2011 is here, and Teach Away would like to wish you a belated Happy New Year! We hope you’re taking advantage of the new year to take on some new and exciting challenges.
This year, we dare you to try something new–read our 5 challenges below, and see just how daring you can be! You might be interested to read about one teacher who took a chance and had his film screened at a Korean Film Festival. If you’re still working on the new and impoved you for 2011, you’ll be happy to learn about a part of the world that celebrates their New Year a little bit late. (So get that list of resolutions back out!)
Happy Year of the Rabbit!
-The Teach Away Team
In this issue:
When you are living overseas, anything and everything can be an adventure. From navigating the local grocery store to adding some local fashion to your wardrobe to camping in the middle of the desert, each and every day, the opportunity to try something completely and utterly new comes up (sometimes when you least expect it).
If you are going to be overseas this 2011, we dare you to try something to write home about! Depending on where you happen to be in the world, you may want to consider one (or all!) of the 5 challenges below!
1. Take a dip in a Korean hot spring in the middle of winter – in your birthday suit.
2. Hop on an elephant, and ride through the jungle in northern Thailand.
3. Pack yourself a whole lot of water, and set up camp in the middle of the Abu Dhabi desert.
4. Let out your inner artist, and take a stab at Chinese calligraphy.
5. Plug your nose, and take a bite of some Japanese natto (fermented soy beans) – it’s great for your health!
Tell us about something YOU never thought you would have done, but are glad you did. We may feature the topic in a future issue of the Telegram.
With every New Year comes talk of new opportunities, new experiences, and – if you really want it – the chance for a whole new you. Making the decision to teach overseas is a life-changing opportunity, filled with new experiences that will inevitably shape (or re-shape) the person that you will become.
For Steven Sirski, the year he spent teaching English in Korea through Teach Away was not only about immersing himself in a new culture, but also a year during which he moved closer to realizing one of his life goals. Back in Canada, Steven had been interested in film-making for years, and had already produced two independent films prior to what some may view as his big break. Although teaching English as a second language in Asia may not seem an obvious step in the path towards getting involved in film production, Steven cleverly combined his teaching day job with one of his main interests (film-making) and ended up producing a film that was screened at a Korean film festival! (Steven gives credit to his co-writer/director, Murat Copcu, who made the wise decision to submit their film to the MADE IN BUSAN film festival.)
Steven’s teaching job in Korea, not only helped him come up with a unique story idea, but became an invaluable part in the production of the film. His students agreed to act in his film, and even took part in drawing up ideas for the storyboard (you can see these during the film’s credits). Steven views his experience in Korea as an important part of his development as a film-maker.
Steven’s Short: Coffee and Milk
NOTE: As part of our ‘This is Silly’ series, the following short comedy, ‘Coffee and Milk’, is an expression of one teacher’s creativity in the classroom, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Teach Away, Inc.
Coffee and Milk finds teacher and student a little out of sorts after the two collide in the hallway – and not due to a concussion. This short film comically parallels the frustration which accompanies a teacher’s shift without his morning coffee to that of a student’s first class without his morning milk.
Watch Steven’s cool and quirky film, Coffee and Milk.
If 2011 snuck up on you this year, and you missed out on all that resolution-making, not to worry! According to the Chinese, the New Year doesn’t begin until February 3rd this year – so you’ve still got time to make (and hopefully not break) your New Year’s resolutions!
Unlike countries who follow the Julian calendar and celebrate the New Year on January 14th, the Chinese New Year is based on an interesting mix of the Gregorian calendar and a lunar-solar calendar (the latter, which marks many holidays in the Middle East). The Chinese New Year is not unique to mainland China, as it is also celebrated in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, among other southeast Asian countries.
Traditions surrounding the Chinese New Year include cleaning one’s home in order to make room for good fortune; eating foods which represent wealth, fertility, and long life; and presenting children red envelopes of gold (well, money). The first two weeks of the New Year are celebrated with a festival, and the Lantern Festival marks the official end of the celebration on the 15th day (which coincides with the first full moon.) Tradition dictates that thousands of colourful lanterns should share the night sky with the brightly lit moon.
Happy Year of the Rabbit!
Teach Away would like to announce the two lucky winners of November’s Silly Story Contest. Due to their creativity (a la This is Silly), Shelley Suzuki and Steven Sirski will be receiving a batch of Taxali toys (one of which is pictured on the right). You might recall Shelley’s creative Teacher Story, The Art of English, in the November Telegram. And Steven deserves our congratulations for having his creativity screened at a film festival overseas.
Congratulations, Shelley and Steven!