6th Grade Graduation

Today was the big day for the sixth graders, they were graduating from elementary students to middle school students. Before the events and celebration, the better of the students met in my office to be awarded special awards from the principal. It was fine to see the students get dressed in my office, figuring out how to put on their graduation robes, and  the proper way to wear their graduation caps. One of the boys struggled a bit with getting his hat to fit on his head, I told him that God gave him a big head to fit all of his brains in. 

trying to figure out how to make the hat fit

One of my favorite students at Singa, Geum Ho Seob, came up to me to tell me that he was sad that I didn’t teach him this semester and he was a bit scared to move on to middle school. Another couple of students said that they weren’t sad that I was leaving Korea and returning to the States because they’re moving on to middle school, so I wouldn’t teach them if I had stayed anyways. Gotta love them sixth graders. 🙂 

Ho-seub and me

Singa Elementary doesn’t have a gym, so we all walked next door to Seokchon Middle School, where all the students will head to in March. There really wasn’t any seats for the parents and family, so most had to stand, I’ll talk about that later. Each class had their section in front of the stage, the other teachers (1st – 5th and the other teachers like me) sat on the left of the gym, and the fifth graders had seats in the back. The 6th grade teachers, the vice-principals, the principal, and some people from the school district sat on the stage. There were two large screens in the front on both sides of the stage. The head bojangnim stood at the podium on the floor, mc-ing the event. 

Vice Principal Jung, Principal Yu, me, Vice Principal Yoon, Bojang Lee Mija

Some of the 5th grade scouts  acted as greeters, some read a poem during the graduation ceremony, others sang a couple of songs during the ceremony, and all helped to clean up the gym after graduation. 

The event itself wasn’t too long, but there were the usual hiccups, at least in Korea, they are. Several times, teachers had to tell parents to go stand on the sides because they were prevented the students from lining up to receive their “diplomas.” By the end of the graduation, most of the teachers were basically human barricades to keep the parents somewhat in check. I generally like kids, the younger the better, but the younger siblings of the 6th graders I wanted to strangle, they were just running up and down the aisles like wild things. 

And there were two, I think, lovely poems being read by two 5th graders and two 6th graders, but I couldn’t actually hear them because the parents were ridiculously loud, which made me feel the bad for the students, because it was so hard to hear them. The choir was cute and I really liked their performance of “Auld Lang Syne” but of course I enjoyed it too much that I forgot to film it. But I have their final performance: 

The 5th grade choir’s performance was followed by all the students singing the school song for Singa Elementary, which included some highlights from the year:

It was hilarious to me to hear the students yell out, ‘Hi Karen sam!’ their parents looking at them weirdly and then the explanation that I’m the English teacher that they’ve talked about all year. Some of the parents were a bit perplexed that a kyopo was the English teacher and others talked about how pretty I was. At the end of the day, I felt a bit like a movie star because of all the pictures that I posed for.

Im Hyeon, the English Department Head, and me

I kinda wish that I had a graduation when I was finished at Carleston Elementary, it would have been nice to cap off that event in my life. Although I’m pretty sure if we had a graduation at Carleston, our caps and gowns would have matched our school colors. Singa’s school colors are blue and white, the caps and gowns were marron and yellow.


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