Here's a "then and now" story of sorts. On the left you see (L-R) Lydia, Margaret, and Mrs. Lee taking a breather before their 4:00 class in May of 2000. On the right, Margaret is visiting with Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Kim at BLI's new home in 2004.
When Margaret taught at Best Language Institute in 2000 / 2001, they were in pretty cramped quarters, on the third floor of a downtown Kangnung (Gangneung) office building.
The classrooms actually weren't too bad. Small, yes, but a lot like what I remember from my grade school days in the (ahem) 1960s. But the "teacher's lounge" was what you see on the left above -- just a table and chairs in the front office. It had the basics: phone, fax machine, textbook library (actually, a bookshelf), fridge, water cooler, and a painfully slow photocopier. But it didn't even have a computer yet (Margaret used her own laptop in the classroom). And it had a constant stream of students trooping through, going to and from the classrooms (you can see one of them -- a classroom, I mean -- just behind Lydia). There wasn't any place where you could close a door between you and the kids, though Margaret didn't too often feel a need for one.
Today BLI has a much larger space on the outskirts of town. You still can't much get away from the students, maybe by intention, but there's significantly more room. The teachers now have decent workspace, with lots of natural light and green plants (photo, left). The photocopier is bigger and faster, and they finally have a computer with a broadband internet connection.
The decor here and elsewhere in the building is bright and pleasant, with wood and metal accents. There's even a small kitchen.