Using the Korean version of M&Ms during English class activities in South Korea.

I’m not going to lie. Sometimes I like when some of the students in my after school classes don’t show up. It gives me a chance to work individually with the few that do. Something I truly cherish as a teacher is any chance I get to work with students one-on-one.

This week it’s been just the two (or three or four) of us in both of my after school English classes. I teach an extra fifth grade, as well as sixth grade lesson each week for students interested in strengthening their English skills.

Elementary students playing games with Korean M&Ms during an English after school class in South Korea.
Edward, Willy, and Philip during after school class.
It’s a challenge to adjust a lesson planned for ten students on the spot, but being able to adapt quickly is something I’ve learned how to do. Instead of group conversations, we had a class chat. Instead of a team relay, we did a race. And I got to eat most of the candy I brought for prizes.

Last week I dreaded being at school. I wasn’t ready for vacation to end, and felt a little burned out. This week things have gone better, and I feel much more excited about the semester. It helped to have the chance to connect with students again.

At the end of last semester, one of my students came up to me and said I’m a good teacher for staying. She said all the other Guest English Teachers she's had have always left after one year. It makes me feel really special to connect to my students in this way. I know I’m here for a reason, and I know it matters to them.