Days 4 & 5

by Alexandra Rutkowski

Today was my first day as a teacher.

It scared me half to death. 

I started the day with making a massage train. Mmmmm, can you tell I like massages? Though most of the classes have 12 students that speak English fairly well, I’ve got 23 students that barely know a word. But only 4 of them fell asleep. Accomplishment! The first few hours I wanted to curl up in fetal position and cry. After a few hours, strangely, as soon as I started teaching idioms, things really changed. I ended the day on an amazing note with my students. There’s a talent show at the end of this camp, and one of my students came up to me after class and said, “Teachuh, I play for you. I guitar and we sing together, eh?” With a smile like that, I couldn’t resist. “Tank you. You good teachuh. I love you.” Another asked, “Teachuh, you marry? No man? Okay!” I love these kids.

I’ll never get used to my students bowing in respect as a I walk down the hallway. 

I’m completely surrounded by forest mountains on every side of me. It’s magical. I can’t get over it. Walking to class every morning is breathtaking.

One thing I can’t boast in is my ability to use chopsticks. My first meal here I happened to be seated next to the president in the cafeteria. I was doing my best to look like I knew what I was doing, but he looked over, and not knowing a word of English, got up and demonstrated. I nodded and did my best, but ten minutes later he called over a board of directers from the school and told them I was having trouble eating so they all gathered around me showing me how to use them properly. Yeah, I felt smart.

I have so much respect for teachers right now. How on earth do they do it?