IT WILL BE OKAY

I don’t have class first period on Monday mornings. I usually take this time to finish getting ready for lessons. Sometimes I’m more prepared to face a week than I was today. I felt like I needed every minute to cut Bingo cards, photocopy worksheets, and organize my PowerPoint presentations.

One of my co-teachers asked me to join her for a snack and coffee. We have a nice sitting area in our office, and we’re never low on our stock of instant coffee and snacks.

“Chase, are you busy?”

I politely declined, and showed her I was in the process of cutting materials for class.

When my two other co-teachers sat down with her, I was under more pressure to stop what I was doing and join too.

“Don’t worry,” they reassured me, “It will be okay.”

Sometimes it’s more important to spend time with coworkers than feel fully prepared for class. I’ve learned this about Korean culture, and my working life in general.

We were in for a special treat this morning, as one of my co-teachers brought apple and blueberry turnovers to share. Sharing food is also very important to Koreans.

We chatted about our weekends, and laughed a lot. I tried hard to let go, and simply appreciate the moment. I studied the details of my co-teachers' eyes when they’d laugh, and how their faces would light up from a joke. It was my way to fully focus on the present, even though I had so much else on my mind.

I finished preparing for class with only minutes to spare. And even though my first lesson didn’t go very well, or according to plan at all, it turns out my co-teachers were right. It was okay. Everything will be okay.

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