Classes were canceled today. Sometimes that happens. “Desk warming” is a term used among Guest English Teachers in Korea for when it does. It means we just sit at our desks and do nothing, basically. Of course there’s plenty of work to be done, but distractions usually keep me (us) quite busy.

This afternoon my distraction was four of my fifth and sixth grade girls rehearsing a song they’ll be performing for a teacher’s wedding ceremony tomorrow. My office turned into their practice space. I didn’t mind at all. By the time they finished, I could sing and dance along—just like I’d been practicing with them the whole time.

They used glue sticks as microphones and highlighters for roses. Maracas kept the tempo. The girls came up with their own dance moves, and their singing was so beautiful. I was reallly impressed! I have wonderful, amazing students (if I haven't made that obvious already).

In between dancing and singing, we talked about wedding ceremonies. I asked a lot of questions in regards to traditions in Korea. We used Google Translate to help with the more difficult, detailed answers. They wanted to know more about wedding ceremonies in the United States too. For the most part, we learned there are a lot of similarities.

My students acted out one of the main cultural differences. Apparently at some point during a Korean ceremony, the bride and groom try to catch chestnuts thrown at them by the groom’s parents. They used candy for chestnuts, and a coat for a wedding dress. It was good fun to watch. Then I ate the candy.

After their reenactment we began singing Jingle Bells, followed by Feliz Navidad. My students knew the Spanish words better than I did. And not only did they know all the words, they sang in harmony as well. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! I don’t even know how to sing harmony!

Sometimes I’m glad when classes are canceled. Helping students practice a song and dance routine is a much better way to teach a Friday afternoon away. I feel really blessed to be here, to get to be part of their lives. It will be fun to see them perform during the wedding ceremony. I think I’m invited. I’m just going to show up and see what happens.


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