The coordinator at the local Office of Education asked me to write a story about my time here in Korea to be published in a section called “Teacher Voices” for a report. I thought I’d also post it in my blog.
My first year, I worked in a very small school. In fact, my entire third grade class consisted of four girls. At the start of the year, my coteacher informed me that they had no English exposure whatsoever. The sweet girls struggled to understand me and it was difficult to motivate them to speak any English in class. They would say how difficult English is and perhaps did not understand why they had to learn this strange language. Even with the language barrier, however, I was able to foster a relationship with them. When they weren’t in class, they would visit me and write any English word they knew on the board, asking me how to spell “I love teacher”. They always begged me to sit with them at lunch, which I did (another interesting cultural difference in Korea – teachers eat the same lunch as the students in the cafeteria). I was pleasantly surprised to hear the girls saying phrases I taught that very morning: “I like rice.” “Do you like kimchi?” “Yes, I do!”. I felt proud that the girls eventually gained confidence and were using English voluntarily. I really love the students. Crossing paths in the hallway or anywhere outside of class where I’m greeted with a deep bow and a smiling “Hi! Hello!” followed by giggles keeps me smiling and so excited to wake up to go to school every day.