The week has flown by and here it is, Friday night in Korea. The weeks are numbered now until my return to the United States and I am having very mixed feelings about this. In previous entries and stories I’ve mentioned some of the troubles I’ve had in my work environment, but despite these little irritants, the job really is fabulous. It is safe to say that in reality, my job and I have a love-hate relationship. While there are those things that get under my skin and irritate me to no end, they are minor compared to the wonderful parts of working at the academy. So many of the good things that happen in the day to day of the work easily slip away unappreciated, so today I would like to honor those little things, the small details that make teaching at our academy a truly lovely experience.
- The students are some of the most loving people I have ever met. They absolutely adore spending time with me and I with them. I love the ways we have bridged all manner of cultural and language gaps and that it doesn’t matter how different we are.
- There is so much room for creativity, whether in the form of writing, mini art projects or simple games to remember vocabulary words. Having a flexible curriculum makes a really big difference in what we can accomplish and the ways we can learn.
- The classes are super small, with only ten students maximum in each class. I love this because it means that I get to know the students really well and can have meaningful conversations with each and everyone of them. I know their names, the games they like to play, their passions, their strengths and weaknesses, and all of this makes such a difference in the classroom. Most students do not have this type of relationship with their public school teachers because there are too many students in the class.
- The co-teachers are kind, humorous and we are always learning from each other. I like those moments when we share a joke or laugh about something that happened in a class or at meeting. We have a strong camaraderie in the office which makes for a positive planning environment.
- Curiosity thrives in our classrooms. The students want to know all sorts of things and rarely hesitate to ask any sort of questions, even the ones I would rather they didn’t ask. They are particularly interested in my relationship with A and continually want to know about our relationship, families and when we are having a baby.
- Kindness is abundant and often arrives in unexpected ways. Whether it is sharing candy or snacks, helping one another with classwork and studying together, the students make an effort to care for one another.
- The students have so much energy and are always eager to show what they have learned. The chanting of ‘Teacher! Me teacher! Teacher!!!” does get old, but it is the students’ way of showing me that they are proud of their work and excited to show me how well they are doing.
- Learning happens all the time, even when I don’t expect it.
- The students love to play and are easy to please, surprise and engage.
- There is a lot of flexibility with class plans meaning I can take my students out of school to the park or a cafe (like we did today for an in cafe writing experience) at a moment’s notice. I love that we can shape classroom activities around how the students are feeling each day and what will work best at any given time.
- Smiles. Smiles from students, smiles from co-teachers, smiles from the parents who stop by. The school may not be happy all the time, and I may not always be happy while there, but it is not hard to find a smile to brighten the day.
- We are blessed with close, loving relationships with our students so much so that I often feel more like a big sister or family member than simply a teacher. The students have helped to fill the void of not being near my family and I know that when I leave in fourteen short weeks, I will miss them all dearly.
Happy Friday! I hope wherever you are in the world and whatever day it is that it is fabulous!