Sunday, December 6, 2009

Reflections along the way

I discovered during this journey how much I grew to love teaching. You hope to learn a lot about yourself through the eyes of your students. You see how fearful they can be when you first walk into that classroom, especially when you are not at all like them. It has been an amazing experience integrating with a culture that has just as many complexities as anywhere else.
The curtain is getting ready to close and I know I have less than three weeks in Daegu. There has been so much that I have seen and experienced here, much more than had I visited as a tourist. I have seen the beautiful heart that is present here. I have also seen closed minds with an air of superiority, just as you would see in any other part of the world. Sometimes a foreign view threatens the status quo. The stereotypes that hinge on cultural behavior can only be changed by individuals. I have learned to see through the appearances that are so carefully protected.
I have learned to be humoured by comparing the differences, like going to a movie theater and wanting to ask why all ticket holders receive assigned seats instead of being able to sit where you want. Then again, why ask why? Sometimes you just go with the flow and look at the seating chart to find your seat.
I have also been inspired by the creativity I have seen blossom. The creation of a space station out pieces of vegetation and apples from a six-year-old girl, named Kelly, made me realize I taught them more than English. I was also pleased to hear of one my students winning an art competition in the city. It is with these little touches on their lives, seeing their achievements, how much they have learned and have grown; I realized my own growth through them as well.
So as I watched kindergarten graduation pictures taken this week, for a graduation I won't be present for, I smiled for the camera as well. I was one of their first teachers. They were my first students. You really never forget your first teachers and I won't forget mine. It has been an honor to have been part of their lives.


Katherine Jenkins said...

This is a beautiful post and I am excited for you and your next chapter of life. Having lived in Korea for over 8 years, I had a love-hate relationship with it. There are so many things I really miss now and will probably go back next year. I've been living in the USA since 2006 and I realize that there are things I also love and hate about here, too. I think it happens wherever we go. Going with the flow is what helps me and I see you are doing that too.......good luck to you, Kathy

Marilyn said...

Thank you Kathy.

Lily Robinson said...

Thank you for being a teacher. It is a most important job.

Songo said...

Great blog!
Thanks for the mention on THE MELTING POT!

Marilyn said... thank you! You were the first blog to post something about Quills of Fire. I am not really big into the 'please buy my book', so your post was a wonderful surprise. I know Lena appreciated it to.

I enjoy reading your blog...and hope your blog continues to grow..all the best to you in South America.