Friday, March 2, 2012

The End of an Era

We are going through a transition time at school right now. The semester has ended, which was marked by the completion of our Kindergarten musicals, and a graduation ceremony. I was very sad to say goodbye to “my kids,” Salmon Class. I have been spent most of my mornings and early afternoons with them for the past six months. Some shots of them in their graduation gowns (taken in the classroom, with their parents in the background):

Lucy, Sophia, Julia

Eddie, Sonic, Chris

Salmon Class

They have made a lasting impression on me, and I hope that any influence that I’ve had on their young lives has been more positive than negative (which is all I can really hope for, right?). That being said, I’m also excited at the prospect of a new class, and having a fresh start now that I have a much firmer grasp on the art of controlling Korean kindergarteners.
Last week was Spring Break, which meant no Kindergarten, but the teachers still had to come in in the mornings to complete various mindless tasks. Mine was making conversation questions and answers for storybooks. The most challenging books to write ten questions about were the ones that were less than ten words. I just ended up getting a lot of my material from the pictures. (“What is Sally wearing?” “Sally is wearing jeans.”) etc, etc.
Next week, all the classes will be different. Some kids are leaving, new kids are coming, and the ones that are staying will change levels. This is true for both elementary and kindergarten. We have been given very little information about what will be happening text week, in terms of who will be teaching which classes and whatnot. Our school tends not to tell us what is going to happen until it is actually happening. This seems to be a general Korean tendency.
I do, however, know that I will be teaching Lobster Class for kindergarten, which will mainly consist of a class of kids that I taught once a week last semester, Blowfish Class. They are Korean six, which makes them four and five American age. My “sister class,” which I will teach once a day, will be Angelfish Class, the youngest class at EOS. They are two and three American age. They are SO cute, and SOOO small. I taught them once a week last semester and spent a good portion of the time baffling over the fact that these babies were in school, in uniform, sitting at the desk completing phonics worksheets.
Another change that is taking place is that about half of the teachers are leaving. All of the teachers are on a yearlong contract, and it is up to both you and the school whether or not you sign on for another year. There are four new Korean teachers and one new Native Teacher, Leanne, who is also from California. Represent. The new teachers have been observing these past few days and all seem very nice.
And so it goes…I have a little over five months left on my contract, and I’m feeling really positive about the rest of my time in Korea. I have formed some great friendships and have had some unforgettable experiences. With the end in sight, a lot of potential opportunities are presenting themselves and I look forward to seeing where this Asian adventure will take me.

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