Described as a time of emotional and physical transition… in Korea, it’s a term used to describe students transitioning from elementary school to middle school.. At my school, we use the term “adolescence” to describe the MWF 6 o’clock block of kids. For the most part, the Sapling 2 kids. They’ve outgrown the enthusiasm of April, but lack the language skills to successfully integrate into Chungdahm. I try not to let these sunshines get to me, but I still maintain that “be respectful” mantra. Everyone has a bad day but I really think that it’s up to you to make the best of where you are. I was an angry teenager once… I’m doing my best to befriend them and make the most of their hagwon experience.
Seeing some of my favorite students start middle school is making me reminiscent. I was so behind on everything. I was unable to keep up socially and academically. I was always scheming to succeed on the sidelines. Although I made a pretty good attempt at “fitting in”, I wanted nothing more than a small group of friends who wouldn’t leave me. I can’t decide to this day if I achieved that or not. I was good, but not good enough. I always skated by and eventually, I finished everything. Junior high, high school, college, I finished it all. It was an exhausting 20 years, but I did it.
Some of my kids have been telling me how hard middle school is. They have a separate admission/orientation day where everyone shows up at 3 o’clock in their uniform to fill out paperwork. A week before that, they had their elementary school graduation where parents show with flowers! How cute is that… I like how special the elementary school graduations are here in Korea. It’s like a rite of passage thing. It’s adorable. After elementary school graduation, they get a week off before showing up for middle school.
It’s okay children. I know school in general in Korea is fucking intense, but it’s okay! At the end of the day, you will still have a bed to sleep on. The workload may be intense, but you’ll get through it like the millions of students before you. If you feel like pulling your hair out, take a step back and breathe. Your biggest competition is yourself. Don’t pay attention to the comparisons around you. My heart breaks into a million pieces when they tell me how tiring their week was. Middle school is new territory and I remember how scary it was for me. But it’s okay babies! You can do it. I am cheering on all of my kids, whether they were nice to me or not (… cheering more for the ones who were nice to me).
I don’t understand the flow of this post…. but in summary: Growing up is scary, but I’m here for you kids!! <3