As promised, here's the Top 5 Things I do NOT miss about the US.
1. I-95 - Almost every day for the past 7 years I would have to drive this nightmare of a road. Sometimes just to Viera and back (35 miles or so) and sometimes to Palm Bay and back (50+ miles) when I was a Tech Integrator working in the south area. It was NO FUN...constant construction, tourists, idiots texting and driving...SUCKED!. Here is Daegu, I have a 2 minute commute...walk out our dorm room and into the classroom building. If I forget something...who cares? It's a TWO MINUTE WALK...sweet!
2. Political Advertisements - I am pretty caught up in politics...especially in this election year. I read political blogs, and keep up with the election news every day. But it is so incredibly wonderful to not have to see the constant barrage of political ads on TV. They are hypocritical, self serving, truth avoiding pieces of crap that add nothing to the issues debate that should be front and center in this election. And with the SCOTUS decision on Citizen's United, the spending on these by outside groups is sickening. But here there's no hint of any of that...and it is AWESOME!
3. PGP's, CCSS, IPPAS, ELL, etc. - We are really fortunate to be working in a private school with a Headmaster and Principal who's educational philosophy can be summed up this way; "We hire great teachers and let them teach". There is ZERO (0) micromanaging in our classrooms. We do not have to write the lesson objective on the board every day, no word walls, no lesson plan templates...we can focus on our subjects and really teach. It is so refreshing. There is a curriculum that we follow, and in AP courses we have to follow the College Board guidelines but that's about it. It's a wonderful thing.
4. Student Attitude - The students here are far from perfect. They act very immature sometimes and their work in not always great quality...in fact sometimes what they turn in looks disturbingly like what a lot of my students at Cocoa High used to do. Pretty horrible. But the one big difference between the students in Korea and the students back in the US is the attitude. If you ask students to do something...or to stop doing something, they will do it. No questions asked, no "Why are you picking on me?"...none of that stuff. And they know how to do fractions...
5. Cubicle Madness - I was the Secondary Math Resource Teacher for Brevard County last year. It was not a great experience for me. I really liked and respected all the people I worked with at ESF but the job itself was not really a good fit. I never really felt like I did anything that made a difference for the students and teachers in Brevard. The job was more about meetings, curriculum questions (what if a student took Liberal Arts Math, Informal Geometry, Applied Math 2 and Analysis of Functions...does he/she have the correct math credits for Bright Futures...WTF?), State mandates (if a student gets a 17 on the ACT what College Readiness course does he/she take?). It was not much fun. Teaching math here is Daegu is a LOT of work, but unbelievably rewarding. This feels like a good fit!