Friday, December 14, 2012

Accepting Endings and Putting Seals on Future Endeavors

As I sit in my classroom, at 4:22 pm, I should be getting ready to walk out the door but two important things have happened this week that made me feel as though an update (even if small) was necessary.

Our students have completed their English textbooks for the year.

On Monday and Wednesday when Jiyoung and I finished the last of the final chapter in the textbook, our students threw their books up in the air, shaking them around like maracas.  For the sixth grade, it's an even bigger celebration because these next few weeks will be the end of elementary school as they know it.  I had some mixed feelings about this.  I was HAPPY to be finished with the lame textbook because I knew that the few weeks ahead would be filled with fun winter camp days and teaching them Christmas carols.  However, I was sad because I am also aware that our time together is now extremely limited. I'm very proud of many of my students as I have actually seen improvements in some of their English abilities, even if it's just an increase in their confidence in the English room.  On Wednesday, when I stood in front of my fifth graders for the end of their final "book" lesson, tears filled my eyes.  Two of my girls were looking at me and saying something in Korean that I did not understand.  I looked to my co-teacher for a translation and she looked at me sadly, translating, "Don't go back to America, teacher." I looked at the girls and I said, "DON'T MAKE ME SAD!! Rachel Teacher's mother and father and brothers and sisters want her to come home! They miss me too!" My students stared me dead in the face and in all seriousness said, "Teacher mother and teacher father.. go to KOREA!" I laughed back, "bring them to Korea?!" They nodded their heads quickly, as if saying, "well that's exactly what should happen!" Of course I said, I didn't think they would want to come to Korea and my students began pleading... "teacher, please, please, please!"  I quickly reverted into, "time to study" mode in order to hold back the tears that I could feel forming behind my eyes. Saying goodbye to them on the last day is going to be so incredibly difficult. There will surely be tears in the English classroom on February 19th.

On a more exciting note, today I officially booked my flight for my backpacking trip in February!

I will officially be leaving Korea on Sunday, February 24th and heading to Bangkok! Upon arrival in Bangkok I will spend two days in the city and explore the area before heading to northern Thailand. In Chaing Rai,  Northern Thailand, a small orphanage with 13 children awaits my arrival. I will be spending two weeks volunteering at the center in conjuntion with the International Humanity Foundation.  I couldn't be more excited! As of now, I have the last two-three weeks open to explore more of southeast Asia (if I don't get too attached to the kids and decide to stay). My hope is to cross the border into Cambodia and spend some time there touring Angkor Wat, the oldest religious temple in the world.  After a short visit to Cambodia, I plan to hit at least one or two of the islands in Southern Thailand. I would like to spend at least four days sleeping in a beach bungalow or renting out a tent to sleep under the stars next to the clear blue waters on the coast. My first two weeks at the orphange are the only truly solid plans I have, so far.  I will be spending anywhere from 4-8 hours a day socializing/playing with the children and teaching them some English, although only four hours are required of tourist volunteers. The rest of the time, I will be free to explore the jungled areas in Northern Thailand. For most of my journey, I will be playing it by ear.  I believe that by drawing out and planning everything before I get there, I will be limiting myself.  I plan to thrive off the things I find and the people I meet and see where it takes me- let my spirit be my guide (I always did love Pocahontas).

I am obnoxiously excited for my upcoming adventure.  I am not sure at what point in my life I became so fascinated by travel (I think perhaps it was during my plane ride to Korea), but regardless, it is one of the greatest loves I have ever had.  The experiences are so raw and real, so worthy and inspiring, it brings ache and happiness to my heart all at once.  It's something I hope to continue to do forever (or at least until I have kids.)  Although, I know it's time for me to come home and secure a teaching job in the states, I also now know it's time for me to live.  Living every day life at home does not mean I have to stop living my adventures, my life IS an adventure and I just have to continue to cultivate these wonderful experiences for myself.  The world isn't going anywhere (as long as they aren't right about 12/21/12), but I, Rachel Lynn, am going everywhere and anywhere (except Russia, I really have no desire to go there).

And so, I will leave you with two things that inspire me: a beautiful quote and a man who inspires me and millions of other people around the world.

"Travel. Get the hell out of here and see what's out there.  Break your prejudice and see how people live elsewhere.  We develop empathy with this habit, we learn our potential in unfarmiliar surroundings, and we develop communication that isn't bound by language."

This is one of the many yearly videos titled, "Where in the World is Matt?"  Matt spends his time traveling the world and DANCING with people everywhere he goes (although now he has a wife and child).  The astounding thing about Matt is that through his videos he is able to show the world something that we ALL learn from travel, and that is this... even though we are all different, we are all just the same.  We all laugh, we all love, we all strive for things, we all suffer, we all want happiness... we all DANCE.  Thank you Matt for bringing the world together in such a simple way.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Funny Things My Students Say

No explanation necessary... (the compilation of these began quite long ago)

Rachel Teacher: What did you do yesterday?
Student with English name, Obama: I winner election!
Whole class: WOW! Congratulations!
Rachel Teacher: hahahahahha! GO OBAMA!

A student has a ball we use for classroom activities tucked inside his jacket.
Rachel Teacher: Give me the ball, please.
Student: (throws the ball back to me)
Rachel Teacher: (throws the ball to another student)

A student walks up to the front of the room to answer a question using the touch screen (one piece of his hair is sticking up in a peculiar way).
A bunch of students begin laughing.
Rachel Teacher: Why are you laughing?
Student: Teacher, Hector's hair is... WIFI!
Hector: It's beautiful.

Rachel Teacher: Which prediction did you choose? A, B, or C?
Student: B.
Rachel Teacher: Okay. Can you read B for me?
Student: B.
Rachel Teacher: No.. I mean ACTUALLY read B.
Student: I did. B.
Rachel Teacher: READ THE SENTENCE!

Rachel Teacher: Today we are going to sing a song.
Student: Today we are... teacher, no thanks-uh.

Rachel Teacher: How often do you wash your hands?
Student 1: I wash my hands once a year!
Rachel Teacher: ONCE A YEAR?! Are you sure?
Student 1: Yes.
Student 2: Dirty boy!!
Student 3: Don't touchy me!

Student: Rachel Teacha... I haveeee-uh GIRLFRIEND-uh!
Rachel Teacher: Really? Who?
Student: Her name is LADY GAGA!
Rachel Teacher: (laughing) Really? Lady Gaga?
Student: YESSS-uh! We eat steak and also drink the wine in restaurant!
(fast forward to the next day)
Rachel Teacher: How is your girlfriend?
Student: Girlfriend is NO. She kicked to me.
Rachel Teacher: Really? That's too bad!
Student: Now my best is-uhhhh... ROMNEY!
Rachel Teacher: (staring blankly) Where do you learn these things!?
Student: LADY GAGA!

No students want to volunteer to do a dialog role play. Naturally, I bribe them with candy.
Rachel Teacher: I will give you candy?!?! (flashes the goods)
(Just about every students' hand shoots up)
Student 1: Beautiful teacher, pick me!
Student 2: Wonderful, beautiful teacher, I love you.
Student 3: Amazing spider man teacher, give-uh me the candiessss!
Student 4: NO! Rachel Teacher, wolverine! Wolverine teacha, wolverine teacha!
Student 5: Show me the money!
Rachel Teacher: (laughing uncontrollably)

Student: Rachel Teacher, are you married?
Rachel Teacher: No.
Student: I LOVEEEEEE Rachel Teacher! Do you have a boyfriend?
Rachel Teacher: do your work...
Student: Teacher!!!... I LOVE YOU!

Student: (pointing to another student) Dan is CASANOVA!
Rachel Teacher: Why? Dan has many many girlfriends?
Student: No, Dan is many many gay.

Three students pick up a package in my classroom that my sister sent me from home.
Student 1: (sniffing the box) WOW! Smell is AMERICA! America smell, America smell!
Student 2 & 3: Begin sniffing the box.
Rachel Teacher: (observing and laughing in the corner)

Rachel Teacher: Do you want $10 US dollars or this candy? (showing him BOTH)
Student: (yelling) CANDYYYYY!!!
Rachel Teacher: Are you crazy? With ten dollars you can buy many candies!
Student: TEACHA... GIVE ME THE CANDY!!!!!!!!

During ball toss, pass and say..
Student 1 throws the ball to Student 2 and hits him in the head..
The WHOLE class all at once: HEAD SHOT!!!!!!

One student drops his pencil case and it burst open all over the floor.
All at once the whole class yells: UNBELIEVABLE!

Rachel Teacher: How old is Rachel Teacher?
Student: 145!

During a chant song about directions:
Song: Where is the bank, where is the bank? Go straight and turn left.
Students: (repeating...)
Song: Where is the school, where is the school?
Student 1: (screaming as though he can't take it anymore) I DON'T KNOW!!!!!!!

Rachel Teacher: What will you do this weekend?
Student: I will DATE with Rachel Teacher. Do you like date?
Rachel Teacher: Sorry, Rachel Teacher only dates Wolverine.

Rachel Teacher: Good morning!
Students: Good morning!
Rachel Teacher: How are you today?
Students: How are you today?
Rachel Teacher: Don't repeat.
Students: Don't repeat.
Rachel Teacher: I smell bad.
Students: I smell bad.
Rachel Teacher: I am stupid.
Students: I am stuuuupiiidddddd???...TEACHER, OH MY GOD!!! (laughing)
Rachel Teacher: I win!

Rachel Teacher: If you steal my candies again, I will eat your fingers.
Student: OH MY GOD.

Student: Wow. Rachel Teacher... hair.. shiny... very good! K-pop.

Student: Teacha's face is very small today... but eyes, SO BIG!
Not sure? Somewhere between a win and a lose.

Student: Teacha, eyes... circles. Very dark.

Rachel Teacher: Have you ever been to Seoul Zoo?
Students stare at me with wide eyes and look around at each other.
Rachel Teacher: WHAT?
Students: Teacher... SOJU!?!?
Rachel Teacher: OH MY GOD! NO! Seoul ZOO... you know.. THE POLAR BEARS LIVE THERE!

During a lesson on rooms of the house:
Rachel Teacher: What's in the bedroom?
Student 1: The bed is in the bedroom.
Rachel Teacher: Good. Where is the stove??
Students: It's in the kitchen!
Rachel Teacher: Good.. and where is Rachel Teacher?
Student 1: In the bathroom! (student's start laughing)
Rachel Teacher: (can't help but laugh) IN THE CLASSROOM!!!

Over time my students have learned what "chill out" means and how to use it in context since I frequently use the term when they get a little wacky.
Student 1: Teacher, he is writing no. Looks like worm.
Student 2: No, mine is like butterfly.
Rachel Teacher: Butterfly... like Rachel Teacher!
Student 2: Teacha, why?
Rachel Teacher: Because I am soooooooooo beautiful!
Student 1: Teacher... CHILL OUT!
Rachel Teacher: (laughing)

After first snow..
Enter two students with an actual snowman: Teacher, this is for you. SNOWMAN!
Rachel Teacher: Woww, very cool! Ummm... I think it might melt?
Students: Yes, here is a tissue.