It's March, already! I can't believe it's been a whole year since I made the move from Incheon to the busy life of Seoul. If I wanted, I could be coming home to the states this month. It's a crazy thought. However, with everything that is going on globally with the economy, I have decided to stay here another six months. You're probably thinking I'm crazy, as I said I'd never be here for more than a year, and now I'm over half way through year two.
This past week was intense- my kindergartner's graduated, we received our new semester classes, I stayed up late watching movies and working on art projects for gifts for my kids. Friday came, and I was glad that it was all over.
This past year I taught full day kindergarten, and I have to say it's been a wonderful experience. I had two classes- the Big Reds (and please don't ask me what a Big Red is, because to this day I still really don't know) and the Tigers class. These kids were brilliant and awesome in so many ways. They always had a way to make me smile. Two weeks ago I was really sick so I stayed home from work- this was the first time in the year I've been at Poly that I was sick. From what I hear my kids just did not know what to do without me there, so they all made me get well cards. One of the teachers brought them over later that night, and I got all teary eyed reading them in my bed.
Anyways, at graduation on Thursday I was doing great until it was time to say good bye. The school I work with also has a partner school called Magnet. Magnet is like the Honors Programs we have in the states. If you score well enough on monthly tests and have a high reading score on certain tests there is a chance you can go to Magnet. Parents and students strive to be accepted into Magnet. For some reason it's a huge status symbol here and a huge bragging right to say that their kid got into "Magnet". Well this year we had a really great group of kids academically, and forty of the eighty four got accepted into Magnet. Twelve of my twenty students were part of this group, so they are off to Magnet and I will unfortunately never see them again.
I always love to see my kids outside of school- so I'm hoping that over the next few months I'll have some run-ins with my kids that are leaving for Magnet. I know that some teachers HATE seeing kids when they are not working, but I think it's great for kids to see me outside of my element. It's always funny to see their reaction, almost as if I'm some figment of their imagination. They had a tendency to just stare at you for a while before realizing that you are actually at the same department store that they are at. Either way, it's always fun for me.
So, back to my original thought. When I started saying goodbye to my students and wishing them luck, I started to tear up. The moms felt like this was a great moment to start taking a lot of pictures of me. Wow! A man crying! What a sight! I was only slightly embarrassed, but I hope the kids went home realizing how much I cared about them and how proud I was.
When I first came here, I really came for the money. I really wanted to pay bills and do some traveling... while I still want to do those things, I realized that's not why I stay. I really do love teaching, and I really have connected on many levels with the kids I've had the privilege of working with.
Tomorrow starts a new semester. In Korea, the school year starts in March and ends in January usually. Starting tomorrow I will be no longer be the Big Reds teacher, but the Cashew class teacher. I have a new set of books, a ton of new classes, and I'm going to try to have a much better attitude towards Korea.
Wish me luck....