Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Decor at School

For the ten days leading up to Christmas, I planned lessons for 'my girls' (students) to make Christmas decorations. Christmas is celebrated in Korea, to some extent. Christmas Day is a national holiday, the big depratmnet stores play christmas music and sell piles of toys and christmas trees and cards, and Christian families usually go to church and spend the day together.

The Christmas spirit is, however, not as we know it at home. Christmas is a minor holiday in Korea copared to the other biggies (Chuseok and Lunar New Year) and the Christmas spirit is more of a commercial one than anything else. This is of course partly true in western countries, but all in all there are more social activities leading up to Christmas back home than here.

We experienced this last Christmas, and for us, it made being away from home over Christmas even harder. We had a good time and our lovey parents sent us parcels and we bought each other gifts but it was still tough. To make it easier this year, I threw myself, body and soul, into making the Christmas season a festive one: for myself and those around me. I was baking biscuts many nights a week, we decorated our house and had at least three big Christmas meals over the long weekend. Happy Christmas = Lots of yummy food, right?! :)

What I also did, was get Christmas cheer going at school. It is still strange to be at school right up until the the day of Christmas eve, but I enjoyed it so much more this year. I planned ahead a bit and managed to make a request for some money to buy stationery and other accessories needed to make christmas decorations. With our new principal, these kind of requests have become a reality and no longer a far off dream - what a pleasure! So off I went with the school's credit card and spent W120 000 at Sangju Stationary Centre. I bought lots and lots of colour paper, stickers, ribbons, glue, scissors, staples, etc. I had to do my calcuations quite carefully - by the end of the week, I would have seen about 650 students and I had to have enough materials for all of them.

Anyway, it all went swimmingly. The lesson itself was much more of a culture lesson than a language lesson: the girls told me that they don't usually make their own Christmas decorations, and they didn't know how to make gingerbread-man-chains, paper snowflakes or any of those simple paper crafts which we all learn at pre-school and make in our holidays at home. The most English they had to use was asking me for materials if they ran out "May I please have some more colour paper." " May I please have some ribbon." etc. This seems like very little, but believe me, it was difficult for some of them. What I liked about it is that it is REAL English which they are using to communicate with me.

They thoroughly enjoyed making the decorations and hanging them up along their allocated part of the windows at school. So many teachers commented on the festive, pretty windows and I really felt like the decorations brought more of a Christmas spirit to my school. Yeyyyy!

Why? I don't know, but it made me laugh!!

ONLY IN KOREA! Squid for Christmas!! :)

Instructions: probably much to difficult for most of the students to follow, but it helped me prepare and gave them some idea of the finished products.

This is Sujin. She is one of my favourite students. She is tiny and FULL of energy! Other teachers have problems with her in class as she has a very short attention span but she shines in my classes as most of the activities are high-energy. After every class, she stays behind and helps me clean up my desk and the classroom - she's my little angel!

Some of the girls took the opprtunity to make Christmas cards - for me and for some of their other teachers.

Some of the first grade students at the high school. In typical Korean-teenaged-girl style they're doing their best to obscure their faces. It's quite sad...most of thes egirls think their faces are too big, and they all want narrower faces like westerners. What a sad thing!

Mr Kang and I: He is my co-teacher at the high school and is absoultely wonderful. I think he is the main reason why I feel so much more at home at the high school than the middle school. He speaks almost perfect English and is so understanding and encouraging. He's also a real joker, so being in the classroom with him is such a pleasure.

1 comment:

EEbEE said...

You should keep walnuts in your cheeks to help your shy teenage Korean students feel more confident about their faces.

(just a thought...)