Well, it was a wonderful year teaching kindergarten and elementary kids, but it was time to move on. (Plus, our kindergarten kids were going to go to different schools starting March 1, so we couldn’t have taught them anyways.)
So, we have moved on to bigger and better things. Public schools, that is. Literally bigger (approx. 800 kids per school I think vs. 30 for kinder!) and literally better (benefits, working hours, teaching hours, vacation etc.). But we are going to miss our Hogwan students so much!!
There was a BIG graduation performance for the kinder students. They even got to wear little grad caps and gowns!
Graduation, even from kindergarten, is very important in Korea. The kids who graduated out of kinder and started elementary school on March 1 were taken for photos for the occasion (mutiple shots, different outfits, group and individual portraits!) and all the kids at our place sat for a group shot with all the teachers as well.
The performance was on a big stage with a sound system, inflatable castle/fairy tale themed background set and multiple costume changes!! Multiple!! The set and costumes were rented from one company and I heard through the grape vine (does anyone even use that phrase anymore? Me, apparently) that there was over $1000 spent on those two things alone.
Children’s events like these really are JUST for the parents, aren’t they? It wasn’t spectacularily fun to do these constume changes and for them to learn many different songs, dances, speeches and miniature scripts. It was stressful even to watch! But, some kids were so incredibly proud of themselves and that was good to see. They sure deserve the credit for what they pulled together.
These kids were our life for a year. (Literally, a year as we only had 9 days off in total.) They will never know how much they affected us. They made all the hard times in Korea worth it. Some days it is hard to get out of bed and go into a workplace you are unhappy with. But we always did it for them. We wanted to be the best teachers we could be, for them. At the beginning (and for months) they drove me (Tracy) to tears – kindergarten teacher is the hardest job I have ever had (which is not surprising, is it?) – but they also gave us our most treasured memories of Korea. I can say honestly that there is not one kid-lit of this group that we disliked. They were all wonderful little people! We are so thankful to have had them in our lives.
This past Sunday we were able to get together with half of the students we taught in Osan. We hadn’t seen them since the end of February, and it was so wonderful. We went to a great café that has all these areas for the kids to play in. Parents pay $5 and must buy a beverage and/or food and their kids get to play in the space: there were areas to play ‘house’, a ball pit, jungle-gym-thingy (like the big ones at McDonalds) and even a bouncy castle! They had so much fun (and us too!).