The QiRanger Adventures

Archive for the ‘Dongtan’ Category

Editing…

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Over the past week, I have spent a lot of time editing films and scripts. In fact, the more time I spend working on film-based projects, the more energized I feel about them. With two in-the-can, I only have two more projects to finish. It’s a good thing I have just under two weeks until deadline on the more important of the two.

However, with all the emphasis being placed on travel-show videos, it doesn’t mean that I don’t get out and have a little fun. Today, I had a few free minutes and elected to stop by my favorite furniture store in Dongtan. Not because I wanted to go shopping, but because I wanted to play with puppies.

Jo and I have been blessed with this store and the nicest dog I’ve met in a long time. Every time I pass by the store, I spend a few minutes giving her love, and now she recognizes me. When she sees me coming down the street, her tail starts wagging and then gives me tons of kisses when I get there.

I had been concerned, since over the past few weeks she hasn’t been around. I soon realized that she finally gave birth. Now, she has four lovely babies with her as well. I’ve gone back twice now and will probably continue to play with these little guys until they’re sold or given away. Part of me wants to take them home, because, as you’ll see in the video, they are filled with cuteness!

Have a great weekend!

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Written by Steve Miller

October 1, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Fun, Crazy, Time

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Written by Steve Miller

September 16, 2010 at 4:48 pm

The Pick-up

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Today was the awards ceremony for the most recent Korea Brand UCC Contest. Unfortunately, due to my work schedule, I was unable to fully participate; however, I did manage to make it out to Seoul for a while today and meet with the fine folks at the Presidential Council on Nation Branding.

At first I declined to attend the ceremony, not because I didn’t want to meet everyone, but because it takes about 90 minutes to get from their offices back to Dongtan. Since the ceremony was going to be at least an hour, it meant there was no way for me to be at their office and miss work. My solution was to go early (with their permission), and they agreed.

As this was my second award, both parties were eager to put faces with names. When I received my award certificate, it was also shared with all those in attendance that I was a repeat award winner.

It was great to finally be at their offices and mingle with other award winners. There’s an incredible amount of talent in Korea, and the contest brought out the best in everyone. They announced two more contests for the remainder of 2010, and I might enter them as well. For now, I we’ll see how my free times stacks up.

As mentioned on YouTube, I thought I’d answer some of the most common questions regarding my travel videos. I’m going to do that now, since I’ll be delivering my computer to UBASE on Friday for a hard disk upgrade, and I’m not sure when I’ll get it back. Couple that with SeoulTube 2010 and Chuseok (추석) next week and I think you’ll see that I’ll be away from the Internet for some time.

So here are those commonly asked questions:

How long does it take to make a travel video? On average, the 4-minute videos I produce on YouTube with a travel theme take a full day of editing. Meaning that it may take 8 or so hours to produce the 4-minute program.

How do I choose where to go? This is really more of a team effort on Jo and my part. We both love to travel and see as much as we can during the time allotted. This means researching our destinations and scouring over maps to see what may be interesting and off the beaten path. Once we have an idea of where we want to go, we set about researching the Internet and consulting tourism organizations and books for details.

Are my videos scripted? Not really. Based on my research, I know what bullet points I want to cover, but rarely do I actually write out each line.

As always, thanks for reading and commenting. If you’re in Korea, I hope you have a great Chuseok and I’ll see you soon!

Teaching in Korea: Schools

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One of the questions I get regarding teaching in Korea is about what kind of school programs there are and how to get a good job. This is a multifaceted question, and I’ll try to break it down as easily and simply as possible.

There are two major teaching opportunities in Korea: Public Schools and private academies. While there are other teaching jobs available, the vast majority of individuals coming to Korea to teach English usually find themselves in one of these types of programs. Each has its own pros and cons, which I’ll cover below.

Public schools operate throughout the country and are generally regarded as a safer teaching option. This means there tends to be less issues with payment and contract issues. Most contracts are also during daytime hours and hover around 20 teaching hours per week. In addition, public schools tend to offer more vacation time and an up-front settlement allowance. However, there are some downsides. First, payment tends to be a bit lower than private academies. Second, since schools have long semester breaks, you may be asked to “desk warm” at the school (show up to work and sit for a full day with no work or classes to teach when students are on vacation).

Private academies offer a variety of work schedules ranging from mornings, days, afternoons, evenings, and split shifts. For the most part, you can find a school that teaches class when you want to work, so that you can maximize your free time. For example, I like having my days free, so I work evenings. Second, pay tends to be slightly higher than at public schools. Classroom hours vary, but can be up to 30 teaching hours per week. There can also be several problems at private academies. Some organizations are not above-board and try to cheat their employees by not abiding to the terms of the employment contract (longer hours, no overtime, late salary payment, etc.). This can be seen on several discussion boards. Furthermore, vacation time usually holds fast at two weeks per year. There are fewer problems when working for a large franchise, as they are very brand conscious.

When selecting the kind of job to apply for, really think about what age group you want to work with and what hours you’re willing to put into the classroom. Once you’ve done that, then you can start looking for a job. Probably the best way to get a good job (either at a public school or private academy) is to find someone online that likes where they are teaching and ask them how they got the job. The will usually point you to a recruiter and you can navigate from there. In some cases, you just might be in luck and the school will have an opening just for you.

Written by Steve Miller

September 14, 2010 at 4:45 am

When you get it right…

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How mornings start...

I love teaching… I really do. As we start off the new term, I had a great moment last night. Long-time readers will remember that during the Summer Intensive session, I taught a custom speaking class. It was designed to assist elementary students gain confidence in their public speaking abilities. Two of those students were in my class last night as we began the first lesson in their new level.

Since the material is rather light for Lesson 1, I incorporated a brief lesson on public speaking. I did this for two reasons: 1) Students at this level are asked to prepare longer presentations in class (and I expect more out of them); 2) Twice a year we hold speaking competitions for children at this level and above.

The two students that were in my class were very happy to see that Topic #1 from summer class was the same as the topic I assigned for homework. They not only took time to convince the rest of the class that giving a 2-minute speech was easy, but also asked if they could use the speech they prepared from summer.

I was already proud of them for doing such a great job this summer… but this made me even more so.

Tonight, I teach my first science class. I hope these students are as open to giving presentations as these younger ones. I love science and can’t wait to immerse myself once more into its world.

Written by Steve Miller

September 7, 2010 at 7:03 am

They are delicious?

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I had some left over footage from out trip, or non-trip to Jeju. I filmed the toilet bit just before we started back to Seoul and really wanted to use the footage in the video, but couldn’t make it work. So my solution was to couple it with something else.

I also wanted to try my hand at some other transitions, and thought this would be the perfect time to do so! The result was something fun and a little different.

Written by Steve Miller

August 31, 2010 at 12:40 pm

One down…

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It’s hard to believe, but another term at school is coming to a close. Three months of education have passed and my students are all taking their mid-terms and finals this week. It’s really been interesting to see the changes that occurred in all my classes this term.

One of the more frustrated things I deal with falls within the realm of reading and comprehension. This mainly is due to the young nature of my students who don’t equate looking at a page and while the CD is playing as actually reading and listening to the material. The former results in students completing homework, but being unable to actually read the stories or answer questions about something they’ve supposedly read five times in the course of a week.

For the past three months, I did something a little different. Each class started off with an open-book quiz. I’d pick five questions related to the homework reading and give students five minutes to complete the quiz. Students that successfully answered all the questions correctly would earn an additional 20 points for their team.

By the end of the term, students in the higher level classes were consistently earning 100% on these quizzes. In cases where students scored less, it was because they didn’t do the homework at all. I’m quite pleased with the efficacy of my students and am looking forward to those that are advancing to the next level starting September 1st.

With the new term also brings some added responsibility on my part. For the past 15 months, I’ve been teaching reading comprehension and speaking (both of which I really enjoy), but I’ll be getting two, new middle school classes: World History and Science. It will mark the first time I’ve taught a subject based course in Korea, but I’m really looking forward to this new challenge.

Having a science background, I’m eagerly looking forward to discussing science and its application to the natural world. I fondly recall my time back in the 1990s when I had my own lab and taught Human A&P and Invertebrate Zoology. They were so much fun. Now I get to tackle a wider range of science topics, ranging from ecology to physics.

Then there’s the world history class. Oh, how I love history and bringing in relationships to present day situations to see how they’ve unfolded over the years. Furthermore, I love digging deeper into details to uncover the hidden stories to make events clearer. History is such a great format for story telling, I can’t wait to have a class where I can read, discuss, and present the wonder that is our world.

So as I leave you on this fine day, what was your favorite class in school and why?

Written by Steve Miller

August 26, 2010 at 8:06 am