SLP Graduation Coming Soon to Broadway!

Graduation - a time of reflection, of accomplishment, and a chance to look forward to the future and what it holds now that you have knowledge. Right? SLP went balls to the wall this year with graduation (as I guess is the tradition). But what an odd thing it is to see a Korean preschool graduation that's as big a production as something you'd see on Broadway - and takes just as much work.

Last Thursday we went over to the church for a rehearsal and it was a special kind of hell. Seriously - three days before the actual graduation - and it couldn't have gone worse. There was yelling, and finger pointing, and miserable children and teachers everywhere. So, because of the disaster that was the dress rehearsal, Friday and Monday became non-stop graduation fun time at school.

What were we rehearsing you ask? Well the 3 seven-year old classes each had a 20 minute play to do, my 3 six-year old classes had 4 songs and 2 stories to do, and the 5 year old class had a little story/song they had to do. Some of the kids gave speeches, and there's the logistics of the whole thing, and props - in my opinion it was a bit too much for all of them to handle and I even took some of the songs out of my group's performance.

However I suppose all the hardwork paid off today, as the kids all did a really great job and they have never looked cuter in their little costumes.

I got to meet all of the parents too, and see some of the ones I've met a few times before. The only classes that actually graduated were the 7 year old classes and I'm happy to say that all of my 6 year olds are coming back for another year, so I'll get to teach most of them when the new session starts next week. However, even though they didn't have to, the parents of my Hippo Preschool Class gave me a $50 gift certificate to the Shinsaegae (mall) here as a thank you for the year. It was really nice of them actually. I bought all of the kids candy and pencils and balloons that I'll give them on Friday at our little "end of the year" party, even though they start back up again on Monday.

We operate under the premise that this is not technically a school as much as it is a business and that was never more apparent in the past few days. Graduation isn't necessarily about the kids completing a year of school and going onto the next step in their lives. What all of these hagwons value is saving face, prestige, and grandeur. Graduation is just another day where they are put to the test by performing what they've learned in front of their families. These kids are in for a lifetime of competition and education much more so than the majority of American children back home, and I almost feel bad for them.

It was a pretty entertaining day though, and now that it's over it's time to switch from missiles to guns and prepare for their upcoming year in their new classes.