Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Few Things I've Learned in my Curriculum Design Course

To get my MA Ed. TESOL degree I have to take courses in Adult Education. It's one of the reasons I selected this university because I wanted to be ready for adult instruction.

This quarter I have been taking a Curriculum design course that has been pretty intense. It's one of those classes that have weekly readings, follow up questions online and a project due every week. For a while there I did feel overwhelmed but now that I've gotten through it I feel I've come a long way.

The above is my "Course Visual" for the curriculum I designed. I chose to design a course based upon an intensive English program at a local community college. The visual is to express the goals they will meet while learning the course.

Some things I have learned this quarter is that teaching and designing to teach can by synchronous. I found that while making my curriculum I thought a lot about what was going to actually happen in the classroom. A lot of the activities I ended up designing have a lot to do with student-centered and active learning principles.

One thing I also learned is that how far I've come from my first years teaching in Korea. Looking back I don't think I really started to "teach" until my 3rd year. I also can't believe that I was able to get by teaching at that immersion school without a real curriculum. Sure I made lesson plans and materials for that class (for 2 years) but I didn't really design a full curriculum. Knowing what I know now and how to make a curriculum I think it would have been fun to do that, back in Korea.

Otherwise I can take these skills and knowledge and apply them to future teaching here in America. I also hope that as I advance my career I get to design curriculum and maybe even get paid extra or develop something other teacher's will use.

I supposed I'm doing a lot of dreaming these days about my future, but I'm already nearly half way through my program and starting to feel like I'm ready to hit the big leagues. In the meantime, I'm glad my program offered this course and next quarter I'm going to take Instructional Design methods which I hear is about designing the lesson plan end of things. Not looking forward to another intense class, but definitely going to enjoy the outcomes of it all.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park

I think the benefit of living in San Francisco is that the Pacific Ocean is right there. Looking back I think I could of visited it more often, when I was a resident. Of course, not all days are as sunny in San Fran, but when Ian and I went to Ocean Beach we were lucky.

The distinctive part about visiting Ocean Beach is that you get off the Muni light rail and then climb over a sand dune. In fact parts of the west side of San Fran were built over large and old sand dunes.

We walked and enjoyed watching the surfers catch waves. It wasn't too cold or windy so was quite pleasant.

After Ocean Beach we had some pizza in the Sunset and then went on over to Golden Gate park. There Ian got excited to rent one of those two - people bikes and we found ourselves putting in more than we bargained for.

But we enjoyed some local ice-cream from a food truck and went on our way.

The weather here has cleared up a bit and looks like sunshine is in the forecast for the next stretch of days. Even though it's in the low 40's the warm sunshine really does feel good. Tom seems to enjoy it too and follows it around my room. I seem to be winding down from one of the toughest quarters I've had. But I think I really got into it and am starting to see more connections between linguistic theories and teaching. I've got some items I wan to share from this quarter and so hope to get around to that.

Tom is meowing at me...better see what he wants.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Back to Berkeley

Warning: lots of sunshine ahead. Seattle has definitely settled into its grey and rainy self these past few weeks. That is why I am starting to treasure my mini trip to San Francisco even more since the sun was out blaring.

For the first time in many years I ventured over to Berkeley and found things had changed, but mostly stayed the same. As an undergrad I lived in Berkeley for a few years while commuting to San Francisco State University. I was at the time living with and dating a guy going to UC Berkeley. So in a nutshell Berkeley does have a lot of memories for me.

In fact, I used to be very fearful of urban cities and one time my mom took me through Berkeley (way long ago) and I was feeling so anxious I tried to hide in her car. I can't believe since then I lived not only in Berkeley but also Seoul, a city of millions.

Going back to Berkeley made me realise all these things and that it felt amazing that so much had gone by...most of it in Korea. I also couldn't grasp the fact I was there with my American boyfriend and as a traveler. It just never occurred to me long ago that I would be visiting it under such circumstances or after so much had happened.

Those red shoes have been around the world and back a few times. I hope someday to replace them with the same brand and style but in purple. I guess that's just one of my goals right now.

Ian seemed to enjoy Berkeley as it reminded him of parts of Seattle. I showed him around the campus and then we went to Telegraph avenue where he stepped on some street kids artwork (they were wire flowers on the ground).

But the best part of my Berkeley trip was meeting up with my brother after so many years.

I can't tell you how wonderful it felt to see my brother, mostly because I knew I didn't have to hop on a plane to Korea anymore. I could enjoy the visit without the jet lag or the feeling of sadness of living far far away.

While still on the Berkeley campus Ian enjoyed following the squirrels around and we found a sculpture to pose on.

That evening my brother and his girlfriend drove us back into The City and over the new Bay Bridge.

There is still a little bit more to post from my last day in San Fran so I'll leave that for the next post. Just a quick little update here. Schoolwork is finally starting to slow down and I find myself with little in my pocket to spend, but lots more time to enjoy life. Ian comes back next weekend and then it will be my first Thanksgiving back in America!

My, my ... how time flies!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mini San Francisco Trip (part 1)

This past weekend I visited Ian in San Francisco and found myself amongst a lot of sunshine and memories. You might not know this, but I lived in San Francisco before moving to Korea and so it was good to be back. It's funny how so much can happen between visiting places.

This first post is to just capture the initial moments I had back in the city. After resting a bit in the hostel (which was very nice) I made sure Ian got out and saw the Golden Gate Bridge. How can you spend time in San Fran and not see this icon?

Traveling with Ian is fun as he notices all the odd things there are to see and I can point out what neat things I see as well. We enjoyed that evening going to karaoke (which I never fully did before) and having shabu-shabu for dinner.

I'll put up more pictures and tales of my good times down on the Golden Coast. Till then...

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Wow! It's already November. Where did October go? I'll tell you where it went, with my face stuffed in a book. After taking Ian to the airport I suddenly found myself with a lot of school work. Ian is in San Francisco doing some work for his new job, he'll return before Thanksgiving.

I'm in a Curriculum design course and it's a doozy. But hopefully after all my hard work and sacrifice I'll know how to design a course, if ever given the chance. Otherwise, I do plan on some relaxation time as I'm schedule to visit Ian next weekend in San Fran. Haven't been to the city since I took my Korean ex there for Christmas. But my brother is also in the Bay Area and so I hope to see him, as well.

Well I think I have a grip on my classwork now and can find moments to sit back and relax. The leaves are falling off the trees quickly and the temperature is dropping. But I don't think it will get as cold as Korea, so woohoo!

Halloween came and went, even though it was my first in America for a while. I hope by the next Halloween I can engage in the fun a bit more.

But I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving!! Finally I don't have to pay huge bucks to have a Thanksgiving dinner. Also, even though it's kitschy I enjoy seeing the stores put up holiday displays. What can I say?

Sometimes I dream I'm still in Korea or I've gone back there and I think to myself, "What am I doing back here? Where's Tom?" And I'm enjoying being somewhere there but then I remember all the stuff I don't enjoy and I get anxious that I'm having to deal with all that again. Then parts of my American life seep in I get really confused. I wake up and think, "Where am I?" Dreams...