Monday, April 23, 2012


I've always known that kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade are not my favorite ages. They're basically puppies, only you can't put them in a kennel. They can't do things on their own, they want affirmation all the time, and they crave so much attention. One child like that is cute, a classroom full of them makes me want to scream. Multiply that by 529, and that is how I feel about them in a foreign language. In English you can try to reason with them and you might make a little progress, in Korea there is zero chance of that happening. And I have at least 1 class of these puppies every day, sometimes 3. I'm not sure if I tolerated it more in the beginning, if the kids have gotten worse, or what's going on, but lately I just can't stand those classes. I feel like I can't even make them sit still without yelling...they're probably not learning a whole lot of English except maybe "sit down" "stop doing that" and "are you kidding me?!" Principal would probably not approve.

But at church yesterday I was talking with the guest pastor, and I asked her if she'd ever lived abroad because she's Korean but her English was so good. She said she's never left Korea, and then she said something along the lines of "be encouraged, it's possible for students to learn English well in Korea." And it actually was really encouraging. I don't always see a lot of progress, but maybe by the time my kiddos are her age they'll be as fluent as she is. I think sometimes I forget that learning English is really hard, because it's not hard for me, haha. I know that sounds so stupid but its true. 

She also said that even as a child, not able to communicate a whole lot with her English teachers, she was able to tell who cared and who was there for the paycheck. And that is huge. I absolutely get frustrated and impatient, and I probably don't hide it well enough. I think sometimes the classroom just breeds negative emotions. But I want them to learn. I want to push them and challenge them and actually teach them something. If I didn't care, we'd be playing hangman every day and I wouldn't yell at them when they don't bring their pencils ('re in school!) and it wouldn't matter if they were talking to their friends instead of listening to me. I have all the answers kids. Pay attention.

So it was cool to talk to someone from the student perspective who is fluent enough to communicate her opinion. I thought about it a few times at work today and it made me feel better. I'm not sure how long these nice feelings are going to last, but maybe they'll stick.

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