I’m proud of my students

Today’s choral contest was by far my favorite school event.  There are some students who hurt my feelings and disrespect me on a regular basis, but i loved every single one of my students today.  How could you not love them when they’re singing like little angels?

I know all i talk about on this blog is school now, but that’s the thing:  i love school and it’s my favorite thing to talk about.  This job is no doubt the toughest i have ever had.  Sometimes i wanted to quit, sometimes i hated my school, but i think i’ve always secretly loved it.  I get along so well with everyone and i’ve made the place my second home.  I know the majority of my students—their names and class numbers—and most of the teachers in the main teachers’ office.  The weekly journals were an important part of building a relationship with the students; we shared interests and food/cultural recommendations over them, and sometimes, they shared more personal things, to which i always, always replied.  I’ve gotten thank you letters, and i’ve gotten hate letters.  But i gave my end-of-semester speech to each of my 2nd grade classes, and they all listened attentively and thanked me in return.

2-1 wasn’t so bad at the beginning of the semester, but after i lost some students’ work, they banded together and refused to pay attention in class.  I got the most negative feedback on my evaluations from this class.  I really hated them at times and at one point, i came close to telling the vice principal that i refuse to teach them (before you call me crazy, the VP and i are tight, so i would’ve gotten away with this).  But i forgive them now and understand that some students just hate school, and nothing’s going to change that.

2-2 was my worst class at first.  They were the loudest and most difficult to control.  What made it worse was that the co-teacher i teach it with didn’t know how to discipline.  I was the harshest and strictest with this class, and now they’re one of my most attentive and obedient classes.  Towards the end of the semester, their journals were the best.  This was the only class that learned to follow all of my instructions for journals.

2-3 has always been great listeners.  My head co-teacher (and the co-teacher for this class) is their homeroom teacher, so teaching this class with her was always fun.  They must’ve liked me; the majority of the ECA (English Conversation Ambassador) program’s applicants came from this class.

2-4 wasn’t really special to me in any way for the first half of the semester.  I don’t remember what they were like then.  I think my relationship with them now can be summed up by what a student wrote on my evaluation:

To. n______ teacher!

I met you first time, I don’t like you.

But now, I love you because you so kind than my think.

And call me please when semester are worried you.

While half of year, thank you for your teaching

They have taken 2-5’s spot as my favorite class.  I don’t know what happened, but ever since my American high school life lesson (during which they got really excited and laughed so hard at my high school pictures), they’ve loved me.  They’re not a very smart bunch, but they did the best on the last essay.  I’d say this was the class that showed the most improvement.  This is also the class that won the choral contest today.  수지, the student conductor, won the conductor award.  I knew she’d win, cos she really was good, and everyone knew 2-4 would win the singing award.  They’re known for their singing.  And their dance parties at lunch.

2-5 was initially my favorite class because they were so personable and any lesson i prepared worked like a charm with them.  A friendly and enthusiastic bunch, those girls.  This is the only class i visited to have lunch with (our students eat lunch in their classrooms)—once to talk to a student about attending college abroad, and another time just because.  Good, charismatic students, but not very loyal.  2-3 and 2-4 are the loyal ones.  I know i can depend on them.

2-6 is the repressed class; they have a strict homeroom teacher.  They’re the smartest, but also the quietest, so i was never able to get them to talk.  In fact, they were so quiet that i couldn’t even tell what they thought about me.  Most of the time, it seemed like they were emotionless.  They simply did what they were told, nothing more, nothing less.  But for some reason, their applause was warmest when i gave my end-of-semester speech.  Also, i need to give a shout-out to 형주 and 해리 here.  형주 has improved so much over the course of the semester, and she has such a positive attitude in class.  She wasn’t that great a student at first, but she worked hard and even won a prize in the English essay writing contest.  Her essay was the most passionate, and i was so happy to be able to give her a prize.  해리 is interesting.  She didn’t stand out to me until the last few weeks of school, when she suddenly started listening intently in class.  She did almost no work until this point, but she became one of the most attentive students.  I still don’t understand why.  Teenagers are impossible to figure out.

I didn’t get to know my 1st graders too well because i didn’t see them enough.  I’m looking forward to having a select few of them next year, though; that is, if they even give me 2nd grade classes next year.

I could’ve done a lot of things better, but i think i’ve also accomplished a lot.  Many of the students wrote in the evaluations that their English has improved a lot.  I didn’t realize it because it was such a gradual improvement, but i can see it now:  i don’t teach 2-7 and 2-8 because they’re 이과, the Math and Sciences track (as opposed to 문과, the Liberal Arts track, which is classes 2-1 through 2-6), and my students did much better than them in both the essay writing contest and the English Golden Bell.  So much better, in fact, that i couldn’t help but turn my nose up a bit at classes 7 and 8 (i wouldn’t have been so immature about it if they weren’t so cocky and condescending to my students).  The six writing contest winners came from classes 2-3, 2-5, and 2-6, and the three winning classes in the Golden Bell were 2-2, 2-3, and 2-4.  From reading the essays, i could tell that some of my students remembered the things i’d taught them.  The 이과 students’ essays were so chock full of Konglish, it was disgusting.  And Ms. Ko tells me their English is usually better than the “stupid” 문과 students’!

I think i’ve taught my students well.  There is no English Conversation class for 3rd graders, but i hope they keep writing.  I can’t wait to exchange hellos with them in the hallways next year, to have my ambassadors come to my assembly and talk to my new students about my class.  I’m excited to see them mature into responsible adults.  They’ve completed my course, so they have a leg up on those 이과 girls.  ;-)

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