The first day (for the 4th time)

It’s really odd to think that I’ve had four “first days” of school in Korea now. I’m grateful that I’m no longer shaking with nerves/stomach in knots before heading into the classroom, at least. The stress headache, however, I have not been able to shake.

The air is clean. We had a total downpour (+ a rare little bit of thunder and lightning) all through the night, and the wind is still blowing south/west. When the wind blows east we get a faceful of China’s horrifically dirty air. (Seriously China, clean up your act. You’re literally killing people all over Asia with your pollution.) But for now, and hopefully for the next several days, our air is almost the best it can be.


5 is ridiculously good. The past months have almost always been between 90 (“moderate”) and 160 (“unhealthy”).

It wasn’t a super busy day, but there’s always a bit of running around on the first day of classes. Having quick after-class conversations with my co-teachers about what’s to come, directing lost 1st graders who wander into my classroom, instructing the kids on their cleaning duties at the end of the day, etc. When I finally sat down at my desk I was surprised to see that it was already 4:19 p.m.

It’s nice to be busy. Not every minute, not every day, but sometimes a busy day is a satisfying thing to have accomplished and/or survived.

The new 3rd graders’ already-apathetic behavior is making me miss my 3rd graders from last year. I feel like I didn’t appreciate them enough for being as respectful and engaged as they were.

“So Maddy, do you miss your old 3rd graders?” “No, I’m fine…” (via)

The 1st graders are, as always, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, looking so cute and little fresh out of elementary school, bringing their pencil cases and textbooks and notebooks and backpacks to class just in case they forget something. That will change all too soon, but it’s always fun for the first little while.

I didn’t have any 2nd graders at all today, so we’ll have to see how the rest of the week goes. 1 day down, 4 to go!

yay. (via)


Fresh start

++ The rain came the night before last and brought clean, fresh air to Daegu for the first time in ages.

++ I know that I’m ready for school to start because I looked at the sea of students lined up in the auditorium today and didn’t feel exhausted. I felt excited.

++ Although today is the “first day of school,” no one has classes. It is Friday, after all, so it’s nice to push the actual start to Monday. Today is just about ceremonies, orientation and meetings.

++ I’m finally back in my own office instead of the shared main office with a bunch of other people, so I get to work and/or refuel in absolute peace. (My office-mate is a part-time teacher, so she’ll only be here Tues/Thurs.)

++ The two 2nd graders who’ve been assigned to clean my office and classroom this semester are good kids with cheerful attitudes, and not the kind who will pretend not to understand me if I ask them to sweep the classroom floor and take out the trash. Small things like this can make such a huge difference.

++ A now-3rd-grade girl came to see me, crying “Teacher, long time no see! I love you!” She hugged me, which was a surprise because a lot of students are too shy to do that.

++ I’m ready. Bring on Monday!