Excitement stirred amongst the students as I made my way through the narrow hallway, grabbing in haste what last minute things I thankfully remembered. The air was lively, the sun was shining, bags were packed and name tags were on. Anticipation had mounted and today had arrived: field trip day.
It is with a vivid, nostalgic thought that I am able to remember the field trips of long ago. The excitement among my classmates, the parent chaperones, the overnighters in the zoo (ok, that one only happened once). I loved every part of it; from the sacked lunch to the bus ride, I can fondly look back and remember the teachers appearing more casual and laid back, often times sporting tennis shoes and jeans. I couldn’t help but ask myself, do my students perceive field trips in the same way I once did? At that moment, overhearing three people (teachers of course, and in two very different languages) barking directions at the students at once, I thought, shirley not. Then, the pace suddenly slowed as I boarded the bus, taking my usual seat with the 7 years old.
Over the last 16 weeks I have grown to love these little moments with the kids- our routine, their excitement in using the new words and finding different ways to communicate, the wisdom they have innately, their joy that is endless. Today the word that eagerly issued from all eleven mouths at once was ‘building.’ If you know anything about Seoul, there are many buildings to choose from! The vast majority of people live in apartment buildings that are nearly high-rises themselves, the city is built up so much in areas that you are unable to see off into the distance. The students learned the word ‘building’ yesterday during our art class (another favorite class). The new found level of communication enthralled these students as words flooded out of their mouths, seemingly all at once. ‘Teacher! Teacher! Building is tall-buidling is red-building is 63 building-building is Namsan tower! Apartment is building’ and so on.
Quite possibly the gem of the day came from one of our newest students, Billy. Let me describe him simply: a happy little-big adventurous gal-lute. It went something like this:
‘Stephanie Teacher! Bolly. YuJin. I love you!!!”
Only to look at the row behind Billy’s and see Bolly with his arm lovingly wrapped around YuJin and laying his head on her shoulder. In the simplest way possible, it was absolutely adorable.
I live for these shared moments.
The field trip in itself was great, as is anytime to get away from the daily grind for a few hours. A few highlights were: seeing the Aquarium, Macmillan’s line skills compared to the rest of Seoul’s kindergartens (superiorly better than it was last month!), many photo opportunities, surprise sandwiches courtesy of a parent who worked close by and brought them over, and holding a starfish! The students’ jubilant nature never ceases to amaze me. We drew quite the crowd when afterwards, in an open (and by open, I mean open) square, we decided to play ‘Duck Duck Goose’ a new favorite amongst the kiddos. Upon return to the school, we were refreshed yet again with another parents generous offering of ice cream for all of the students. I must say, at Macmillan we sure know how to work hard and play hard =)