What have I been up to the past few weeks?
Many readers may already know because I hardly ever neglect to upload pictures to my facebook. I’ve had what many dub “blogger’s block” which is basically a streak of writer’s block. I come home with every intention to write a new blog post, but just like my recent facebook comments to dear friends, I end up backspacing them into internet oblivion.
Two months have flown by here in Gwangju! I’ve acquired a kindergarten: a class of three fantastic boys! I will teach them until their long-term teacher comes back from vacation. At the start of September, our school began a new quarter which means new classes! I do have a few classes that I taught from the previous quarter, but most are new. I really enjoy the classes with older children, especially when they push my buttons because I’ve learned to push theirs right back. One of the many skills I acquired living with my younger sister for so long 😉
I think the children have learned the way to my heart, it seems like every other day I have a latte or americano (sometimes both) waiting for me in my classes! The children here are so giving! In one of my classes, ages around 13, I asked what their favorite holiday was and two of the three students responded with “Teacher’s Day”. From what I hear, this holiday is exactly as it sounds, it’s a national recognition of teachers and the children make special gifts to thank them for all they do! I thought it was so precious that these students actually look forward to this day so much that they’d say it’s their favorite holiday!
I no longer teach middle school reading but I still have a discussion class with them. Unlike my other classes, this class allows me to make my own lessons each Wednesday. This class is basically designed to get the boys talking. Last Wednesday I showed them this clip about a Syrian refugee girl along with a BBC teen’s guide to the Syrian civil war. We then discussed refugee life, relating it to a National Geographic story we read last week about the Afghan refugee girl with a captivating stare. We then related it to North Korean refugees here in South Korea. It was really interesting to hear their perspective. Later, we prepared for a debate about whether the US and other countries should intervene in the Syrian conflict. So far, one of my students says the USA and other countries need to take action. We’ll see how the debate goes on Wednesday.
One thing is for sure, there is no such thing as an ordinary moment…EVER. Even on those rotten days when all you want to do is lounge in bed and dive into the pages of a book, even while I’m grocery shopping by myself, I try to savor every second of the moment: “I’m picking up grapes …in South Korea” …except they’re seeded here 😛
Looking back at everything I’ve done, every person I’ve met and everything I’ve experienced in these past two months and it all just blows me away. I’m so fortunate to land this opportunity and I can’t wait to see what the next few months bring.