If you know me at all, you know that I have never really been a huge fan of children. They’re dirty, they’re loud, they’re blunt, and they’re always getting in your face. I took a gamble on myself when I accepted this job that I’d open myself up to the idea of being more outgoing with children. Well, I can officially say after one week at Shinwon Elementary that I LOVE kids. Let me clarify – I LOVE kids that I don’t have to take care of after 4:40 PM….
This week, my 5th graders were learning how to answer “What did you do on vacation/this weekend?” We played a game of telephone where students alternated between drawing a picture and writing a sentence to describe that picture. The lesson also introduced some simple verbs in past tense (went, bought, wore, etc.). I gave the kids sentences in past tense, expecting to get responses at the end of “I go to concert” or something along those lines. However, while I was monitoring the teams, I caught a glimpse of this beauty:
Now, for all of you reading, you’re probably thinking “this is a slightly higher than mediocre drawing of someone riding a bike…so what??” When I saw this picture, it was the first time that I felt like my students had really grasped the concept of the lesson and were working hard to practice and use it. For those of you that don’t know, English classes in elementary schools in Korea are mandatory, but don’t actually count for anything. In other words, there is no reason for these kids to even show up, let alone put forth 1% effort. I was so excited to see this drawing because I saw that these 2 students were making sure to use the grammar we learned in this unit even during a silly game. I think this is the moment that made me feel like I made the right choice to come here. I never saw myself becoming a teacher, but there is something so beautiful in knowing that something you say to someone when they are 11 years old could make a difference in their lives. Maybe these kids will grow up and stop speaking English as soon as they are finished with school, and maybe they’ll go on to become English teachers. Either way, I’m looking forward to going on this ride with them and having lots of fun along the way!