Teaching English in Daegu, South Korea!

Archive for the ‘Hiking’ Category

Off the Beaten Path…Sokcho.

In early June, Lana and I set off to go to places unknown. In the far north eastern part of the penninsula. A little beachy town called Sokcho (속초). We had a 3- day weekend and decided we wanted to spend it away on a trip! The bus ride from Daegu —> Sokcho took nearly 6 hours. Although, it didn’t seem that long I had a lot of sleeping to catch up on. I ventured to a bus station unknown to me called Bukbu which means North. Information was incredibly hard to find about buses at Bukbu bus terminal. I ended finding some old information from an old blogger and just showed up early to make sure that I could make a bus time.

Bus ticket to Sokcho from Daegu!

The bus left at 8:30 and I got in around 3:00 to find that I had no idea where I was going. Luckily, the city bus driver knew I wanted to make my way to Seoraksan. I kept getting further and further into the woods and really started to believe that I was lost but somehow I didn’t care.  It was actually a nice feeling to be a bit lost and have to figure out where I am. Lana and I met up around 5 and went back into town to find some beach and dinner. Our first beach feeling and sightings…

First glimpse of the ocean and our shoes came right off and our feet went straight into the sand and ocean!

Being in the ocean, hell, being near the ocean I could smell good, clean air! Something that if you live in a city…you really miss. My lungs were doing back flips because they were so happy! It was so beautiful : )

We are in the ocean!!!! (© LanaLee)

Day 2

Starting early we headed to Soeraksan. We walked the 2 km to the national park. Soeraksan was so beautiful! Everywhere my camera was pointing it was a great picture! It had nothing to do with me, I have to give the mountain allll the credit. Some highlights from our hike~

Off the beaten path.

It must have been a really popular weekend to go to Seoraksan because the paths were so crowded with people. It was almost like we weren’t on a mountain… Luckily, Lana is a master hiker and took us through her own trail over boulders n such.

Follow me!

Beautiful scenery.

Clouds blanketing the sky.

As we took a break to take in the scenery these giant grey clouds moved above us so fast. The weather was still a nice temperature and an appropriate amount of humidity.



Amazing view.

We reached what everyone was calling “Big Rock.” There was this area with beautiful rock and a stream running through it. Naturally, we wanted to go there. We jumped down, across a small stream and rushed to take pictures as an adjushi was yelling something in Korean at us. Despite his hostility, we got some beautiful pictures. : )

On Seoraksan with our Seoraksan hanks.

Next stop…the beach! Since the beach is only about a 20-25 minute bus ride from the mountain to the beach, we were going to head down to the beach for some relaxation. Funny thing is we got distracted on the way down…

Motorized bike ride along the bay.

Sokcho Beachy.

Sokcho Beach.

Sokcho beach was crowded, but not so crowded you couldn’t find a place to park yourself to lay in sand. It had crazy boat rides, a pier and classic beach arcades. It was really nice just to sit down in the sand, close my eyes and listen to the waves.

The sun setting. NOT on the water, which was a strange concept for me to accept.

It was our last night in Sokcho but we had packed so much into our trip that I felt satisfied. I do however feel like there is so much more to explore and am looking for forward to more trips there in the future. On our way to find the bus we met the best member of this city…


So long Sokcho, I loved you! We shall meet again!!!


Work, work, work.

First work, then play.

Work has been a mad house these past few weeks. I have been so busy with work, Korean class and whatever commitment I made too far in advance. Last week my coteacher and I had our first Open Class where 2 other Native teachers came to watch and my supervisor. It went really well- but with this class it always does! The only hitch was that we were relocated! Usually we have all of our routines and a comfortable feeling our ‘English Zone.’ That day the principal decided (and did not tell us until 5 days before the open class,) that she had scheduled a meeting in the English Zone. She wanted it to be held in the “most beautiful room in the school.” Thanks a lot. So we had to move all of our materials for our routines to the students homeroom. This particular group of students is always behaved but they were EVEN more polite because their homeroom teacher stayed in the room! haha. Anyways, we were doing the lesson about “This is  bedroom.” I ‘introduced’ my house to the students and that is what their task was. Now I thought that this idea was neat, give them some markers or crayons or construction paper and make a house. No. My teacher instead printed off a lot of vocabulary about what belongs in a house and they were to pick the pictures and glue it in the right room. Fine, I can’t argue. At least we are not opening up that god forsaken book.  Once the lesson was over the supervisor pulled me and the two other NT’s aside. She continued to correct my teaching IN FRONT of these other people that I hadn’t even met yet. It was really embarrassing. We then met for a brief meeting ‘what went well,’ ‘what could change.’

THEN, after lunch it was another hiking trip with my school. This time we went to Apsan- front mountain. It is like 15 minutes away from my house! It was unbelievably beautiful. I wanted to take pictures every 3 steps. Tanpoong was in full swing (tanpoong: when the leaves change from green to red, orange, yellow.) I was very tired from all of the street of the open class that it took me a really long time to climb. Yun could not attend this meeting because she had an open class to see. Kyuong Ok and I went together. Open we reached a high peak we could see ALL OF DAEGU! She pointed out Camp Walker and how it takes up a large portion of the city haha. It looked so neat from up above. The countryside is so close to the city. After a quick snack at the tip top we RAN down the mountain. “Dinner will be served in 10 minutes.” We were at the top of the mountain!!! We ran as much as we could without breaking any ankles or falling off of a cliff. At dinner I got to know Kyuong Ok very well and her and I both went to the ‘after party.’ The ‘after party’ consisted of soju, raw shrimp from Jeju island and steamed shrimp. This is where I learned that more people speak English than they let me know. I poured Soju for my Vice Principal and convinced everyone it was TIME to go to a norebang. Of course, if you know me, I love singing and dancing and norebangs are somewhat of a ‘home’ to me. I attempted to sing two SHINee songs…wow…little did I know how much Korean was in those songs. I had made up my own English words haha.

*It was my first experience going to a norebang (singing room) with my co workers. I have to admit…it was slightly awkward. I do not want people to view me as anything but SHANNON and that I love teaching and my job. In the end it was okay, I honestly think that it brought me closer to my Vice Principal. He now says “Hello.” or “Good morning.” : )


View of Daegu from Apsan ^-^


Working in a foreign country comes with all kinds of unexpected speed bumps. I knew that the language barrier would be a huge isolating factor but on same days it feels so bad. It is no one person’s fault either, its just a feeling I have to know how to curb. Sometimes I just want to say a joke to a co-worker without it sounding really strange or make a pun to a student. I laugh a little because I can’t help myself but my oh my people just don’t get me sometimes. It goes both ways as well. Sometimes I just don’t get my coteacher. One period she is nice and is willing to help, the next period she is cutting me off and angry at me. I am afraid to suggest ideas because 100% of the time she says “maybe” which is Korean for “no.” Or she says “Yeah, you mean like …(change the entirety of what you said.) I think it would be better like this.” Of course you do. So that can be crushing. I feel like my Masters of Education goes to waste. Even after all of this frustration with my ideas being changed and my coteacher on my back about WHAT I AM GOING TO WEAR- she let me do a Halloween lesson.


Interactive Jack-0-Lantern carving on the touch screen!



Two Jack-0-Lanterns.



5th graders and their jack-0-lanterns. They were so happy to make them, my god.


From the photos you would have never known that I completely failed at teaching this lesson haha. The original lesson was to brainstorm ‘scary’ words. We had learned 6 from a song called ‘The Halloween Song.’ -Which they loved. I wanted to write a poem

1 word

3 words


:Using scary words and read it all spooky-like with the lights off. Instead….


What is SCARY????

Whats a jack-0-lantern?

*blank stare*

*almost in tears*

ahhh jack-o-lanterns creations were going to be the last thing and the students take them home and whatever but, I wanted there to be some English learning and writing. I was determined to show my coteacher that I could do it and so could they!!! I still believe that I could do it, even after that failure but I think that I need to SIMPLIFY and use some direct teaching and very clear expectations. A failure of a lesson but a lot of lessons learned for me. Even after 3 months of teaching these students I don’t know their levels!!! Repeat after me is NEVER a clear example of who can speak or understand English.

Work is starting to slow down and this week I get to go to an open class at a near by school and next week I get to see my friend Shelley teach at her open class for our CFG. haha (CFG= critical friends group.) DMOE set up a triad for NT’s to critique teaching. Sounds a little too familiar to a ‘Consultancy Group.’ I am suspicious…Barb…Nicole?

❤ Shay

p.s. I finished my pre orientation course!!! On October 31st at 10:00pm.

“Tomorrow you should bring your hiking shoes.”

Yes, “Tomorrow you should bring your hiking shoes.” I was told this as I left school on Tuesday, for Wednesday because as a school (the staff) we were heading to Hwawangsan Mountain- about an hour outside of Daegu in a town called Changnyeong-gun, for bonding time together over hiking.http://www.san.go.kr/english/info/gyeongsang_hawangsan.jsp I love hiking, and haven’t gotten around to it so far living here so I was very excited. This day ended up being not so warm…actually cold, I of course have been so used to sweating my ass off everyday that I didn’t bring my jacket. So in the 30 minutes I had to spare before we would leave I ran home and got my jacket and returned with a few minutes to spare.

We left at about 1:30…. and got back at 8:30…so tired.

Yun and Jong Mi before boarding the bus.

My Co Teacher and I, Yun. She is so cute : )

The map of the trails. This is where there was a park ranger type person who told us where to go. Yep, he sent us on the advanced hikers trail.

Yun looking at how much we had already climbed up. Then she looks the other way and realizes that we are not close!

We needed a break. 5th grade, my co teacher and the practical course teacher.

Awesome. This part of the trek you had to cover your face and walk through grass that was taller than us.

Group photo! Not everyone, but most of the people who made it to the top. Then we ate ice cream hehe.

I made it : )

The hike itself was somewhat laughable. It wasn’t hiking to me, it was mountain climbing! You needed to hold onto to ropes and would walking on cliffs. There were a few points where I felt really uneasy about the trail and like I might fall down the mountain. At another point we were lost : ( We weren’t sure whether to go left or right so they asked me to use my loud voice to call out to the group that was about 20 minutes in front of us. They didn’t hear us though…Once we met up with everyone at the top of the mountain, naturally, there was an ice cream and coffee vendor. The main teacher who puts these events together bought everyone ice cream. We started our descend. My legs were so tired they were shaking and then OF COURSE…I trip and fall. If they all weren’t already worrying about me for some reason or another NOW they were haha. It was highly embarrassing. At the bottom we ate Bee Bim Bop- yummy. It was good even though for lunch we had bee bim bop as well. I’ll eat it anytime. The van ride home felt long. I wanted to sleep but someone wanted to watch baseball VERY loud on the TV. One of my co teacher gave me a coupon to go to a spa. I thought yes, of course! Then I remembered that they are all nude- I want to go to one of those spas but maybe not the first time with my co teachers? I don’t think we are at the right stage in our relationship to be naked around each other haha. It was such an eventful day!!!

That hike really tested me, it came at a perfect time since Jeff and I have made a plan of attack on how to be healthy. We will be exercising every night together or apart in our apartments. We are also limiting the amount of times that we go out and eat greasy or fried food. Also, no street food : ( I somehow found a way around that! I went out for kimbap with my teacher and Jong Mi and we had ddukbokki- spicy dduk.

Ddukbokki, spicy dduk and usually has fish patty in it as well. So delicious!!!

Work is going well, I only struggle with the 6th graders because their curriculum is inappropriate for them and then they misbehave. I can’t blame them- its so terrible and boring. I’m tired of listening and repeating and seeing the end result that they aren’t learning anything. Its hard to put a lot of effort into something that you know isn’t working and is just wasting time…

In other news, my blog got 90 hits the other day! This is very exciting because I thought that I only had a few people who cared what was happening in South Korea, hopefully my experiences can shine some light on what its like to be a public school teacher in South Korea.  I do have to give some credit to Jimmy from Strange Lands though- he linked my blog on his blog!! Thank you!!!

NEXT- really, I will go through our trip to Seoul!!