Today is officially the beginning of year 2! My 4 besties left this week. Kyla and Garrett are home in New York, Katie's on vacation in Alaska, and Alissa is on vacation in Hawaii. It doesn't feel like they're gone yet. We went through so much together, and we became family. I know I'll see them all again, and I'm very happy for them to be home, but it'll be strange and a little sad not doing this year together. I love every minute I got to spend with them, but I wish they all would have left at the same time. The prolonged good-byes were pretty rough.
I have all new co-teachers. Jenny moved to another school. Yuri and Sam are classroom teachers, so I'll still see them around but I don't get to teach with them. Jenny's replacement was the 2nd grade teacher last year. She's about my age and she speaks English like a pro. I'm so excited to have her as my co-teacher! Sam's permanent replacement is currently on maternity leave, so I have what I think is a Korean student teacher for 3 months, then the other lady will come. I haven't met Yuri's replacement yet, but she's also pregnant and will be leaving around August. I guess it's baby season in Korea.
I'm going to teach evening classes Mondays and Tuesdays at Samshin Elementary School. I met the director and saw the school last week. I'll teach the low kids with a Korean co-teacher. There will be 2 other foreigners teaching classes as well, so I get to meet some new people. I'm excited for that to start. I'm also going to have weekly play dates with a 5 year old boy named Jun-gi. His mom wants me to speak English with him and she hopes he'll pick it up naturally. This week we read a few books, he showed me all his swords, and we had a snack together. Good times.
The one thing that isn't changing is my kids. I teach different combinations of kids because they've all moved up a grade level, but they're all still there. I haven't really taught some of them for a few months, so I got a lot of hugs today. I love that I already know their personalities and their abilities, and we can just continue where we left off. It's amazing how much you can love and form relationships even when you don't speak the same language. It's going to be very hard to say good-bye next year and turn them over to some stranger. I'm glad I get to do the same job 2 years in a row. I was looking at last year's lesson plans today and the beginning ones were not so great...there's definitely room for improvement.
Starting the new school year today really made me happy I stayed in Korea. If there were any doubts, they're gone now. This year is going to look very different from last year, and I definitely wish my friends were still here and I had the same co-teachers, but I still think it'll be great.