Tomorrow marks six weeks that I have officially been a school teacher. I think it’s about time that I introduce you to my school, Mipo Elementary. I am the only native English teacher to about 450 students from third to sixth grade. Come to school during break time or lunch and you’d think you stepped into a zoo. Don’t fret, those aren’t screaming wild animals you hear, they’re just my students.
Not to worry though, these little maniacs are wonderful in class. I have some pretty high level students compared to some that my fellow EPIK teachers have at their own schools. There’s quite a few private English academies in my neighborhood that the majority of my kids go to after they finish their day at the public school (so any of you that complained about a six-hour school day can shut the hell up because Korean students have it much worse). Of course, I have the occasional students who act up, but so few in comparison to some other schools. My little monkeys make teaching a lot of fun.
They also make me feel like a celebrity. Every single day they always say ‘hello’ to me in the hallways. Even if they are running as fast as they can to get to God knows where, I will still hear a loud, ‘HELLO!!!’ coming from the speed racers. Some will come up and hold my hand before running off. The girls always tell me that I look pretty. This week I even got a, ‘you look like a princess today.’ Seriously, who can resist that? It’s impossible to feel low in self-confidence when you’ve got students like mine.
I also have the good fortune of having wonderful Korean coteachers. I have four total, but there’s two that I see every day and have helped me out SO SO much in my transition to my life in Korea. Seriously, your coteacher can make or break your experience here in Korea. Based on stories I have heard from other English teachers, I truly lucked out.
I can’t wait to see what the next year at Mipo Elementary brings. Perhaps a contract renewal? We’ll see.