• Special Days as a TaLK Teacher

    Kerri Nies

    During your time with TaLK, make it a priority to attend all school activities. As a TaLK scholar, I have had so many wonderful experiences with my students. I’ll remember these special days with them forever. These experiences have really helped me bond with my students. I encourage you to give your time and spend it with your students. These are some of the amazing experiences I’ve shared with my school.

    Amusement Parks (Everland and Lotte World)
    My whole school normally visits an amusement park in the springtime. We have gone to Everland twice and Lotte World once. When we first went to Everland, I had only been a TaLK scholar at my school for a couple months. My students and I were still getting to know each other at that point. I helped chaperone the then 2nd graders. I went on rides with them, held their hand when they got scared and helped make sure they stayed safe. Those second graders are now in 5th grade and I am still very close to them. I think a large part of that is due to our day together at Everland.

    Ski Resort
    In the winter, my school goes to a local ski resort. The older students learn to ski, while the younger students go sledding. I usually stick with the younger kids and help them push their sleds down the hill. It’s a great opportunity to teach English to students in a real life situation. Seeing pictures of snow or of a sled are different than experiencing them in real life.

    The Special Olympics
    Being a TaLK scholar in Gangwon, in the winter of 2018 was a very special time. Korea was hosting the Winter Olympics for the first time and it was being held in Gangwon province. My whole school went to the Special Olympics. We saw Korea’s male hockey team play. I loved cheering on the athletes with my students. Some students even made signs to cheer them on. It was a once in a lifetime experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Whenever I hear about the Winter Olympics, I’ll think about my students in their matching blue hoodies watching hockey.

    Sports Day
    Most elementary schools in Korea have a sports day. On sports day the whole school competes against each other playing fun games. Parents and guardians come to watch the festivities each year. At my school, former students who are now in middle school come to watch. It’s always so great to see my former students again. Sometimes I don’t immediately recognize them because they’ve grown up so much. Students are always so happy when they’re competing and cheering on their team. Sometimes students can win really great prizes.

    Every year for Halloween, I try to make the holiday as special as possible for my students. After my students learn about Halloween and how it’s celebrated in other countries, I want them to experience it for themselves. Each class trick-or-treats throughout the school while dressed up in masks. Students have told me they look forward to this day all year. As soon as their bags of candy are full they come back to the English room and we have a small Halloween party. I hope that they will remember trick-or-treating at school when they grow up.

    Flea Market Day
    During my school’s flea market day, students become salesmen and sell their own items to their peers and teachers. The proceeds from the sales go to charity. I always bring cash so I can buy things from them. Everyone is so excited when they make a sale. Some students also do manicures and our PTA makes snacks to raise money. This is an excellent opportunity to practice English phrases with them in a real life situation.

    English Musical
    My school puts on one or two English musicals every year. Our students work very hard all year rehearsing their lines and dance routines. It’s a great way to help them become more comfortable speaking English. During my time at my school, students have done their renditions of The Lion King, Annie, High School Musical, and “Dance Competition” which is one they helped write themselves. This year they are doing Peter Pan and Aladdin. Last year, our 5th and 6th grade students won the provincial wide English Musical competition. They won for their original musical, “Dance Competition.” Watching them compete and ultimately win was one of my proudest moments as a teacher and TaLK scholar.

    Most of these experiences were optional for me as a TaLK scholar. I didn’t have to go with them on their field trips or be at Sports Day all day. It was my decision because I wanted to bond with my students and make lasting memories with them. I encourage all TaLK scholars to attend every school event they can. It’s so worth it and in my opinion bonding with your students helps make you a better teacher.
English Program in Korea(EPIK), Teach and Learn in Korea(TaLK)
National Institute for International Education Ministry of Education, Republic of Korea
191 Jeongjail-ro, Bundang-gu, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, 13557 Korea Tel : +82-2-3668-1400 Fax: +82-2-764-1328