Tuesday, 9 October 2012

the Highs. the Lows. the Kiddos

Like most, I've had a million and one dreams of what I want to be when I "grow up".

Children's writer, nutritionist, farm owner, bohemian body-tattooed circus contortionist.

Full-time Kindergarten teacher in a Korean English Academy was, I'm sure of it, never consciously added by me to that list.

Perhaps I have a chuckling spirit guide who came and wrote it in there in invisible ink or something because here I am, 29 years of age, at my third year of teaching in Korea.

My first two years here were breezy~ I was stationed at a Public Middle School in a beautiful coastal city, I met and started dating Dallas and we had an amazing set of friends, my work hours were short and the pay was so good I easily saved up for 3 months of adventuring with Dallas before returning back.

This time round Dallas and I decided to try our hand at teaching Kindergarten- not for government schools this time but privately owned English Academies or hagwons as they are known here. Cast your eye back to this starry-eyed post I wrote while I was preparing for my journey back to the Land of the Morning Calm....

there was definitely a death-grip on optimism going on in that post because life as a children's teacher has been everything but the candy-colored fantasy I'd envisioned. There my mind's eye was...dressing me up in cute peter-pan collared outfits, singing songs for the kids and painting rainbows like fricking Julie Andrews!

What I wasn't prepared for were the long, long hours, the large classes of under-7's all needing your attention at the same time. The constant fighting over who gets the longer pencil, the bigger eraser, who carries the teacher's book to to the next class or who sits in what chair.  The lunches they just wont eat. The snot,  the tears, the vomiting. The language barrier that is just as much frustrating for them as it is for you.

Lawd. I've had to give myself time-out more times than I care to mention where I just slowly count to ten and breathe for a minute during some cuckoo classroom scrimmages.
For all my fantasising and good intentions I'd willingly blinkered myself to a pretty glaring matter: KIDS ARE HARD WORK!! 

BUT, but.....

For every day Ive wanted to forget there's been another that I've loved and locked in my memory forever,  for every class that ended in tears and frustration there's been a class full of pure learning and creativity, for every ornery student there's scores more whose smiles and positive energy lift me up and inspire me. 
These kids and this year's experiences have forced me to grow  up more and learn more about myself and my potential than any other job I have put my hand to.
A happy teacher= happy students, folks

  There's a lesson in here champs. A lesson I've learned the hard way but the only way I could learn it. Testing myself, pushing myself to my very limit and not running away from a situation just because I didn't like it has been one of the most stimulating, rewarding and satisfying experiences for my heart and my soul. 

I recommend it....

...just go in with your eyes wide open, not crossed with stars like mine were, that's all!

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