Saturday, September 01, 2007

Leaving Korea: Saying Goodbye

Friday was my last say of work. I spent it at my main school. This is the school that I had spent three days a week at. The whole week was odd. I was saying hello after not seeing the students for the two months of summer vacation, and then saying goodbye as I prepared to leave.

The day was pretty casual, with me spending class time chatting with students and showing funny YouTube videos. I got some nice notes, and some "I miss yous" and "I love yous" from the students. Then, during my last class of the day, I was interrupted. I was called into the hall and was told that they want me to say goodbye to the school.

They took me down the hall to a waiting video camera on a tripod, and a microphone. I was a little confused, but understood quickly that I was going to be saying my goodbye to a camera. Somehow the camera was connected to all of the school's TVs. As I made my impromptu speech into the camera, students would lean out the classrooms and wave at me. I could catch just a glimpse of my image on the TV through one of the classroom windows. Very strange. At the end, I said, "Goodbye" and waved. After that, I could hear the classrooms up and down the hall erupt with "goodbye."

After that, I began to leave. I say began because it took me fifteen minutes to walk out the front door. Right after my farewell address, the school's cleaning time began. Students poured out into the halls with brooms, rags, and mops to clean the school. In my attempt to make good on by goodbye, I was hindered by dozens of students. It was quite touching. They were hugging me, shaking my hands, and trying to block the door. Students followed me all the way off the grounds.

Back on my first day of school, I discussed receiving the rockstar treatment
I still get the rockstar treatment as I walk around school. The boys bow at me as I walk by, and when I leave, they hang out the windows and shout, "Bye-bye Mr. Friel." I've even had some bold girls come up to me and say, "You are so handsome," and then run off giggling. It can definitely be awkward.
So fitting with the way I was welcomed in, I got the rockstar goodbye when I left. Then today, I walked by the Geoje Office of Education, where a year previous I began my time of teaching. Down the drive, I could see a western woman surrounded by education officers. I assumed she was the new native English teacher. I chuckled, but didn't stop. She couldn't have any idea what she was getting into.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I appreciate comments. If you have a personal message to me, then e-mail would be best.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...