Teacher’s Day – South Korea

Teacher’s Day is one of my favorite Korean holidays.  Its not just the cute notes, buckets of flowers, snacks and other assorted gifts.  Sure those help but what really makes me love Teacher’s Day is the realization of how much value Koreans have for teachers.temp_1431679395167.-504624130

There is a separate holiday where the entire country devotes itself to their teachers.  You could argue that its a Hallmark holiday (and i’m sure stationary stores love it) but there’s also a Teacher’s Day song that everyone knows and the day encourages students to visit their old teachers.

Teacher's Day Assembly.

Teacher’s Day Assembly.

This year was the first year I had actual visitors in the 2 hour block our school devoted for students to reunite with their old teachers.  Our students were dismissed after lunch while we had prep time and still got out 2 hours early.  Last year’s 4th graders came by in force dropping off the cutest hand written notes you’ve ever seen. Continue reading

Korean Teacher’s Day

In Korea May 15th is national Teacher’s Day.  Typically students bring in gifts for all their teachers and write notes.  We were originally supposed to have an assembly recognizing all of us but; due to “recent sad events” that was canceled.  Some of my coworkers were even told “I wanted to bring you flowers but couldn’t because students died.”  The country is still very much in mourning regarding the Sewol Tragedy but luckily Teacher’s Day did brighten the day for many.

I had about a dozen students write adorable notes, got a bouquet, some fake flowers and a few snacks.  Most of my coworkers got a similar assortment of thanks and it truly was so nice to read all their kind words!  I love my job and love teaching but tokens of appreciation are always welcome.

So much love!

So much love!

One of my favorite letters! (from one of my best English students)

One of my favorite letters! (from one of my best English students)

On a lighter note

Aside from my school’s financial woes I really am enjoying being here.  My students, albiet unorthodox compared to what I’m used to, are great.  They are fun to work with (and I only have a few “problem children”).  Planning and grading has been pretty straitforward; the school gives us a curiculum I’m teaching my native language.  It all makes sense to me and we work on pretty basic concepts.  Last Friday I got my first “gift” (shhh don’t tell my principal) when my afterschool student brought me a beautiful chopstick & spoon set, possibly even silver, we think for Chuseok.

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The field trip last Tuesday was a ton of fun, even if I couldn’t understand anything.  We saw “You Are Special,” a musical derived from a children’s book that helps teach that everyone is special and you shouldn’t worry about what others think, merely what you think about yourself.  The costumes and music were great even if it was all in Korean and the random disney songs beforehand sparked a mini sing-a-long (even if it was just Americans). Not sure what the “Truman Tower” was but here it is!

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Meeting people is turning out to be a little tougher than I thought, mainly because I don’t speak Korean.  I have had a handful of Koreans introduce themselves but the majority of the people I talk to are coworkers.  That should get a little easier once I get my Alien Registration Card in 2 weeks and can get a local cell phone.  I’ve got a party through my recruiter this weekend and hope to enjoy the company of lots of ex-pats.

I’ve settled into my apartment and enjoy exploring my neighborhood (check out some of my previous posts for more on that).  I’ve got a 5-day weekend in 2 weeks for Chuseok, aka Korean Thanksgiving, and plan on checking out Bukhansan National Park and some of the more popular areas in Seoul.  All in all I’m really enjoying it here.   I’ve even found a fencing club and planning on checking it out on the 16th !  For those wondering dinner tonight was a hodgepodge of leftovers and some dumplings I made.  Stay tuned for more!

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