Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
December 22, 2012 § 2 Comments
This entry is going to be scatterbrained. But a few exciting things are happening that I just wanted to share.
I leave for China tomorrow and will be visiting for the first time. I have been in Korea 10 months and this is my first proper vacation, so I am beyond pumped. Our first stop is Beijing, where I hope to eat Peking Duck for Christmas and finally see the Great Wall. Then it’s on to Shanghai where I’m going to see an acrobatics show and dance around the Pearl Tower. Last is Hong Kong, which is the place I am most excited about, it being my pop’s hometown and all. One of my goals is to eat my own weight in pork dumplings, dim sum, and the strangest, most eclectic stuff I can get my hands on, including (but certainly not limited to) fried insects, lizards, and scorpions.
Besides my insane excitement about going to China, today was also my last day teaching the classes that I have been teaching since February when I first arrived here. In Korea, the new school year begins in January (for private schools) and March (for public schools), so all of my classes will be moving up a grade when I return from China. I may or may not see my current 6th graders when I come back, because they will be 7th graders (aka, middle schoolers) and we do not teach them as often as we do the elementary school kids. I have also told a select few of my classes that my time at BMA is up at the end of February, so there have been a few emotions swimming around in both my kids’ hearts and my own.
Today, one of my 5th graders, a girl whose English name is Mindy, gave me the sweetest, most heart-warming letter I think I’ve ever read. She handed it to me in secret as we walked to class together. It actually made me reconsider, if only for a split-second, staying at BMA purely because I care so much for my students.
As if that wasn’t enough to brighten my entire week, at the end of the day, one of my 6th graders chased me down the halls of BMA to tell me that she wanted to leave the school together. I told her if she wanted to, she had to wait 10 minutes, because I wasn’t due to leave until 9:10 pm. She seemed increasingly antsy as the minutes ticked by, and kept saying “Teachaaa, we must leave! Can we go now?” When we finally left, she grabbed my hand and led me (along with my 3 foreign co-teachers) to a park across the street from the hagwon. Her friend, who had undoubtedly been waiting about 15 minutes too long, was walking away from the park, and the two girls started rapidly conversing in Korea with each other to sort out a plan B for what I had apparently ruined as their surprise for me. I told them I would wait at a pizza restaurant across the street, and they eagerly agreed and ran off to prepare their surprise.
Well, you can imagine my shock and overwhelming desire to smush their adorable little faces when I walked out of the pizza joint and through a set of double doors to find this:
Sweetest thing I’ve ever seen: the girls bought a package of Ghana chocolate pies and made them into a little mountain (or “Choco Pie Cake”), complete with candles for me to blow out and make a wish on. Tiffany (the girl on the left, who is also the student who gave me this amazing birthday card) wanted to give me a farewell party when she found out I might not be teaching her much longer, but after trying to figure out a time when we would have the party, we realized that the very class we were discussing it in was actually our last class together. As a result, she said she wasn’t able to “prepare” a proper gift, so she and Cindy (the girl on the right) bought me this box of choco pies and created a makeshift dessert pile. It was amazing and definitely one of the sweetest things anyone has ever done for me.
I am constantly moved by just how generous and sincere my students can be, and every day I am here, I can see why people want to be teachers, to try to inspire children and make a difference in the world. Whether they know it or not, my students have already changed and inspired me so much, simply by being themselves, by being children. Today was just another one of those days that solidified the thought I’ve had swimming around my brain for months, which is that coming to Korea to teach English has easily been one of the best decisions I have ever made in my entire life. I still have 2 months left, and I plan on making them the best 2 months ever with my students. I hope they’re ready to laugh and learn even more than they have already, ’cause Kezia Teacha is gonna go out with a bang.