|My students, taking a picture of themselves with my iPod|
For one, I have awesome-awesome-awesome-possum kids. These kids are so fabulous, they are the reason I like kids now. Really! I used to not like them at all! But now here I am loving on them every day and absolutely loving my job.
Another lucky thing is the lack of regulation at school. The private academy I work at (aka: hagwon) does a great job of creating a safe and comfortable environment where good, sweet relationships can be cultivated between the students and teachers. There aren't any No Touching rules. I'm allowed to hug my kids, ruffle their hair, tickle them, and give them piggy back rides. (The older kids even get a thump on the head with the role sheet every once in a while.)
As I've heard it said, kids want to be touched. I think it must be harder to work around kids you love in an environment where you can only touch them briefly at the top of their back.
Anyway, another cool non-rule regards after school time. There's no problem whatsoever with meeting the kids out of class and hanging out or seeing a movie. (For one, I'm pretty sure the parents would be thrilled for their children to have more casual English conversation practice.)
Last month, one of my oldest and most mature classes and I hit the park with some pizza. We had a ball. The top student ordered the pizza with my cell phone in Korean, then she and I picked it up at the entrance and took it back to the park stage where the other 4 students were waiting. We chowed down then played on the playground for over an hour!
We exploded on the scene with a pretend game of fire trucks and taxis. After this, they came to me saying, "Teacher, what else can we play?" I'd been a little lost myself, actually, because I wasn't sure how these kids felt about playing. They're in 5th grade. How did they play? Did they still play pretend? Obviously they didn't have any reservations about running around shouting about imagined emergencies. Nope, they are most definitely still kids. Now, did I forget how to play like this? Nope! Full speed ahead!
It was suggested that we play hide and seek. :)