The Best Field Trip Ever

26 09 2008

At my school the curriculum maintains that I must teach out of something termed the “Theme Book” everyday. This book is, to the best of my knowledge, supposed to be a fun learning experience, while adding all sorts of random English practice to my student’s everyday lives. The vast majority of this book is far too random and misguided, doesn’t fit with any lesson plan ever, lacks instructions on how to carry out the “activities” on the page, and last but definitely not least, is more often than not riddled with horrendous English. All the negatives aside, occasionally Theme Book lends me the opportunity to actually do something worthwhile.

Around about last week Theme Book randomly decided that the children should learn a smidgen of safety rules. They learned the numbers for emergency, practiced making emergency calls and a number of other safety rules relevant to 5 year olds. (Although I might argue that stricter enforcement of the “NO RUNNING INSIDE” rule would solve all of MY safety issues….)

Anyway, my co teacher decided that learning safety was just the thing for them, and asked me if she thought we should go to the fire station. Should we ever!! (I love field trips.)

After one rain out and some last minute projectile vomiting (thanks for that, Brandan), somehow we made it to the fire station. Let me tell you, this was the best. fieldtrip. ever. I’ve been to Safety Days where you put on the hard hat (and the jacket if you’re lucky) and climb up the stairs of the fire truck, but this field trip kicked Safety Day’s ass.

First off, they had miniature versions of their fire coats for every kid. Neon yellow, no less, with red hard hats. The next part of the experience was a video and chat session in Korean, so I had no clue what was coming next. As we’re about to move on to the next safety related activity, the Korean co-teachers start speaking English, urging the children to “be brave, no crying!”.  Needless to say I was a little hesitant about what was about to happen.

Turns out, this particular fire station knows how to throw a Safety Day. They had part of a fire truck hollowed out and set up as a house inside, with a fog machine blaring to similate a fire experience. The kids had to navigate through the dark and smoke and do as they were taught. Of course the smoke wasn’t actually going to hurt them, but can anyone say liability? I love Korea. After the “near death” experience in the smoke house, the children were treated to a death defying belay from 20 feet in the air. No shit. My best guess (again, everything was in Korean) is that they have pulley systems in the apartments here and the children had better learn to use them in case of a high rise fire emergency. So we proceeded to scare the living hell out of our students. Surprisingly some of them actually loved it, and the ones that were too timid didn’t have to go. But seriously, how sweet is that? It almost makes me want to be in an apartment fire. Or y’know, just go to the fire station every time I need a little thrill.

Today, I really wanted to be a Korean schoolchild.

Bonus: Even after walking past the Bulgarian restaurant I couldn’t figure out what it was called. BUT! It is next to La Vigna, can’t miss it. K-something, I think. Anyway, go up the stairs and eat there, it’s good. Also, internet should be up Monday. Fingers crossed.




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