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And it’s only Monday.

Let’s just say Year 2 is throwing me for a loop.

I kind of knew what to expect, having worked at this school twice a week last year, but coming here day after day with no respite (of going to my other school for the rest of the week) is wearing me down.

I’m still unsure whether I’m holding the kids or myself to too high a standard. Or both.

I rode the (negative) emotional waves today, from frustration to anger to annoyance. I obviously need to learn to let go of what I can’t control. If a CT simply isn’t going to support me in the way I’d like to be supported in the classroom, so be it. I have to work around it. (You’d think I’d have learned this last year. Obviously it didn’t sink in well enough.)

As for the kids, for the ones who don’t care about English and for the classes that feel like pulling teeth, I just cry on the inside and smile on the outside and slowly make my way to each table, making sure they practice at least once anyway, trying to help them understand what they’re saying. Even if as soon as I turn my back, they’ll start chatting in Korean again.

My last class today was 2nd grade, one of the most mixed level I have – meaning, some kids are at the top of the A level (could debate large-concept topics), others at the very bottom of the C (can barely read). I tried to balance, tried to have the A level kids help their C level partners, tried to chat a little about other stuff with some of the high level kids so they wouldn’t get bored, tried to encourage the ones who felt lost.

After finally getting to the end of this exhausting routine for the last time today, I sat down at my desk feeling drained in all ways possible.

A CT told me we have hweshik on Wednesday directly after school. Another CT asked me to help her record and be in video lectures for the students to watch at home. None of my CTs are on the same page as to what I’m teaching in each of their classes. A student asked me to help her friend study for midterms. Another group of students are expecting me to hold an English Club with them, and I’m all, hold up kids, I haven’t heard a word about that from any of the other teachers. Don’t you come marching into my office on Friday wondering why I’m not ready for English Club. (They will.)

Then I got a message from a teacher in the 2nd floor office about my health insurance documents, so I stepped outside my office to head down there and pick them up.

And as soon as I opened my office door, I was surrounded by 2nd graders – “Oh, hello teacher! How are you?” “Teacher, [in Korean] my brother found you on Facebook! Please accept my friend request!” “Teacher, you are so beautiful! Wow!” “Teacher,” and this boy offered both his hands to shake mine respectfully, “Teacher, I love you. I love you, Teacher.” “TEACHER I LOVE YOU!” crowed his two friends behind him.

Maybe it seems dumb, but these little moments help me hang in there. It’s something positive to focus on when these difficult, new-school-year, new-coworkers, new-schedule, new-curriculum times come along.

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