Once again, being the only foreign teacher at an all Korean “english” Academy, I felt a sort of obligation to educate and inform my students about Christmas. Christmas is not nearly as celebrated in Korea as Western cultures (although definitely recognized more than Thanksgiving) and it was my duty to inform those around me of its importance. Every child must know the true meaning of Christmas, or maybe just about Santa. I wouldn’t dare step on Buddha’s toes and mention Jesus Christ in a classroom of Koreans. It’s hard to explain what a manger and a virgin mother are to children who are finally comprehending the word “sit”.
So being the amazing and lazy teacher I am, the month of December was dedicated to learning about Christmas. When I say learning about Christmas, I mean dozens and dozens of Christmas crafts. By the time Christmas eve rolled around, these kids, ages 4 and up had colored and crafted: candy canes, snowmen, gingerbread men, ornaments, Angel toppers, wreaths, stars and even a christmas tree made up of every child’s little green construction paper hand in the school.
Their faces would light up everyday when I’d cut down a red or green link from our Christmas countdown and my lucky first period got the chocolate from the Santa Claus advent calender up until December 24.
Being forced into the holiday spirit amongst those who do not appreciate the magic of Christmas, I even decided to decorate my apartment. A 2,000 won ($2.00) 2ft fake tree, 5,000 won( $5.00) worth of ornaments and some nice white lights kept my Christmas spirit on a budget and added a little cheer to my apartment I’d like to refer to as my shoebox.
My boss “owner” Sunny even took me shopping to find decorations for the school. There was a lot of pressure picking out the decorations for the school’s first holiday season but my co-teachers ended up decorating without me so nothing ended up falling on my bad taste. Whew!
I got my classes so pumped for Christmas I even had my first student pee her pants on Christmas Eve in my classroom. I’m going to give Jane benefit of the doubt and say it was the thought of Santa Claus that got her all excited.