Graduation Day

No, I’m not talking about a Denzel movie. It’s graduation day in Buldang Elementary. I’m not sure, but from what my students said, the ceremony is only for the sixth graders, of which I only have one. And he’s not exactly my favorite student. He’s not bad in a behavioral sense. He doesn’t do anything. Literally nothing. He comes in and stares blankly at his book for an hour, then class ends and he leaves. For a long time I spent a lot of energy to make him work, but I finally gave up. So, I don’t think I’ll be attending the ceremony.

It also means that I think attendance in my classes will be pretty light today. Yesterday, Mia wrote a note on the board and asked me to let the kids know that they still had class on Friday as usual. At first, I didn’t understand why we needed to make special note of this, but then she mentioned the graduation thing and that there’s no school tomorrow, but still an after school program. A lot of the kids seemed incredulous that we’d have our program today. Many students told me that they wouldn’t be coming to class. My response? “Good! Thumbs up“. That’s always my response when students say they’re not coming to class. Not because I dislike them and don’t want to see them (okay, well maybe sometimes), but because I feel like any day these kids get a break and aren’t in school is a good day for them.

My first class yesterday was pretty rough. Actually, the worst student didn’t show up, miracle of miracles, since he hardly ever misses a day. But two other kids really stepped up their game, and nothing I did could settle them down. I tried the hands up thing, but that didn’t work. Tried making them hold up books, but that didn’t work. I actually gave one kid so many books he physically couldn’t fit all of them into his hand, and he was still laughing about it, dancing around, making a goddamn scene. Really tested my patience. After class, I kept them, them walked them to the Korean teacher’s room and told Mia how bad they had been and asked her to call their mom’s. When she said that, their demeanor changed pretty goddamn fast. Good.

I have to admit, all of February, knowing it was the last three weeks I’d be teaching and the last three weeks of the program at the school, my work ethic and motivation to teach has dropped to about zero. Some of the classes with smaller books I’ve pretty much finished, but other classes with thicker books, I knew I wouldn’t finish and have not even really tried to. I could assign a shit ton of homework to finish, but at this point I just don’t give a shit.

Today shouldn’t be too bad, though. I’ve got my good first grade class to start. Then the next two classes I’ve just got a game to play. I feel bad, since all month, because of my loss of motivation and enthusiasm, I haven’t really been having fun with my classes. It’s just been “Okay class, time to read. Next, get your books. Do these pages. Okay, class is over, leave.” I feel like I’m taking it out on the kids a bit, so we’re playing games. Then I’ve got my free hour before my last class of the day. With them, it’s not like we work really hard, but it’s also not very fun either. Still, I have just enough time to finish the book, so I can’t just totally blow it off, so the last hour will be just book work, though that class I always end like 5-7 minutes early. They also have zero motivation to do work, so halfway through class I just say “Okay, we need to finish these pages. As soon as you’re done, you can leave. Faster you work, faster you go. Chop chop.” Literally.

Extra curricularly speaking, this weekend is looking fuzzy. Tonight there’s a salsa party at Dolce. There’s usually a good turn out for those, though not being much of a dancer, it’s not exactly my kind of scene either. I may leave early with other people if they’re interested in finding something else to do. Saturday, I’ll be in Hongdae, though I’m not entirely at what time, with who, or what for. So, whatever happens happens, I guess.


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