Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Chapter Thirty-Nine: Last Day of Elementary

Tuesday was also my last day teaching the elementary after-school program. Here, they are working on the review sheets for their December exam. There's a lot of table-cam coming, beware!
Above, either Jeff or Chris, I'm not really sure which after my boss switched them between classes, works hard while behind him Rain takes a break.

Jenny and Ben

Rain is kind of hilarious. He's not a particularly good or committed student, but we all love him for some reason.

Sean and Alissa. We think that they will one day get married. They're pretty amazing students and kind of hilarious. Usually, Alissa's creative writing assignments involve her kicking the ass of a vampire.

Roy, Jeff-or-Chris, and Ivy

This is Earth class. They tested my patience like no other class ever but I will still miss them. It was not as hard to say goodbye to elementary as to leave kindergarten but I do adore the kids!

Chapter Thirty-Eight: December Birthday Party

Another birthday party happened last Tuesday. All the basic elements are the same, but I focused a lot on getting shots of the other kids just being cute. In this one, we are waiting for birthday pictures to be taken, so Sarah was asked to sing. It was so sweet and cute.

Then we had Ryan, Jupiter's class clown, sing just to give him something to do so he would stop causing trouble. It kind of worked?
While we were waiting. I showed this to a friend who asked, "What are they doing?" "Sitting nicely," I responded. Teaching preschool/kindergarten is living in a world of barely-controlled chaos. And I love it.

Birthday line, Liam and Fita at the front are so much bigger than when I first got here!

Apparently the entire school singing "Happy Birthday" is just a little too loud for them.

Emily, Angel, and Amy of Jupiter really wanted to get my slippers off.
They tried really hard. I eventually had to move away to stop distracting them with my slippers.

Stephen has been practicing his candle-blow-out technique. You can see him second from the left.

Cindy, being a ham.

She may love smiling for me, but she is not going to smile for Peter. No, Peter, she is not amused.

But she does seem to be able to put up with Alex.

Everyone wants hugs from Cindy!

"Smile, Lucy!"

"Now make a silly face!" A+, Lucy.

So, these next few pictures got Mars in trouble with Jessie, their Korean teacher for being silly while they were supposed to be eating. She showed them my camera and lectured them. Sorry guys!

Fita, a birthday girl, is probably supposed to have that crown on top of her head and I don't think she needs that much tissue.

And apparently Lucy should keep one hand on her spoon. Who can stop them when they're being so cute?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Another Christmas Post

I am in Midway, waiting for my flight home (all the way to Islip!). When I got off the flight, it was Christmas morning all over again. I shelled out a ton of money for a cab because the inter-airport shuttle never came and I could not get all of my luggage onto the El. But I am here. And soon I will be home. So far: I said "kamsahamida" and bowed to a lady at McDonald's, but other than that, the adjustment seems to have been instantaneous. Like I never left. (Having been at this gate five months ago could have something to do with it.)
The above photo of me and my favorite four-year-old in the whole wide world is just the beginning. So many photos to post.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I am in the airport in Seoul waiting to check into my flight (I'm a little confused about how this works). I will be home tonight which is tomorrow night at home. It involves a cross-Chicago airport transfer, but I will be home!

Merry Christmas everyone!

(I've got so many more photos to post when I get home)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Chapter Thirty-Seven: Extreme Abba Musical Chairs

This promises to be a most ridiculous post. Unfortunately, the whole school is sick right now so I haven't had the chance to take any new pictures of life at Little Genius--but I do have these videos from PE with Jupiter last week.

We played musical chairs to the Mama Mia soundtrack, which they happen to know by heart.

The music in this one is humorously ominous. Towards the end, you can see that two students declare themselves losers without noticing that there is actually an empty chair left.

In this one you can see that they watch me like hawks while I control the music. But the best part is that when I stop the music, many students keep singing.

You can kind of see Mark's high quality air guitar in the background. Where does a five-year-old Korean kid learn to air guitar to Abba?

Remember when I said that was the last "Super Trouper" video I would ever post? I lied.
The best part of the video is Cindy in the background shaking her head along to the music. Her hair is amazing. I tried to get a good video of it every time I saw her doing this dance for the past two months, but to no avail.

I entitled this video "Extreme Abba Musical Chairs: The Final Showdown" and got about 25 hits within the first half hour of posting it to youtube. Then the hits stopped completely. I guess the title was a little misleading, you might expect something a little more exciting--but it's not like I post on youtube for the general public.
The best part of this video is Peter's look of triumph at the end. In the background, you can see Chris trying to do a balancing game with Uranus--unfortunately they were a bit distracted by the sheer awesomeness of Abba musical chairs.

This experience makes me wonder why we stop playing musical chairs as we get older. I mean, it's a pretty sweet game, isn't it? Also, very few alterations need to be made to make it an amazing drinking game. Nicole, I think I have a game to add to New Year's!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Chapter Thirty-Six: End of Year Celebration

Welcome to Saturday's "End of Year Celebration" which was basically a Christmas pageant and kindergarten graduation combined. This was the snazzy room in Exco where it took place. We had three hours of rehearsal before the performance which was nearly two hours long and followed by an hour of dinner. Looong day for the little ones.

Sharon's pretty jazzed about it.

The adorable backdrop.

"Really, you expect me to wear this?" say Kane's eyes. Nevertheless, everyone else in Mars can't wait to get dressed! Does this not remind you of elementary school plays that always involved wearing a white leotard?

Don't mess with these elves. Lookit Woody's badass face on the right.

Whatever they are doing, Eric, on the left, is horrified.


"For some reason, I don't believe this is Dior."

Yes, Christy, you can totally be a princess. That will get you all the princes.

Pluto getting dressed as elves. Not nearly as funny as Mars.

Here, Mars and Pluto perform "Winter Wonderland." Alas, no video.

Mercury's "Any Dream Will Do" was introduced by a little skit about what they wanted to be when they grew up. "I love pretty dresses and I want to live in a castle, but my friends say there are no princesses in Korea," says Christy. "I think you are smart and beautiful, any prince would love to marry you. Of course you can be a princess!" responds Nicole. "Yes, I can!"

Here are the three girls who want to be singers, serenading us. "Do you think we can be singers?"

Venus singing "Summer Holiday."

Pay attention to the adorable kissing at the end. "Ah!"

The last "Super Trouper" video I will ever post. I swear.

Each of the graduating classes put on a play that Arthur adapted for them. I continue to be impressed with his drama teaching skills. There were so many great jokes. Here, Uranus is doing Peter Pan. You can see two lost kids, Captain Hook, Smitty, and Peter Pan. Captain Hook, Dustin, was absolutely amazing.

"Joanne" (not enough boys), Michael, and Wendy singing a nursery rhyme.

Jully as Tinkerbell, throwing the mildest temper tantrum ever, walks out while Peter Pan, Tommy, and Wendy, Ariel, talk about the role of a mother.

In this one, just listen to Captain Hook's delivery. A-mazing.

Most of Uranus singing "Boom Boom Ain't It Great to Be Crazy" after scaring way Captain Hook.

The epilogue. "Happy endings make me cry!"

Mars and Mercury sing "Are There Any Cookies in the Cookie Jar?" There was a short period of time during which they thought I would have to dance with them. Luckily, that was sorted out because I would have been awful ("You are going to need a lot of practice, I think," responded Rosie).

Backstage, Jupiter is getting ready to sing "Playground in My Mind." Jake is yawning, but it looks like he is trying to bite Kelly's arm. Meanwhile Steve, behind him, is looking a little concerned about the situation.

Pluto's play, also adapted by Arthur, was The Wizard of Oz. I was running out of video, so I only have a little bit. This part with Rocco as the cowardly lion is my favorite. It matches his personality so well.

The whole cast singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" at the end.

Backstage Uranus and Mercury get ready for "Animal Boogie" which was my least favorite song (see: poorly made rhymes and inability to fit lines to the meter) so I did not take video of it.

They were already so hot and sweaty from singing, dancing, and their Peter Pan costumes. "So hot!" was all Mike said to me the whole night.

"Please, no photos." Mars gets ready backstage in their adorable shiny pink costumes.

Kevin and Harry aren't nervous. They're just four.

What I love about this video of "Zippity Do Dah" is that Fita, all the way to the left, and Liam, in the middle, actually got the dance down. They were having a lot of trouble for a long time. It's also impressive because at age four walking up stairs is a major feat of coordination and these kids can dance!

Finally, we have some more elves--Jupiter and Venus--for "Santa Claus is Coming"

Just a clip.

Afterwards, we had a fancy dinner buffet. It looked like a wedding, seriously. It was in this huge hall, with white linens and covered chairs. Crazy! Nicole brings the class.

While the adults ate, mostly the kids ran around with big lollipops and made us nervous. Here's Stephen on a sugar rush.

Chris enjoyed the buffet style immensely, but he said he feels incredibly awkward at any function like this. I think I lost my ability to feel awkward since coming to Korea.

Tommy, from my second grade class, was there to cheer on his sister. He did a lot of running around, too. Chris, on the right, is the biggest ham and I love him for it.

This might be the single greatest shot of Liam ever taken. His eyes are OPEN. He has more to his face than just missing teeth. He looks like a little man! I am going to miss this one so much.

Back at home, I put the two roses I recieved from my students into my classy beer mug vase. Yeah, I've given up on cleaning since I will be leaving so soon. I'm in the process of packing as well.

Up next, "Extreme Abba Musical Chairs."