Last weekend, my students graduated kindergarten–a two-hour ceremony that featured caps and gowns, song and dance acts, and a re-imagined version of The Blind Men and the Elephant, for which I constructed a miniature elephant from cardboard, felt, and packing tape–the same tape I used to seal up the three boxes I shipped home to Canada.
This week, while I begin my travels through India, my students will begin Grade 1 and the start of a long road through Korea’s education system: days in public school, afternoons in hagwons, and evenings spent studying, often until they sleep.
I want to give them backyards to run around in and afternoons off and free time with their friends. I want to give them a school life that inspires them to form their own ideas about themselves and the world. I want their little spirits to to thrive and grow and create. Have fun, I told them, kneeling down to hug each one in our last moment together. I will miss you.
They have graduated kindergarten, but in my mind they’ll be six years old forever, lined up in coats and boots, handing me colour-paper cards that say Goodbye Courtney Teacher. I love you. Please don’t forget me.
ps–I am writing this from Delhi.
Up next: Post #100 on Coco Busan (last one!) with the link to my new blog…