Happiness is…

… the students’ palpable excitement to have me teach them once again (it’s been 3 weeks now because of the speaking test). The levels of rapport, efforts to communicate, and laughter were exponentially higher in all of my classes. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that.

… seeing the joy (and sometimes incredulity) on the faces of the kids who did well on the speaking test when they hear their scores. “I’m satisfied,” said one boy contentedly. “I love you,” said another. “Oh! He confessed!” cried a third. (Confess = 고백 = tell someone you love them romantically for the first time.) Laughter ensued.

… not having to say a single word during the review section of this week’s lesson – just displaying the slide with bits of the dialogue or key expressions (some/most words hidden from their view, e.g. “_____ you _____” and they have to say “Could you recommend…”), and hearing my whole class chant the key expressions on their own. No prompting, no direction. I love it.

… finally feeling a spark of kinship with the co-teacher I hadn’t quite clicked with yet, quite suddenly and for no apparent reason. Suddenly our relationship just feels more at ease, friendlier, and far more cooperative when we’re in the classroom together. I have no idea why but I’m not complaining. (To be honest, I think we’ve both felt a bit awkward around each other, perhaps afraid that the other didn’t like us, struggling with communication at times – but we have each been making small efforts to be kind, help each other out, etc., and I think it finally knocked down a barrier.)

… 4:30 on a Friday. I love my kids and my job, but man it’s exhausting by the time Friday rolls around.

P.S. Sadness is when my co-teacher asks to take over my favorite class today because she needs to review with them for the final exam. *cries*


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