I’m already thinking about how much I’m going to miss my school when I leave. I tear up every time I think about this being my last semester, and it’s already midterm.
As staff gathered in the gym after playing volleyball this afternoon, I took time to look around, and tried to fully take in the experience. I want moments like these to be etched in my mind forever. Teachers crowded around tables, sharing fried chicken, dumplings, and beer after playing together.
Every moment I have left is important.
Some evenings I can’t focus on anything but my anxious thoughts. My body is physically drained. My mind is emotionally stressed. Big opportunities are ahead. Good things are ahead. Change is ahead. But, what doesn’t change is leaving.
I’ve invested so much of myself in this place. And even though my job is as an English teacher, I don’t think my greatest impact has been on English education. It’s been in the moments of community, the times I’ve spent alongside my Korean co-teachers and students. The times we’ve shared, the times we’ve laughed, the times we’ve been frustrated together.
I can’t help but wonder who the next teacher will be, and the differences they will bring to the job. Although it will be a transition for everyone, I’m confident the new teacher will we welcomed with open arms and thousands of hellos and little waves.
Nothing (or no one) is forcing me to go. I simply know staying for a third year wouldn’t be right. It wouldn’t be right for me, and it wouldn’t be fair to them. Plus, I need to stop hoarding such a wonderful place. It’s someone else’s turn to experience the beautiful chaos of Bibong Elementary in Ochang, South Korea.