awesome.”)

My CT was busy with something else, so she wasn’t around to translate, but I managed to explain to the three of them in a mix of English and Korean, and then I know it was understood because one of the kids then repeated it (correctly) in Korean to his two friends. And then they correctly used “cool” as in “awesome” in a sentence.

And to that I say:



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