Goodbye on a high note
The thing that caused me to want to leave Korea was the continual movement of dirty cigarette air into my apartment. It had nothing to do with my students. I did have two challenging classes from a management perspective, but that challenge helps me grow as a teacher. I loved working with my students.
One of my main personal goals was to at least get my high level students to the point where they could debate a subject. Debate really only requires confidence, ability to make sentences with comparative words, and the ability to say "I agree/disagree because…" It is easily within grasp of elementary students here that do the coursework. Games help build confidence, since students don’t want to lose. If they don’t speak, they automatically lose. They don’t need to do homework to do it.
During last week’s English camp, my goal became reality. Even the lower level students could have gotten to the point of debate had I been able to do a week long series of classes with them. I was very proud of them. Outside of that, the entire English camp went well.
If I were to decide on my contract now, I would have chosen to re-sign. Perhaps I should have re-signed and simply demanded a new apartment. It seems that my replacement teacher will be in a new apartment anyhow. The drama surrounding this one and the landlord’s laziness toward resolving the problem certainly didn’t impress the administration of my school. The pollution definitely hindered my creativity. Summer has definitely helped improve things – the humidity makes it easier to clean the air, and the warm air means I can keep my windows open most of the time. I have had more opportunities to test out my ideas and I have come across some good books with things to try.
Assuming Korea’s currency doesn’t do a repeat of 1997, I might just end up back here soon. It is too bad the currency has lost about 10% of its value in the past month. Not an encouraging sign, but it was obvious it wouldn’t stay where it was after the government unloaded 10 billion US dollars to strengthen the won.