I started back to work yesterday after six weeks of vacation. Blast.
It was nice going back to a familiar setting, faces and kids, though Al and I both have already started the "52 weeks and counting...". Lucky for me, Nammun Elementary has some kind of ceremony going on Friday so my first week back is a four day-er, a nice transition back. That also means that my birthday weekend (which is Saturday) is a nice three day one. The Heavens rejoice!
Asian kids have no life or fun childhood to speak of. They go to school year-round (and all day every day...). Since they do that, there has to be some random day where they move up a grade and that day is March 1st. Last March 1st was a chaotic nightmare with all the Korean teachers running around screaming like the North just attacked holding signs trying to direct the new kindergarteners to their new after school english classes (you know, instead of going out to play like normal 6 year olds). I dodged a bullet this year by being in the US at the time this was all going down, but because of that I've now come back mid-semester to about 4 classes full of new, blank stares. These lowest level kids are the hardest to deal with, I think. They're cute, yes, but because they can barely remember their own english name that they picked, I never know if they're actually learning anything. "What's this letter?" (I point to W) "M!!!!" :::facepalm:::
It's basic: ABCs, colors, a bit of phonics and maybe some counting if we're lucky. Because they mostly don't want to be there in the first place, they get distracted beyond easily and I'm left with 1. a class of pee pants children not knowing the difference between a small p and small q (I guess that would be a little confusing) and 2. their wandering eyes that keep facing towards the now open windows where they can hear the other screaming kids playing in the courtyard in between their classes. Hopefully here in about 6 months things will have improved a bit because they'll have gotten better and slightly more advanced.
If you know me at all, you'll know that I much prefer other people's children because I don't have to take them home and care for them. But these last few days walking through the halls of school and seeing all my students' faces light up when they see me and run towards me and latch on for dear life all while screaming "SAM TEACHER!!!!" has seriously, seriously made my days better. There are a few of them that I really did miss, but I didn't realize it until I saw them again. It warms the cockles of my heart, it really does.
I've also recently discovered that some of my older boy students have now dubbed me the "food killer". When they first told me that, I thought they were calling me fat and I (mentally) pelted them with the textbooks. But the thing is, I let the kids eat in class. I do not care in the slightest. Why rob them of something that does them nor myself any harm when they are sitting in english class for three hours? My only rule is that if they bring food, they share it with me. Most kids are sweet and give me a share anyway (Korean kids loooooove giving food away) but some of the more stingy boys like to keep those cheese puffs to themselves so I happily take a few. That's where my new nickname came from...apparently because I steal all the students food. Totally not true, but they aren't the only hungry ones come 5:00!
Walking into class to things like this makes this whole thing worthwhile:
I really do love some of those kids and I'm sure I'll miss them when I'm gone.