So far this has been my hardest day, though I think that Friday will prove to be the most difficult (being my last day, and also my last class with class 2.1 – my advanced second grade students). I teach two of my best behaved classes on Wednesdays – class 2.6 (very low level, second grade, co-ed, approximately 10 students) and 2.2 (intermediate, second grade, co-ed, approximately 30 students – one of my two penpal project classes), and I also teach class 2.3 (low level, second grade, all girls, approximately 20 students) which is not exactly well-behaved, but well-meaning and full of spunk.
When I walked into class 2.6 today I found a giant pyramid of chocopies on my teacher’s podium, decorated with fish-flavored crackers, and I found out that there were only four out of my usual seven (which again, is out of my actual ten) students. Two students were sick, three were off doing sports things, and one was being disciplined. The four students that were there (three girls and a boy) participated well. It was actually interesting teaching only them – they are normally the shyest students in the class, and at the beginning of the year I couldn’t get them to talk. This class was my most difficult class in September 2010, and it’s become one of my favorites. Unfortunately the two girls that were sick, and one of the boys that was off doing sports things, are the three highest level English speakers in the class, and thus the ones that I end up talking to a lot outside of school and have really bonded with, and it was sad that I couldn’t say goodbye to them. I’ll have to go back to their homeroom later. Rose (her Korean name literally means Rose) is actually older than I am, has really awesome tattoos, and is an absolute sweetheart. The other girl is my only student that to date has written down everything I have written on the board. The other boy has a part time job and sometimes I see him late at night delivering pizzas. He runs with the cool gangster crowd, but every time he sees me says “hi” to me, which I think he gets some flak from them for doing. Not only does he say “hi” to me, he starts up conversations and makes them talk to me too.
before and after fish chip inspiration.
I left 2.6 late because I was chatting with them, then realized that I still needed to print papers for 2.2 which I was supposed to teach immediately afterwards. Therefore I ran to class, was a bit late, and didn’t think that it was odd that two students met me in the hallway and walked me into class.
On the chalkboard all the students had written messages to me (including my favorite message written by Smart Alec as I’m going to call him, which read “Hi Emily. I’m fine thank you and you?” – my least favorite phrase in the entirety of the English language) and they had a song cued up on the computer. Without missing a beat the students started singing at the top of their lungs. I didn’t catch all the words, but I caught “thank you.”
After class (where we played American Geography & Flat Stanley Penpal Project Jeopardy and then wrote letters to the new English teacher introducing ourselves) some students came up and gave me coffee, notes, and I even got one picture of me with some of the girls at Sports Day. I love this class, there are so many fun personalities. There’s Smart Alec who was the only boy in my winter English camp and totally lived it up, being a total, well, smart alec. There’s ILY Boy as I’m going to call him, who every time and everywhere I see him (much like I Miss You So Much(e)) starts screaming “EMILY TEACHER I LOVE YOU.” Literally everywhere. There’s my Piano Prodigy who every Tuesday and Thursday rides the train into Seoul and takes piano lessons there because she’s just that darn good, who also happens to be amazing at English. There’s Rock On Boy, who when the other students came to greet me, gave me a fist bump instead of a handshake and then bragged to his friends that we were friends on facebook. I Miss You So Much(e) also came into this class at the end to rub it in everyone’s faces that he would see me on Friday. He’s somehow taller than me now, I don’t know if that’s a recent development or he’s just always been taller than me and I never quite noticed…
During class they told me not to cry, and cheered when I promised to visit them. I made them promise to be nice to the new English teacher, and they harrumphed but obliged. I’m going to miss class 2.2 so much it’s not even funny… this is the closest I’ve come to crying over leaving yet.
Here are some excerpts from 2.2′s student notes. I debated whether or not to post these because they’re private letters, and also it seems somewhat self-serving, and like I’m trying to make myself seem like a better teacher than I am, but I decided to post them for numerous reasons, the biggest reason being that it’s my gosh darn blog, so I can do what I want with it ^_^. Also , because I’ll be moving around so much in the next few years, there’s a good chance I could lose these notes, which would be tragic, so if I post them here at least I’ll still have the message.
To. Emily teacher
Hi, Emily teacher ~~
Today of the last lesson. so, I’m sad.
In the meantime Sapgyo for high school passion very thanks and take the trouble ^_^
Spent with a teacher time I’ll never forget.
Do you know?
Emily techer is attitude makes popular with students.
You are the best a native speaking instructor I’ve ever had.
I hope you go to a new school that’s plug along.
Good luck <3
Bye ~ Bye~
Hi Emily! I’m Piano Prodigy.
I heard that you leave the Sapgyo high school. So, I’m very sad. ㅠ_ㅠ.
I’ll never forget recollection with you and Young Rim. (Cheonan).
Emily! thanks for teaching me.
When you teaching me I feel very happy and fun.
I never forget you. Contact me!
goodbye, I love you! <3
I then ended the day with class 2.3 which has always been a hit or miss class. They’re very sweet, and they’re very well-meaning, but they’re also very loud, which combined with the fact that they’re low-level, can be a difficult combination to work with. Started the class off on the wrong foot, when I went to their classroom and half the students were missing. The class captain then burst into the room, started screaming at another student, and wouldn’t answer any of my questions or even acknowledge me, then stormed out of the room. I immediately followed, yelling her name down the hall, as other students kind of stared at me, and she turned out of my sight around a corner. She then immediately came back, with a bunch of choco pies stacked into a cake along with the other half of the class. They weren’t late or disrespectful, they were just trying to surprise me. Oops.
They then sang me a song but my camera died halfway through, whoops.