May 15 in Korea is Teacher’s Day. And unlike Canada, it’s actually celebrated and acknowledged. It used to be a school day off but not anymore. Which… I actually don’t mind. Because it means that I get to be at school with all the students while they shower me with their love. Haha. Okay, not that much love and not from all students. But I do have like 600 students and they see me least out of all their subject teachers. 40 minutes a week.
But this Teacher’s Day was significantly more pleasant and amazing than last year’s. Last year, students were just starting to get to know me – I had only been in Korea for three months, and I got a few cards and letters. But this year, all the students I’m teaching at the moment have known me for awhile. It’s all my 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders from last year – now in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades.
Most of the cards and presents that I got were from the 6th graders – whom I have taught the longest and know a lot better than the others. And then there were a couple of cards from some of my cute 5th graders – some of whom surprised me because I didn’t think that they liked me quite enough – and then one super sweet letter from a fourth grader. I’ve known him for awhile too – taught him in both English camps last year. And it was also the most heartbreaking little letter – he asks me to stay and teach him English until he graduated from elementary school.
And a part of me almost wishes that I could do just that. But that’s another two years in Korea that I just can’t commit to. And so… I will have to say goodbye to this kid and all the other fourth graders in July – I don’t even get to teach them in the second semester. I get my new batch of 3rd grader classes for the second semester.
I also got to see many of the students from last year’s 6th graders as they all came back to visit their homeroom teachers after they got off class. It’s so easy for them to visit since their middle school is right beside us. But still, I don’t get to see these kids as often as I like. I was catching up with them and let them know that by next Teacher’s Day in Korea… I wouldn’t actually be in Korea. So I’m hoping that I get to see them a few more times in the process of this year before I do leave. Promised to treat a few of them to ice cream.
It was a great Teacher’s Day. And it felt more memorable and significant since it will be my last Teacher’s Day in Korea. Some parts of me can’t stand the idea of leaving this city and this job… but I think most of me knows that this is the right move for my career and future. So… as heartbroken as I will be… I’m going to leave. But with beautiful memories and great experiences.