School is out for the semester!
Just like my students, part of me is thrilled with that last sentence. Another part of me, however, is slightly in shock about how fast this year went by in Korea. I taught my last class on Friday morning, sang my last song, played my last poorly made powerpoint game, and said goodbye to my students. Since Tuesday, I've been having to say good-bye to my kids, and I am super-sad to not being seeing them any more. I have gotten a lot of nice notes from them (some folded into adorable origami), and on Wednesday, they covered my board with notes that say "Good-bye Andie Teacher!" I'm surprisingly attached to some of them, and they make me want to stay and teach them for another year. While obviously some days the kids drive me nuts, most days they make me feel really great, and I've really enjoyed getting to know them for the past ten months. They never fail to make me feel like a rockstar even when I'm having a bad day. For example, yesterday as they lined up to all say good-bye to me, 3/4 of them wanted my "signature" on their book. I told them I wasn't a celebrity, but they insisted on it anyway.
I'm really going to miss how much they make me laugh, too. A couple weeks ago, I held up a picture of a snowman and asked, "Who is this?" and the very serious response I got back was, "Lady Gaga." Yesterday, I had a picture of Tom Cruise on a powerpoint and two 4th graders got in a serious debate over whether it was Harry Potter or Nicholas Cage. Every day at least one of them does something to brighten my entire day. I wrote my email address on the board for all my classes and I instructed them to email me if they ever wanted to practice their English or come to USA. I promised to write them back. I've already gotten several adorable emails that brightened my weekend. Many students asked for my "handphone number," but I got away easy on that one since I could tell them in all honesty that I do not have a phone number at home any more.
Friday afternoon, I finished cleaning out my desk. I organized all my lesson plans for the next teacher who will begin in August. I packed up all my sentimental items, and I finished the year. I start working summer camp on Monday at a nearby elementary school. Camp is really easy, but also really boring as I'll repeat the same 3 lesson plans for 2 weeks. Ew. Following my two weeks of camp, I'm going on vacation with my friend Sarah (keep your fingers crossed for our Chinese visas to actually go through!), followed by one more week of summer camp at my school (so I will get to see some of my hoodlums again). I've worked really hard on my camp plans-- I'm having a science English camp where the kids will play games about animals, the 5 senses, recycling, insects, and the body. I think it will be really fun.
Another difficult part of Friday was saying goodbye to my coworkers. Gil-Dong Elementary has been so supportive and welcoming to me this year. My fellow subject teachers in my office brought in a cake yesterday afternoon, and I even had a candle I got to blow out on top. They also gave me a beautiful jewelry box made in a Korean style, and my coteacher, Grace, gave me printed pictures of the fourth grade classes. Despite the fact that some of them don't even speak much English, they have been the most helpful, supportive, and wonderful people to me. It is difficult to even articulate how kind everyone has been this year. I think they are more acutely aware than I even am that I am very far from home and still pretty young. They really helped make this a positive experience, and I'm going to sincerely miss all of them!
Have a great weekend!