Bibong Elementary School in Ochang, South Korea.

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.


  1. I can't believe I stumbled across your blog! Just this morning I was reminiscing with a coworker about my time in Korea and telling her how much I loved the "Bibong Family Time" of volleyball and Chinese take out on Wednesday afternoons (I taught at the school between 2008-2009). Glad to see that you're loving the city and the school as much as I did. Reading your blog is like reliving my own experiences & I've shared many a knowing nod or gust-busting laugh as I've read your posts.


    1. Catherine,

      Thanks so much for your comment! I'm so glad you stumbled upon my blog, as only you could relate to so many of the stories I've shared. I feel so fortunate to have been placed at Bibong in Ochang, and look forward to my last summer here. I believe today or tomorrow we'll have a special staff bonding time because of Teachers' Day in South Korea. So, it's fitting that you commented. I hope you're well and loving life wherever your journey has taken you since teaching English at Bibong.


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