Here It Goes Again

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It's finally the first day. In theory vacation is something you're supposed to enjoy, but the allure fades after the months drag on. I'm not great at self-motivating, but I also hate feeling as if I'm not accomplishing something, so vacation always ends up either driving me crazy or making me gloomy. Or both! Such a lovely combo those two make.

Proper classes don't start until tomorrow, so I get one more night of fitful sleep before I face the students once again. Today was just the entrance ceremony and a chance for the students to collect their textbooks. The one stressful thing about the ceremony is that they bring all the teachers up on stage, in groups of about ten, to introduce them to the new and returning students. Last year I didn't realize this was going to happen until I was being pushed onto stage, but fortunately this year I was more prepared.

The best part is listening to how loudly the students cheer for each teacher; it's like a litmus test for popularity, ranging from polite clapping to full-fledged cheering and waving. Last year, when I was still relatively new and unknown, I merited a mere polite clap with scattered cheers. This year, however, my name was greeted with a dull roar, and I was high-fived the whole way back to my seat. It's a small thing, but it means a lot. They remember me. They care enough to cheer for me.

As usual, I'm nervous about starting up teaching again. I like to think that someday I'll be able to relax about class, but honestly I doubt that day will ever come. Besides, as I told Tara earlier, I think my panic sharpens my focus. The biggest thing I'm upset about is my absolute favorite co-teacher, Hyeonji, who is more than just a co-worker, practically an older sister, is leaving me for 6 months to study English in Vancouver, Canada. I'm truly happy for her and it's a great opportunity, but I feel so lost without her. Asking for help is not something I'm good at, but I was finally at a comfort level with her that made it a lot easier. Now I'm not even sure who I should go to among the English teachers. Did they even deputize someone as my handler? Am I a free agent? I don't even know who to ask.

Don't leave meeeee

Even so, I feel pretty good about my chances this year. I learned a lot last year, I leveled up, and I'm ready to start fresh and do things even better this year. That's something I love about teaching- you are constantly learning, changing, and hopefully improving. I'm reminded of artists, actually, the way they paint or draw something and think, yeah, that looks pretty good, but 3 months later they want to set it on fire, because they've improved their skills to the point where the piece from three months ago looks like garbage in comparison. I feel the exact same way about lesson plans. While some stuff just needs a bit of polishing and editing, some lessons that I thought were great at the time look amateurish and weak compared to what I'm doing now. But hey, I guess that means I'm learning from my mistakes!

So, once again, here's to a fantastic new semester! Wish me luck...I think I'm going to need it.

Teacher Pretty
Middle school ESL teacher, lover of pink, eater of kimchi, addicted to Etude House, expert procrastinator, meeter of 2-dimensionial popstars: Ana. That's me.

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