My name is Jared Way. I was born in California, and became an "adoptive" Minnesotan. Now I'm contentedly expatriated in South Korea.
For many years I was a database programmer, with a background in Linguistics and Spanish Literature.
I quit my well-paying job and starting in September, 2007, I spent 2 years teaching EFL to elementary kids in Ilsan (suburban Seoul), South Korea. From April, 2010, until April, 2011, I worked a public school position in rural southwestern Korea (Yeonggwang County). I have since returned to Ilsan and continue to work there.
As of June, 2013, I remain in Ilsan in South Korea, but I was diagnosed with cancer, and have been undergoing treatment. As a consequence, the focus and tone of this blog has changed somewhat.
I started this blog before I even had the idea of coming to Korea (first entry: Caveat: And lo...). So this is not meant to be a blog about Korea, by any stretch of the imagination. But life in Korea, and Korean language and culture, inevitably play a central role in this blog's current incarnation. Let's just say... it's a blog about whatever I happen to be thinking, that currently takes place in Korea.
Basically, this blog is a newsletter for the voices in my head. It keeps everyone on the same page: it has become a sort of aide-mémoire.
If you're curious about me, there is a great deal of me here. I believe in what I call "opaque transparency" - you can learn almost everything about me if you want, but it's not immediately easy to find. I also maintain a work-related blog on the Korean portal Naver: jaredway.com.
A distillation of my personal philosophy (at least on good days):
I have made the realization that happiness is not a mental state. It is not something that is given to you, or that you find, or that you can lose, or that can be taken from you. Happiness is something that you do. And like most things that you do, it is volitional. You can choose to do happiness, or not. You have complete freedom with respect to the matter.
"Ethical joy is the correlate of speculative affirmation." - Gilles Deleuze (writing about Spinoza).
Geofiction - this has evolved into a significant "hobby" for me. I like to draw imaginary maps, and these sites enable this vice.
I have, in fact, been working as a volunteer administrator for OpenGeofiction for about half a year
now. I enjoy it, and I've learned a lot. I created and maintain the site's main wiki page: OGF
The above work has required my becoming an expert in the Openstreetmap system. Openstreetmap is an attempt do for online maps what wikipedia has done for encyclopedias. I have considered becoming an openstreetmap contributor, but I feel that my current location in Korea hinders that, since I don't have a good grasp Korean cartographic naming conventions.
I originally discovered the above site when exploring this site Urban Geofiction.
Another geofiction site Norscand. They recently linked to OGF, too.
TEFL - my "profession," such as it is.
Online English Grammar reference Grammarist. Useful for settling disputes over grammar.
Think about it. We could have built a high speed rail network for the whole country for that price - if you assume $100 million per mile construction cost (very generous), you could get more than 10000 miles of high speed rail.
"Certified skydiving instructors know way more about safely falling from planes than I do, and are way more likely to die that way." - Randall Munroe, author of the comic xkcd. This quote is the "hovertext" accompanying this cartoon.
I do fine when the kids are behaving well, but I have some issues with consistency when they behave badly. I vacillate between two approaches. One is a kind of laissez-faire approach where I try to show kindness and broad tolerance for minor infractions of classroom rules (e.g. speaking out of turn, having "off channel" conversations with friends, getting up and moving about). The other is to be fairly rigid about it, and "exile" students (ask them to leave the classroom and go sit at the front desk for a time out) who misbehave repeatedly.
My dreaded, worst situation, however, are those times when I ask students to leave the classroom, and they simply refuse. They sit like a stone and do nothing. That turns into a showdown, which always leaves me with an awkward situation. Do I forcibly remove the child, so as to be consistently applying my "exile" rule? Or do I back down and try to take a different approach, which makes me inconsistent and where I worry the kids take the lesson that I can be "out-waited"?
It's a horrible situation, that simply seems to have no good solution. And I'm not consistent in how I deal with it, either. So I just feel like a really crappy, inconsistent teacher when these situations arise.
And then after dealing with it, in whatever way I did, I feel guilty that I did the wrong thing, afterward.