Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sing along song

Around mid-December, I was told by Yuna that I would have to prepare for "Winter Camp." The details that she provided were scarce at best, and as was the case in this instance, misleading. Yuna told me that the winter camp was for students that were forced to come in during vacation as a form of punishment. I was told that I would have students for 3, 45 minute classes for a single day, then the next day, I would received new students. I searched for materials and potential information that could aid me in my planning for the unknown. For whatever reason, all I could think of was that shitty Antonio Benderas movie where he teaches those urban city thugs, of all things, ballroom dancing.

Yuna told me the day before the camp started, which was a week after my book had been prepared and created at the print shop, that winter camp was supposed to be fun and that the students voluntarily signed up for the camp. I can now sympathize with the German soldier whose job it was to tell the Jews, as they stepped into tiny train cars, that they were heading to a vacation villa.

The students I have for winter camp are amazing. I have to laugh at my 2nd level student class ( all 14 or 15 years old western aged girls), as all I can hear walking down the hall or into class is "Hi, Hohn" or "Hi, Garren". The students that muster up the courage to actually talk to me bust out in a case of giggles by the second sentence. Aside from that they are excited to see me, are polite, and eager to engage in the activities set forth for them.

Instead of a new group of students every day, I see them for 5 straight days. For those keeping track at home, that's 12 hours and change with them over the week. I'm glad I over prepared my work book. Again, another annoyance not the fault of the students, but instead miscommunication from the brass.

But just because I prepared a workbook, doesn't mean I can't deviate from the beaten path from time to time. I didn't necessarily have a Cartmonian "how do I reach deez keeeeeedz" moment one night, but I did think to myself, "I've got some pretty eager kids here. Maybe I can do something different." Coupled with the fact that I have very small class sizes ranging from 16-20 students (did I just refer to 20 students as a very small class?), I was pretty excited to test the boundaries.

I've learned through regular session in the public school, that children really enjoy singing western songs. My Korean co-teachers always praise me when I bring in the guitar. So when I ask them if they ever implore such a strategy, I was surprised to hear them say that they want to but can't sing or play an accompanying instrument. Does Garrett actually have an advantage here? I'll let you decide.

First, we started out slow to shake off the rust. The Beatles are very popular over here. So much so that it's common to hear Beatles songs as cell phone ring tones.

Next we rocked out a traditional American staple. Please forgive my mistakes. At extremely slow speed the chord changes can be very tricky.

Here is my crown jewel. I've heard this song on the radio or in a store some where while I've been here and thought it might be fun. When I looked it up on YouTube, the first video was from a South Korean performance for public broadcast. Omen? My original intention was to teach them only the chorus. I felt like it was slow and repetitive enough that they could easily master it. I changed some of the lyrics around to help as well. Take particular notice of the line "it's our god-forsaken right" as they had a hell of a time, pun intended, with it. It's pretty cute. Well, always being one to set the bar low, my meager expectations were surpassed ten-fold.

All in all, it was an excellent little Wednesday I won't soon forget. Doesn't this just warm your heart?


Colette Reid said...

G, all sounds really good. Nice work. I am glad you are having some highlighting moments in teaching. That is great to hear. Have fun and keep it up.

Melissa said...

Jeepers, it's like they already know the song?! It didn't look like you had karaoke style lyrics on the TV but yet they still knew when to pause and start.

So these girls know a decent amount of English already right? But is that Mraz song playing over there in Korean?

Cousin Sarah said...

That is so awesome! You have fans over here too! All three kiddos crowded around the computer to watch you! Great job!

Mary said...

Gar, it did warm my heart! How great it is to have a class of students like this....far cry from Maui. I am thrilled you are able to get this kind of teaching can be so wonderful most of the time, really.
Nice selection of songs, very eclectic (sp?)
Aren't you so glad you went to South Korea? Mar

Kirk said...

Love it. Kids tossing up gang signs (last seconds of vid 2), and Mraz. Nice day's

Oh, and aobut negative hours... that one is easy. That's when you get someone to work for you!

Damn those kids can sing that song pretty good!

Garrett Hohn said...

Mallard -

They didn't know the song. I taught them it. There was lyrics on the TV but they weren't karoeke style.

The day after we played one of the students said she recognized it playing as background music in a Korean drama she was watching.

Mraz, as a matter of fact, is playing in Seoul on Feb. 21st.

Kirk -

Gang sign? I think you've been living in Southern California for far too long. That "sign" she was flashing was a heart, buddy! Time for some R&R up in MT at my parents joint bro (yeah, they invited you ... again!)

Alexa said...

aw-this is sweet!
my heart is warmed!
i'm rounding up troops for the concert. the website to buy tickets is all korean with no english option button that i can see-so i don't know wtf

Kirk said...

Thank you and the Hohn family for the invite. I'll take you up on that offer soon enough. I could definately use the break.

More to come,

Melissa said...

Nick and I listened to the original version to it's entirety for comparison's sake... we both concluded Unky Garvo's Sing Along is best!