It finally snowed in Gangneung. It started to rain on Sunday afternoon, and by early Sunday evening, it had turned over to wet, slushy snow. By Monday morning, we had maybe 18 inches of nice fluffy powder. Beautiful.
Our co-teacher called and said that classes were canceled. Teachers still needed to come in, however. We tromped to school where we found the other teachers shoveling out the parking lot and the roads that lead to it. Erin and I grabbed shovels and got to work. After maybe 45 minutes, the principal showed up and sent Erin back inside. (“Women shoveling? Unheard of.”) I kept at it for another 45 minutes. It was a lot of fun, actually. Most of the teachers were in pretty good spirits, myself included.
After the shoveling was finished, they set up tables outside the front door and served kimchi, tofu, and malaki (a sweet rice wine). Once that was finished, we had soup and more makali in the science lab. Then we sat at our desks for an hour and went home at noon. I can say with great certainty that this was the best work day ever.
Check out the pictures:
Edit — Erin has most of these photos, along with some others, posted here.
The last version of the school newspaper that I posted (here) required a few changes. In addition to the missing photo and a couple typos, the school requested some alterations. First, the article about school violence was cut. Honestly, I expected this would happen. It talked about a tragic incident at a nearby school, in which one student accidentally killed another. I gently suggested that the author of the story choose another topic, but he wanted to write about this one. I figured I’d go along with it. I thought it was a story that actually mattered to the kids, and I’d back it until the administration said otherwise.
Because I no longer have the newspaper class, and the kids are busy with exams, I wrote a brief story about the school festival to fill the hole. I hated to cut the kid’s story, and I certainly don’t need to practice my English, but there wasn’t much I could do.
The second correction involved the soccer team story. Evidently, the new team, Gangwon FC, held their draft in December. Because of this, the information in the article was out of date. Again, I can’t really get a re-write from the kids, so I ended up re-writing one paragraph and making a few other changes to the article. It’s not really something I was comfortable doing, but the school wanted things changed ASAP. My co-teacher seemed fine with me doing the writing.
I emailed both students to explain the changes. I know it’s like a small thing, but it’s their work, and changing it doesn’t seem ethical to me. I suppose I should learn from my own lessons. I taught the kids that one of the first steps in writing should be identifying the audience. You have to be sure that what you write is suitable to the given audience. The class decided that the audience for the newspaper was teachers, students and parents, but that’s not really true. The newspaper is a bragging point for the teachers and administration. More than anything, the goal is advertisement for the school and the people who run it. As such, the stories must reflect positively on the school. Unfortunately, this means that accurate information and “appropriate” content are more important than demonstrating the honest (but sometimes flawed) work of the students.
But ignore my cynicism. I’m still fairly proud of the final copy, and it was (generally) a fun project.
Well, I promised I’d post the school newspaper, and here it is. This isn’t quite a final draft. I need to add one more picture, and I’m sure there will be some fussy little details to edit. If you see any glaring mistakes, let me know. (But keep in mind that these were written in just a few hours by Korean middle-school students.)
If you missed my previous post about the school newspaper, you can read it here.
I found a handful of pictures on Erin’s camera that I had forgotten about. These are from an afternoon bike ride we took more than a month ago. They were taken at Gyongpo lake, a small lake near the ocean. There are paths that circle the lake and run through the rice fields nearby. A very pretty place.
The pictures aren’t great, but here they are: