Preemptive TL;DR: Today was good and I want to remember it.
The students had a market day in the morning. Each of the 27 classes sold something (food and drinks) or had an activity (photobooth, face painting, etc). I swear they spoke more English today (to get me to support their class) than this whole year combined. Listening to them argue over how to say the amounts in English was amusing.
“It’s one hundred, no thousand dollar!” Ugh. Who taught them that ‘won’ in English is ‘dollar’?
What really killed me though is that they’re still saying ‘nice to meet you’ every time they see me. The Korean word for ‘meet’ covers ‘meet’, ‘see’ and ‘visit’ in English, so it’s a tough one to unlearn. I. Have. Tried. And. Failed.
One of the 9th graders escorted me around a bit while making small talk. He was surprised to learn I have Korean money. He just assumed I used dollars.
In an effort to kill time a few weeks ago, I taught the 7th graders the “English names” of Korean food (blood sausage, spicy rice cakes, etc). I was impressed to hear them use those descriptions today.
There were several make-up/face-painting booths. I had at least 30 girls come up to me with blue and red combo eyeshadow, proudly announcing that they are “Hully Keen” (the Korean pronunciation of Harley Quinn).
And of course the talent show this afternoon. I’m somewhat over the expressionless K-pop routines the girls are churning out at an alarming rate, but there were some legit surprises in-between. I only see a class once every two weeks, and then they’re just a group of teenagers actively disinterested in whatever I need to teach them. So it was a great reminder for me that they are, in fact, way more talented than I could ever discover in just my lesson.
Their artwork has been on display all around the school this last week. They produced some quality work! I started off taking photos of a few that stood out, but before long I couldn’t even choose anymore so I was just snapping away.
Today reminded me that I want to get back into teaching in a way that I can get to know my students and can learn what really makes them tick. Spoiler: two-weekly English speaking activities aren’t it! For many of them, my lesson is their only mental downtime all week. They are exceptionally talented, but that talent is rooted in hours and hours of input and dedication.