I’ve been woefully absent on my blog, but that’s because I’ve had so much to do. And, in some ways, Korea has really become regular, daily life that doesn’t really require a ‘blog.’
These days I’ve been training in the new teacher, Lauren, who is really competent. She has more training at this than either Emily or I had, and I know she’ll do just fine. She’s taught in the States, so she’ll have a huge heads up on both of us.
Right now, I feel a lot like I felt right before I moved to college. There’s a huge, exciting adventure ahead of me, but I don’t know how it will be, and I can’t imagine it at all. I don’t know if I’ll be ready. I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle it, but I do know that I want to do it, so that’s all I have right now.
It’s really hard to say goodbye to my baby students. I’m the only foreign teacher they’ve known, and they are 100% mine. They were really starting to drive me crazy, but they’re mine and only mine, so it’s hard to pass them on to someone else. As my first class, the one I like to call “Squirrel Kindergarten” left yesterday, telltale tears welled up in my eyes and I looked away, shooing them out before they saw me–because then I would have been DONE.
I try not to gloat. I try not to make it clear just how hard I worked to make these children love me–to be a good teacher, to teach them and help them and do what I thought was right. I try not to tell everyone how hard I worked to keep loving them even though everything around me told me that I shouldn’t. Everything around me said: “You are temporary, you don’t matter, this is just a business.” But I tried my best to make sure that even though that attitude got into me sometimes, that it never corrupted the reason I came into my classes every day. At least my babies. At least for my babies, I felt like I could do the best job I could do.
But there is a big difference between how things were then, and how they are now. The students’ parents know me. The students know I can speak Korean, at least a little bit, and that I care about their language. The teachers and the boss trusts me, and even the desk teachers are kind to me. I used to loathe how hard it was. Now I feel proud of the fact that I made it all this way. I dealt with kids with violent learning disabilities, kids with severe ADD, and all kinds strange and wonderful other things. I had virtually no training, and absolutely no warning. I worked hard. And I pulled through, and in the end, I’d say the vast majority of these kids are better off, or at least just not thoroughly damaged. I worked really hard for something positive, and I think I got it.
That said, I am really happy to be turning to the next thing in my life. This was in many ways the hardest thing I have ever done. Luckily, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and after these last few days, I am sure that I have not been killed.
On Saturday, October 1, this blog will become Maggie Cube Goes to India! Stay tuned for the next exciting episode….