Friday, October 29, 2010

Miso: Original Korean Musical

Long week. Staying in. Eating some kimchi and drinking a beer. Stumbling. Listening to Ray LaMantagne and thinking about people from home. Was definitely in need of a relaxing, me-night. Tomorrow, I am traveling to Jebibong Mountain in Chungcheongbukdo (South Korea's central province) with a MeetUp group for some hiking. Everything I've read has said the area is absolutely amazing during the fall season.

Yesterday, my co-teacher and I had quite the day. After classes, we visited a nearby school for an "open class," or lesson that is open to the public/other teachers. The co-teaching team was inspirational. Their students were having fun, learning English, and performing way above average. This was particularly impressive, as the school is located in a lower income area and performing much higher than my wealthier students. As with in the U.S., schools located in lower income neighborhoods of South Korea receive extra funding. The difference, though, is that low-income schools in the U.S. are still performing much lower than their wealthier counterparts.

Every time I try to pinpoint the issue in our school system (not to say they don't exist in the South Korean school system), I wind up with a giant headache because of how complex both the system and its issues are. One thing that I will not argue against, though, is the need for teachers to be held accountable for being good teachers. And no, I don't mean by students' test scores. That is the lazy method and has, not surprisingly, proven ineffective. Why not have open classrooms in the U.S., where teachers are critiqued based on their actual teaching and have the critique be in the form of valuable feedback by others actually in their profession (not the puppet-holders)? Sigh...

Anyway, after the open class, we visited Insa-dong Cultural District in Seoul, which was amazing. Basically it was hand-made, local jewelry heaven. Not only did we buy pretty jewelry, but we made it too! But not before eating the tastiest tofu meal I've had in my entire life. Jung-gu, Seoul was then our last stop, where we watched, "Miso," the musical. It was the perfect way to end the night. The loud rhythm of the traditional music made me feel alive.

Beautiful love story, “Miso”
A story where a young couple in Chosun Dynasty meets and falls in love with the background of Korea’s beautiful four seasons, spring, summer, fall and winter.  On one snowy day in winter, Seolhee (meaning snowy girl) who is as pure as snow bumps into a man. Their encounter evolves into love as warm as spring breeze after cold winter days and they spend a great time which seemingly lasts forever.  Unexpected parting gives them a chance to ensure their true love.  They dream of fantastic and romantic love, promise their everlasting love and throw a party. In “Miso”, one woman’s love story is expressed through Korea’s traditional melody and dance. You can experience the beauty and excellence of Korea’s unique traditional culture such as Korean dancing, Korean instrumental performance, Korean traditional percussion quartet and Pansori (a traditional Korean narrative song). 

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