Even while on tour, I’m still getting the opportunity to gain teaching experience! Before our concert at the Korea International School, the Glee Club members led workshops for the students of KIS and the neighboring schools, which spanned from Pre-K to high school. I was looking forward to leading the Creative Writing workshop in the afternoon.
First, however, we had to eat breakfast! We got in line at the cafeteria on the first floor of the dormitory, and quickly moved through an efficient assembly line of bread, bacon, jam, soup, cereal, salad, and juice. The most interesting thing about breakfast was the jam packet, which had two plastic cups filled with jam, and a slight peak in the middle of the seal covering the top. When I picked up the jam packet by the edges and squeezed them together, the peak split in two, and a thin stream of jam came out. It reminded me a bit of the icing packets that come with toaster strudel, except the packaging is more rigid, and didn’t have the annoying tear-off tabs.We all went to the school in the morning to look at the classrooms we were working in, then the morning workshops commenced and I went back to the dormitory to do laundry. The laundry machines were all in Korean, so I chose the only setting with English, the “Speed Wash” setting, put the detergent in what I hoped was the right opening, and set it running. While the laundry machine ran, I worked on the blog and checked some email, and when it was done I pulled out the drying rack and hung all my clothes up in the room.
For lunch, we all went back to the school from the dormitory, and had the choice to eat off of the Western Menu or the Korean Menu. I figured I should eat off the Korean menu, because I was in Korea. My lunch, though tasty, was incredibly spicy, enough to get my nose running. I was a bit envious of my friends who had chosen the Western menu and got to eat what looked like high quality Panda Express. However, I still enjoyed my meal.
Next was the Creative Writing workshop. I and two other Glee Club singers led a few creative writing exercises, and discussed the basic ideas of narrative arc. We had students ranging from 4th grade to 10th grade, so I’m sure we left some people behind and moved too slowly for other people. I definitely got a bit too advanced when I led the section on reading and evaluating a short story. However, I think most of the students got something useful out of the class, and we were also able to answer a few questions for them about life at college and advice for high school and middle school.
We went through a quick sound check in the auditorium, and then ate a pizza and fried chicken dinner in the cafeteria before the show. It was a bit funny to get the feeling that the American food in Korea isn’t as good as the stuff back home, because that’s sort of the stereotype for international students visiting other countries.
We had a great audience, lots of younger kids and their parents. The founder of the school was also present, so we had added incentive to perform well. Because of the age of the audience, we cut down our regular set list a bit. One of the high points of the concert was when the president of the Harvard Glee Club introduced “Glorious Apollo.” The introduction of his title elicited a big “Ooooh” from the audience, and a spot from the booth. The concert went reasonably well, and we got a polite amount of applause as we wrapped up our last song and marched off-stage. About five minutes later, as we started to walk into the lobby to greet people, some one from the audience told us that we should go back on stage, because they were still clapping! Frantically, we got Lite to go on stage and perform “New York, New York” as an encore. Finally, the concert was over and we greeting the students we had worked with during the day and thanked the school for allowing us to sing.
The night was still young, so after the concert I went to Gangnam to see the shops. It was quite similar to what I imagine Times Square is like at 10:30 PM. Lots of big name shops on the main road, and a bunch of cool bars and other restaurants on the side. I just walked around with a friend, and we checked out the subway station, which was basically an underground mall. There, we found a Krispy Kreme doughnut stand, and ecstatic to find in Korea what is lacking in Massachusetts, we each ordered a glazed doughnut.
We caught the last bus back to the dormitories before they locked down for the night, having enjoyed a long day of work and play.