Monday, April 2, 2012

Leaving Korea

            Well this is going to be my last blog post in Korea.  Korea was everything I wanted but nothing I expected. It's been an incredible year and one I'll remember fondly for the rest of my life.
            If there was one thing I wasn't prepared for it was saying goodbye to my students and coteachers.  I'd told my kids that I was leaving a good month in advance so they wouldn't be surprised.  It would be easier to transition between myself and the new teacher if the kids felt a part of the process.  So, all the classes knew who the new teacher was before she came and were excited to meet her.  She taught in America so I was relieved that I only had to teach her our system and not how to manage the class too.  I gave her the reins Thursday and Friday and she was great.  After she taught, each class gave me some cards they had written and it was overwhelming to receive them.  

Typically focused Korean students.

Kenny being awesome.

Group shot.  The boy on the far right told me, "Teacher I want to blow up all the planes in Korea so you can't leave." That's high praise coming from him!
One of my TOEFL classes wrote on the board.
Here they are. The most frustrating but rewarding class in the whole school. They weren't bad just middle school girls. Trying to figure out their moods was like trying to predict the wind.
The other TOEFL class and my Wolfpack. Teaching them was the highlight of my Tuesday and Thursday's.

Some of the Elementary kids wrote on another board.
One last group shot with all the teachers. Mi Eun is on the far left.
            Now for all my thanks to the people I met here.  First, I have to thank my boss Mi Eun.  I heard some horror stories about other Hagwon's but I had nothing but a great experience working at Jisan Hangil.  All the teacher's were excellent and fun to work with but her professionalism, positive attitude and love for her students set the bar.  Secondly, my coworker Joshua. He was a great guy to hang out with and work with.  Always prepared but never stressed, I loved sharing ideas about what we could do to get our students excited for class. Next, to all the people I met in Gwangju.  Jonathan, Graham, Phil, Maggie, Jack, Kezia, Leanne, Iris, Travis and Erin y'all made this year.  To Tim and Tony at First Alleyway you guys were my Western Food anchor.  Our conversations were always interesting no matter where they led.  To Song at German Bar thanks for showing me the Gwangju behind the curtain.  To Ji Hae and YoungChung at Cafe Florida your coffee was incredible and your company even better.  To all the rugby boys, you helped me settle into Korea and start living here.  James Ewen you are my Enkidu.  To my friends and family back home thanks for all the letters, cards and gifts. They did a great job keeping me in good spirits while covering my atrocious wallpaper.
            Last but certainly not least I have to thank The Lady.  It wasn't easy following this road away from you but having your support was like having matches in my pocket.  You never made too much light to blind me nor distract me from seeing the sights but you always gave me enough to keep me on the right path.  I can't wait to see you and start walking together on our own journey.