I’m behind on blogging, as usual. Time for a recap. Let’s start with Christmas…
My Christmas cheer was dampened by an event that we had at school the week before: Christmas PTA (also known as Daddy PTA). This is basically a Christmas-themed open house for the Kindergarten kids and their dads. Mommy PTA is held over summer. Why is it called PTA? Good question…it isn’t named after the school’s “Parent-Teacher Association,” because there is none…Parent-Teacher Activities? Adventure? Amusement?
We spent weeks leading up to the event teaching the kids Christmas songs and dances to be performed for their daddies. My class did “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and “Feliz Navidad.” There were to be two different nights (Wednesday and Thursday), for different classes.
On the nights of the event, the dads showed up with their kids, decked out in adorable Christmas outfits, around 7pm. In the classroom we made wreaths, shared food, and the kids gave their song and dance performances. There was also dancing and games in the auditorium (led by Gym Teacher), and the kids received presents from Santa (an American friend of one of the Native Teachers).
At these sorts of events, I always feel quite prop-like. We native teachers are told what to where (red or green with Santa hats, and antlers and a Rudolph nose to pose with the kids’ and Santa), where to stand, what to say (“introduce yourself…talk about the program for the evening…then talk about the meaning behind wreath-making” “um…which is…?”), and when to get up on stage and dance (yes, this happened).
Korean dads are for the most part quite shy and don’t speak a lot English. We mainly just tried to make everyone feel comfortable and force as much English out of the kids as possible, to prove to the dads that their money is being put to good use. “Daniel, what are you eating? Is it delicious? Julia, what color glitter would you like? How many beads?”
The event went until 10:30 both nights, and was quite exhausting, but went better than expected. Granted, my co-teacher and I weren’t expecting very good things from Salmon Class, since they tend to be a little crazed, to say the least. But they stayed under control, completed their songs, and spoke some English, so I was pleased.
My favorite part of the night was when Santa asked one of the boys, Eddie, “have you been a good boy this year?” We had practiced responding “Yes, I have been a good boy,” for about thirty minutes in class that morning. However, after thinking it over a bit, her responded “mmm…so-so.” You have to appreciate his honesty, and he still got the top (all the rage in Japan) that he’d been wanting.