When I completed my four month teaching practicum teaching a grade 7 middle school class in Canada, it was hard to say goodbye. After learning so much from these kids and spending so much time with them, you build strong student-teacher relationships. I will admit, something got into my eye on the last day when my class surprised me with a party, and I had a few tears flow well up. Let me repeat, something got into my eye, it probably was due to my seasonal allergies. Riiigghhhttt! ;)
Teaching English in South Korea has been another enjoyable and memorable experience for me. Usually, students have new teachers every two months. However, this time around due to some scheduling we had the SAME students for seven months! If you have a group of great kids, this is a dream. But if you have a class of sugar-addicts it can become a nightmare. I was lucky enough to have five good classes with some very hardworking students.
So when it came down to our final classes with each other, I surprised all five of my classes with a pizza and pop party! These families in Mokdong are of a different social class--they definitely have some extra income to spend. So their children are known to be very "needy" and some are even spoiled. The secret to throwing a successful pizza party is to not mention it at all--that way there are no expectations. All I told them was that I "forgot" to bring money and that I was very sorry. However, after we had covered the curriculum on the final day (*cough* games *cough*) pizza magically appeared with 30 minutes remaining in class! We all had a great time!
Here are some highlights from my various classes. This group of grade 5 students were a fantastic bunch. Some of the most hardworking and motivated students you will EVER see:
This class slowly dwindled from 14 to 8 (re-enrollment rates are huge at hagwons--you either ignore them or try to maintain your students by throwing out the monthly sales pitch--I concentrated on teaching). However, only 6 showed up on the last day (blame it on school camps, etc). If they knew pizza was on the menu they probably would have brought their friends too! Remember the pencil-sharpening-with-a-box-cutter tutorial? That was the work of Peter (formerly known as John--names change all the time), with his hands up in the background:
These students are in their third grade of middle school. Once they get to this level, they really start to feel the pressure before high school (look at John there, the big daddy-o as the only guy in the class!). About the pizzas, the company I hard ordered from threw in a "service (or ser-biss)" pepperoni pizza since I had ordered from them so many times! I gave that extra pizza to Devante's class next door!
Look at me, I'm
I was surprised to receive some random gifts from my students. Of course, you can always expect a Korean staple, "Choco pies" to clutter your desk. Oh yeah, don't forget the dark chocolate too:
This happens to your garbage can after "snack parties"...students compact the garbage with their shoes and eventually the thing will burst. Eat that, ajuma night cleaner!! ;)
Do you have any "farewell" stories to share? Come on, fill me in!