I'm sitting on the floor in the middle of a classroom in the middle of a school in the middle of Korea. Seoul, Korea to be exact. I'm at my first MUN (Model United Nations) conference. Do you know how hard it's been to teach a class that's completely experiential when you have no experience? Do you know how hard it is to teach a class to students who know much more about the subject matter than you do? It's difficult, my friends. Very difficult. So, it's nice to see all my planning and preparation come together at last, to finally 'get a clue'. Maybe I'll actually know what I'm talking about in class now.
The best part about this trip is watching the students. When you teach kids, you only know them in the frame of reference you teach them in. So, if I have a student in my History class, I only know them based on their performance in my class. If I have them in MUN class, I only know them based on their participation in class. That's what I love about coaching and having students over to my house and going on trips with them; it gives me another frame of reference. I find out that the quiet student is actually pretty outgoing but not in History class because they're not with their friends or they're not confident about the subject matter. Or maybe a student who's struggling in my class is a genius in Math or Science or maybe they're an excellent soccer player or actor. That's what this conference is about...peeling back another layer to my students' personalities. I'm watching them speak out, give opinions, take leadership, engage in super intelligent discussions, work with others at a level that is very unusual even with your best students. And it's all for the sake of creating a better world. That's what MUN is about- making our world a better place. My students spend hours every week thinking about other people, working on ways to solve their problems and collaborating with others to make it happen. It's incredible, really.
Some other not-as-awesome things to mention...
- I got to eat at Buger King last night
- I had a REAL Diet Coke today, totally different than Chinese Diet Coke
- The air is so fresh and unpolluted here
- The toilet in my hotel room has a beday, I have no idea how to spell it, but you know, that thing that squirts up water in the toilet
- Most people speak English which is semi-refreshing and a little disconcerting all at the same time. Why disconcerting, you ask? The thing is, when one gets used to not being understood, one might say things inappropriate for public conversation, things that should be said under one's breath or in a whisper to one's friend. It's a bad habit one might get into and have a hard time readjusting when around many people who understand one's language.
- I'm hoping to meet up wht a friend from college this week. She works here in Seoul.
- We are having our conference at this ginormous building. It's a conferernce building that has it's own underground mall. And when I say "mall", I really mean underground-magicplace-so-big-and-fantastic-that-it's-just-an-expectation-that-you'll-get-lost-but-who-really-cares-because-you're-surrounded-by-so-many-awesome-food-joints-that-you-could-eat-there-forever-and-still-not-get-to-every-knook-and-cranny mall. What an ingenius idea to combine a meeting place with food and shopping. I mean, who goes to meetings? Now there's a place that gives conference-goers something to do during the conference.
I'm off to my next meeting, and yes, I'm actually going to the meetings. It's all about the kids this week.
I was sitting on the floor writing this post. Apparently, I chose the only spot that was covered in some sort of tile glue. White glue. Glue that decided to stick to my pants. My black pants. Awesome.