Recently, I taught my students a lesson on giving advice. This lesson plan has been circulating around the Korean ETA community for a while and involves sharing your friends’ “problems”(real or fabricated) with students and having them writing letters to give advice.
The best part of this lesson is that it turns English into a tool for communication. I emphasized to all my classes that I would really send these letters out and student reactions ranged from shock to awe to panic.
I showed them pictures of other ETAs with problems about dating, missing Korea, or not being able to find their favorite food. The final scenario was this:
Personally, I was most excited about this prompt. I promised students who chose it that I would post their letters online for real English teachers to see.
When I arrived at my first school in Korea (Gimhae Jeil HS), I found a student-made “Korea Bucket List” display in my classroom – with cute, funny and strange suggestions – left for me by the previous ETA. Before I moved out of Gimhae, I left the new teacher a book of notes from her would-be students. Now, at Yeongdo Girls High School, it seems there might not be another foreign teacher after I leave. So instead of leaving something for one person, here’s something for all of you English teachers coming to Korea.
In my last post, I answered a question about good gifts to bring to Korea, but honestly, I often find myself at a loss. I thought I’d serve this question to my students too, and see if they had any better ideas. (Spoiler alert: They just like food.)
Without further ado, here is what you should do to experience Korean culture in Korea (plus gift suggestions), according to students.
First, there were some slackers who stopped not mid-sentence, but mid-word…
And then those who wrote enough to fill a whole page AND decorate the back with their portraits.
Some kept it simple.
Some just want you to bring them candy.
Some are concerned about your health.
There were students who need you to calm down,
And those who got you covered.
Some gender-specific advice,
and finally, who believe in the humanity of us all.
Because it’s not like Koreans are 에이리언 (alien).