When I was in high school and throughout college, I was really hard on adults. I had standards for adults that would be considered ridiculous. Even more, I had hard and high standards for teachers. In high school, my teachers were my own personal cluster of saints. I thought they were all upstanding, near-sinless people. I had a rather unhealthy view of adulthood and teaching until I began to come into adulthood myself.
I’ve starting feeling emotions I swore I’d never feel and doing things I swore I’d never do.
I always swore I’d be that teacher that stayed tirelessly after school to help students and I would never give up on anybody. I swore it on everything that could be sworn upon. Now that I’m a teacher, I find myself looking at the clock at the end of a long day. Sometimes I find myself frustrated at a particular student and I have to walk away. I’ve even had to convince myself that not every single student can be saved from themselves. Some students just don’t want to learn. I’ve become that person.
I swore that when I came to Korea, I’d be more social; put myself out there. You know, get out from behind the books a little more, show my face in public. I recently bought 60,000 won worth of books two weeks ago. The world hasn’t seen much of me, except for the nice barista who makes my flatcinno drinks at Ediya Coffee.
I swore in high school and college that I’d make every moment count as a teacher. I’d lesson plan tirelessly and not be a person that would be distracted by so-called real life. Here I sit, usually hitting up Facebook or blogging before lesson planning. Sometimes I hop a bus across the island instead of finishing a PowerPoint for class. Sometimes I feel guilty.
I promised myself a lot of things as a teenager and as a college student. I promised myself perfection. I promised that I would essentially be the most perfect educator and when I walked by, people would say, “That Sarah is a darned good teacher and she takes nothing from nobody.” I promised myself a lot of weird things.
What I have learned from all of these self-broken promises is that I am a human. I am a normal person with normal feelings and normal emotions. It was wrong of me to think that I was somehow above anybody else. It was probably wrong to think that my teachers in high school were untouchable.
It’s funny what you learn by simply getting older. It’s funny what you learn from living abroad.
geon bae from South Korea and the Island,