Yes, yes, a whole month and I’m back to my blog. I’ve been trying to figure out what to write. I kind of wrote something about my first few days in Busan, but it got so long because so much happened and then I forgot to keep writing, because even more was happening and it was hard to find some time to sit down and write a blog post. But, I thought I’d post something now as tomorrow will be a whole month since I started teaching (technically I didn’t teach on the first day, but I was in the building)!
My first post on this blog was me freaking out about moving to South Korea, and how I was just Unsure about everything. And while I still kind of am sometimes, everything is just not as bad as I thought it would be. I’ve always been someone who could adapt well to different situations, so homesickness isn’t something I’ve been worried about and it hasn’t even crossed my mind (at least not yet). I live a ten minute walk from the beach (which is still amazing to me) and I’m slowly settling in to certain routines. I have a place I like to go to if I want a good and quick meal and if I want to be by myself, but it’s also a place I can go with my friends after school and we need some sustenance. I know a cafe near the beach that has the best grapefruit ade. I know a bakery that sells some great red bean donuts. Okay, I realize those are all related to food, but that’s an important thing for me! The lady at the convenience store near me is nice and recognizes my face now. I know other foreign teachers in my building who have in turn introduced me to their friends. I know I’m not really ever alone. My co-teachers and co-workers at both of the middle schools I teach at are so nice and welcoming. I’m so lucky with where I am.
And… teaching isn’t terrible. Sure, I have bad days and some classes just aren’t responsive to me at all. Some days I just drop down into my chair in the teacher’s office or my classroom, feeling defeated and unsure if the kids are even getting anything from my classes. Some days, some class periods, get so bad that I want to just give up. But, some days it’s great. I have my favorite classes and even the classes that give me headaches and don’t know the meaning of ‘settle down’ have a special place in my heart, because they can be so active and enjoyable.
Today, my co-teacher went on a business trip so I had to teach two classes by myself. The first class I had was one of my first grade classes (I love all my first graders in both of my schools). I didn’t do anything that required a lot of explaining, but I had them use as much English as they could (number 1 rule in my classes) and at the end of class right before I was leaving, one of the boys sitting at the front said, “Momo Teacher, English class is so fun!” That made me smile so hard, because even if all of my other kids can’t stand my class, at least one student enjoys it. And that’s kind of worth it.
The other class I taught by myself is easily one of my most difficult classes. When I had my first real lesson with them a few weeks ago, I had to turn toward the wall, close my eyes and take full, deep breaths as my co-teacher patted me on the back. Today, as I ushered them from our usual classroom to their homeroom class, the girls waited for me at the door, saying “Down! Together!” so we could walk down the stairs as one. The boys are always screaming in class and it can be hard to settle them down, but they’re fun and they actually know a lot of English so I don’t mind it as much. All in all, it was a good class which surprised me. Even though I personally thought I could have done better, I think they got at least a little something from it which is all I can ask for.
I can’t believe it’s already been a month since I’ve been here. So much has happened and it feels like a fever dream, but I know that this is just the beginning. I have 10 more months and I’m so excited to see where I am at the end.