This is what I looked like when I first arrived in Korea, back in spring of 2008. At that time I was exhausted but also thrilled to start my Korean life. For the next four years I learned a lot about Korean culture, it's people and mostly myself. I've had two serious Korean boyfriends in that time, and they helped shape my experience here. So what am I getting at?
I'm leaving Korea.
I made it! The last week of my first year at S* school is coming to it's end. I am amazed I made it this far considering how difficult it was at the beginning. Also I am impressed at how much my students have advanced and grown. Now I get to see them continue to grow in the 2nd grade.
All I have left are November, December and bits of February for next year. I suppose I can get to those in time, as they are far away. Still there is the need in me to keep punching them out, however ridiculous that sounds.
Because I booked my vacation tickets through Hanatour I have to wait 48 hours before my flight to select my seats. I can't sleep without the window seat and so am trying my best to be patient. Hopefully, my flight will have a lot of, "I hate the window seat" type folks.
Things to do before heading off on my vacation:
- Get Tom to his brother's house for cat sitting.
Back at work here doing the normal thing of classes and then break time. I would be lesson planning right now, but the current 2nd grade teacher asked for her books back. I think I have a copy of the Volume 2 book back at my house, so that can help me later. Just won't have the teacher's guide, however I didn't rely on it too much.
Got the word I will sign my new contract next Tuesday. They are giving the resigning teachers 20 minutes each to get it done and ask any questions. I hope they give me the raise I asked for, but we will see. I'm excited as this will be my first time resigning. :)
So unless the Principal or some oddball person doesn't want me to be here, then it is a "No." So everything sounds good I guess...just hoping so.
Still waiting to hear about my contract. But randomly one of the homeroom teachers (the one I have been talking to) enlightened me of something good. She said she asked the other homeroom teachers about my staying here, and told me that they are all okay with me staying.
Today our school held our usual monthly meeting. On the agenda "contract renewals." When I saw this I got excited and thought something along the lines of, "If you put down 'yes' as your response, then you folks got the job" was going to be announced. Instead, they just announced that people need to make up their minds by Nov. 8th and someone will be coming to you around next week to talk about the contract.
Anyways, I have a strong feeling they will let me renew but of course am still nervous.
In other news, Tom is doing well and has grown a thick winter coat for the cold days ahead. Of course, I will keep him warm inside my house.
My ex dropped off Tom's carrier basket (he borrowed it a few weeks ago) and it was a little hard to see him again. I still feel confused about what happened to us, but nowadays feel it really was for the best.
Turns out they won't talk about contract renewals till "sometime" in November. I am hoping that means next week. I had an interview at this school around the third week of November last year, so I am thinking they get things ready by the beginning of the month.
To be honest, I am tired and just want this to be over with. I don't think I was prepared walking into this, due to that it is becoming so rigorous. Maybe I was naive in that department, or all this "life" stuff blinded me.
But really I am keeping my chin up and hoping for the best. I think the kids will perform well, but that mine will look a little different from the rest.
I think next week they will announce if they will give me another contract or not. So I am kind of holding my breath till then. With my release of being in a relationship I feel like anything is possible, which is both good and scary.
Drama Festival is next week and so the kids have been pushed to practice their script, dances and positions. The pressure seems to steam off from the homeroom teachers throughout the day. I am trying my best to keep a cool head and also just do the job of practicing with the students.
Their system is a bit different and seems more friendly. Since there are 22 foreign folks working here I guess they need to streamline everything. They sent out a mass-message asking us to respond to a survey by the second-to-last week of this month. I already enthusiastically filled mine out and handed it in. My answer was a definite, "YES." I want to stay at the school and even continue teaching first grade math.
As a contract teacher there comes a point where you don't know if you will be asked to stay or go for the next year. At my past two public elementary schools I was given the thumbs down on staying at their schools. So this time I really want to be asked to stay.
I feel this vacation was especially good for me because I feel balanced out. The free time allowed me to understand what transpired during the last semester and what I need to focus on for the next. I feel mentally ready to take on the challenges.
As I woke up semi-late this morning (7:45 AM) I knew tomorrow was going to be a work day. Usually I am woken by Tom nudging me or climbing on top of me to get a good petting in before the day starts. On work days I can only give him that good petting for a short little time. But I am not here to complain, just saying my lovely two weeks of vacation are quickly ending.
I left Gimpo, Seoul last Tuesday and headed to Jeju island. Gimpo airport is significantly smaller than it's Incheon counterpart. There were a few shops and restaurants but generally it is a lot more simple.
As I waited to board my plan, Jin Air, I thought about how this vacation was going to go. I refreshed my memory of essential Korean I would need to use and got to know the layout of Jeju via a map on my Android phone.
The good half, on the other hand makes me feel warm inside when a toothless-girl smiles at me and we giggle together. This half makes me believe that I can transform the subject of "Math" and turn it into "Math English." I feel hopeful and full of life!
Today I am writing this post but if things go grammatically wrong do forgive me. Work has been culminating into a pool of half good and half bad. The good half are the groups of children that function in the classrooom, and the bad half are the groups of children that are dysfunctional in the classroom. What has ended up happening is that the bad half drains the life out of me and makes me wish I wasn't a teacher.