Friday, July 23, 2010

Goodbye, Madeline Teacher: Students

My last weekend in Korea was nothing short of epic.

My last days at Swaton were on Thursday and Friday. As per Swaton tradition, I was allowed to have "snack parties" in every one of my classes.

It was really up to the kids to decide how involved they wanted their snack party to be--I had one class that didn't want a snack party at all, so we just did class as usual (NERDS). I definitely felt that a few of my snack parties were celebrations on both ends--there are certainly some kids at Swaton that I am elated to never have to see ever again, and I am sure they feel the exact same way about me. However, a lot of my classes went all out, and I was flabbergasted by the extent of their party planning skills. In my most epic class, I entered my classroom only to be sprayed in the face with "party snow"--like silly string that melts. I was presented with a massive cream cake and made to open a literal stack of gifts--which included an airplane neck travel pillow, really nice perfume, pens, and a lovely bejeweled mirror any ten year old would be nuts for.

David, the class clown, covered in party snow

SO. Flippin'. Cute.

Many an epic game of dodgeball was played, including a Madeline Teacher v. Everyone round

In my more subdued classes, I played card games and students brought me handwritten, Konglish-y notes, some of which simply have to be shared:
  • From Sunny, 6th grade: "Hello~! I'm Sunny. I can't English but meet teacher and I can English. Madeline Teacher thanks. I love teacher. Teacher one's home go? what? TT...bye bye? No want for. I'm very very sad...a...come back? I want come back! Goodbye...I love teacher."
  • From Jessica, 3rd grade: "Teacher! Every~~day is so happy your class/But your go to U.S.A.TT/Goodbye...teacher/thank you/for teaching/I love you~~No completely forget! I'm be thankful...why? I'm your student...never I'm happy, smile, thank you. I don't know your go to U.S.A. (-_-) I don't want to go to U.S.A. Your angry expression a look/I'm so sad...You go to U.S.A. your everydays so happy/Say I'm not happy I'm sad"
  • From Alice, 3rd grade: "Hello~~Maddlelin Teacher~~? TT Just go to the U.S.A. I think ten years old friend my classroom is studying together. not fun! No, play game (-_-)! And...just go to the live---? I think Maddlelin Teacher is to the U.S.A. my feeling is unsatisfactory. For all that no going am yearning is nobody...necessarily a not speak. Maddlelin Teacher, see you again, goodbye! P.S. Your nickname is cow! Hahahahaha."
In my favorite 6:10 class, I said goodbye to the only group of students I taught for the course of the entire year. Written on the board by my students in huge block letters was "DON'T GO MADELINE TEACHER," which I had to somberly erase at the beginning of the party. The mood was just absolutely toxic: everyone gloomily munched on their snacks, and even though I was able to get everyone pumped up for a few raucous games of dodgeball, at the end of class I had everyone line up for one last round of hangman. I spelt out on the board "_'_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _". They couldn't solve it, and as the bell rang, I filled it in: "I'LL MISS YOU". I burst into tears as I said the words out loud, and my students looked at me as if they were watching me sprout an extra leg or something.

It is highly unlikely I'll ever see any of these kids again, and though I know it is rare for teachers to keep in touch with their students forever, it still was really hard to say goodbye. I was really lucky to get to have some hilarious, intelligent, super-fun kids this year, and I'll miss (most of them) a lot...


  1. omg, how am i so behind on your blog ...! (and i know i currently owe you an email - it's coming!)

    meanwhile, the kids notes had me in tears from laughing so hard, maddlelin teacher! ahh hahaha!

  2. i got no notes, i was the worst teacher ever. i'm surprisingly okay with that.