This month was good one. It has been a month of seeing my sister, taking a break away from school, and then taking an even longer break at school.
First there was Chuseok. We got about 10 days off and I went to Hong Kong to see my sister. It was incredible. Feel free to check out my posts from that trip!
Then we had a week of “regular classes” which was actually just all the students asking to study because exams were coming up. The teachers seemed to be on the same page about indulging them. There were a lot of “self-study” classes.
Then it was exam week. Monday and Tuesday were the tests, on Wednesday only grade 3 was at school, Thursday we went on a field trip and then got to go home early, and Friday I had a grand total of 1 class. Which was my only class the entire week.
Now this week, before almost every single class, at least one or two students come up to my desk to ask if they can go outside and “practice for sports day.” Imagine a hoard of middle schoolers around your desk all whining “teacherrrrrrrr play groundddddd.” My co-teacher walked out of the office yesterday only to find her entire grade three boys class on the ground kneeling with the hands clasped together asking if they could go play.
And so a lot of the teachers are giving in. I’m just doing a game with the third graders anyway this week so it hasn’t really messed with my schedule at all. Plus the weather is gorgeous and I don’t want to be inside either. So I’ve given in a few times.
Today while I was watching my class playing soccer a group of the little grade 1 girls came over to talk to me and we had the cutest, most organic little conversation and I’m still smiling. I’ve been in a bit of a slump recently with the whole, “being a foreigner in Korea” thing. Which is what prompted that post I made yesterday.
But the fact that those little girls, even though they could be out playing or talking much more easily in Korean to another teacher, wanted to come over and cling to my arm and act cute for my attention made me feel so happy. I know in my head that my students like me, but when I get to actually feel a bit of that immense love I have for them reflecting back at me it makes me want to never leave.
Anytime I ever start to feel frustrated with Korea, it is always my students than bring me back down to reality. And I feel very privileged that my reality includes these beautiful kids.
Another bit of news is that a few days ago I walked back into the office after my second period class and saw that my co-teacher had left some papers on my desk. Which, upon further inspection, turned out to be my application for re-contracting!
I still have to go through an evaluation process where the school decides whether or not to re-hire me, but the wheels are in motion to re-sign for another year! I absolutely cannot believe that it’s time to start thinking about this already, but I’ve had my decision made since about week 3 of school.
When we talked about the application my co-teacher asked me to give her my answer in a few days, even though I’ve told her many times what my hope is. So I replied laughing, “I don’t think I need a few days, my answer is that I want to stay.”
And with talk of re-contracting comes talk of winter break and when I can make a trip back home to visit. Unfortunately, our winter break this year is incredibly short so I won’t be able to go back to America during that break. But we do get a significant amount of time off in February so I’m planning to go back then!
Over the past 8 months I haven’t let myself start to think about visiting home because I feel like it’s too early. I’m afraid if I start planning things to do and getting excited about seeing my family that it’s going to make me homesick. I still have about 3/4 months before I can go, so I don’t want to jump the gun on the excitement. But it’s something to look forward to nonetheless.
I think that’s about it for month 8. It’s been a good one. There were highs and lows as always but I’m sitting here writing this at my desk surrounded by the afternoon noise of the teacher’s office and the occasional, “hello teacher!” from giggling students. So things are pretty good here. Hope they’re good where you are too! Thanks for reading!