This is my third and final year here at my elementary school and in Korea as a whole. Since that decision, I’ve found myself looking at my students with a renewed sense of awe and pride. My older kids especially seem to blow me away more and more each day. Their achievements in speaking, writing, listening and reading have continued to impress me over the last three years. As our first semester of 2015 begins to wind down, I wanted to share with you some of my favourite moments with my kids thus far.
Below are some springtime decorations my grade 3 students have made to brighten up our class. The big black screen is a dead TV monitor so instead of staring into a black hole, I’ve turned it into an art display!
I’ve taught my grade 5 students since they were first exposed to a foreign teacher in the 3rd grade. They’re made up of 6 classes of 30, adding up to around 180 students. I’ve gotta say, my fivers were little psychos back in 2013. Back then they were mostly waist-high little wankers, lacking discipline and interest in studying English. They often argued and tore up worksheets. Team games were exhausting and usually resulted in classes loosing their points for bad behaviour. Now, I look forward to my grade 5 kids on Thursdays as all 6 classes are engaged and passionate. I can have real conversations with some of them and they often come to class early to chat and hang out.
I really enjoy doing role plays with my kids. It’s a fun way to get them reading and also gets them used to public speaking. We have role plays every 2 units in our textbooks, but sometimes that’s not enough. I think the reading component in our grade 3 and 4 textbooks is a little lacking, so I like to step it up by making my own role play scripts based on the key sentences we’re studying. Below are some pictures of this year’s grade 4 students doing their rendition of “Little Red Riding Hood” from their textbook.
My grade 6 students are my oldest kids and I’ve taught them since they were in grade 4. They’re also made up of 6 classes, around 180 senior students. They have always been closest to my heart and their enthusiasm for English has a lot to do with that. Even back in 2013 they were diligent, good listeners and quite advanced for their age. Now that I’m teaching their third and final year (they’ll be off to middle school next March) I’m thoroughly enjoying my time with them. Below are some photos of this year’s grade 6 students doing their first role play of the year: A radio talk show interview.
This job is powerfully rewarding every day and I’m so proud of all of my little people. This article is not to pat myself on the back, because I am just a humble go-between to make our textbooks come to life. This is more of a high-five to my students who have excelled well beyond my (and others) expectations.
Teachers can be many things to many people, but ultimately the will to learn, absorb, retain and apply lies in the hearts and minds of the individual. Watching students who didn’t care about English begin to participate warms my heart. To see the well-rounded ones continue to thrive in the classroom makes me want to run up and hug them all, but that would be weird. It will be a painful goodbye for me this year and I hope to chronicle as much as I can to remember all of my babies.