Goodbye, Korea

And goodbye, Teaching. I've been a Foreign English Teacher since 2011. I graduated university and took a job a recruiter offered me, one in Gwangju, South Korea. That began my affair with this weird and wonderful country.

I wasn't trained as a teacher. I know that disappoints some of my students, when they figure that out. Koreans are all about credentials and when they find I'm without, they often see me in different light. That's ok. Because each job I had, I was able to rise to the occasion and teach what needed to be taught. I learned mountains about teaching. I learned how to entertain a room of 30 college freshman, or four working adults, or 12 little kindergarteners. There are few other jobs I've had in my life that give me a rush the way being in front of a class does.

I am thankful for my students. For their curiousity, for their compliments - - even their criticisms. Those little poops who thought it was a good idea to critique me in front of a classroom full of people? Thank you. I learned from you. I learned how to have a little more grace and paitence with terrible, selfish human beings.

But mostly, I am thankful for my students because some of them became my best friends, and one became my husband. For all the ways that Korea has hurt me, Korea has also given me some joyous times, some wonderful friends, and exciting adventures. I've learned the language. I've learned to love travel. I still love kimchi, and I even eat red ginseng, roots and all!

I am so changed because of you, Korea. I don't want to live here anymore. I want to go back to the States. But I'll be visiting, and I think I'll like our relationship better that way. Nevertheless, I will always remember how I've changed here and be grateful for these 5 years living in Asia.


Marni Manning - Artist

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