Today, I was delighted to come into work to the delicious sight and aroma of freshly baked scones. My colleague had informed me that his 10 year-old son had baked them for us, in hope that we would sponsor him for a 3 mile charity run that he is doing at the weekend. What a great way to start what in Korea is Children’s Day!
I’ve been thinking of how I celebrated this special day when I was teaching over there. There were to be strictly no lessons on this special day, but a day of fun for the children. When they excitedly arrived at the English Academy, we gave them some sweets, and made plans for the day’s festivities.
First, we played games such as “Monster Draw”. Here, the teacher secretly draws a monster and describes this to 2 teams, who in turn re-draw it from the description. The team whose monster looks most like the teacher’s wins.
Following this came more physical games like musical chairs, and the traditional contest of throwing sticks into a narrow pot.
Then it was time for what was in the eyes of the children le piece de resistance: “Market Play”, or what we English may call “Playing Shop”. I as the teacher (and genuine English person) played the role of the shopkeeper, and each of children were customers.
In preparation for Children’s Day, myself and the other teachers had printed a certain amount of fake money for each of the children (they had the opportunity to earn more through good work / behaviour), which they could then use to spend on some of the goodies that were laid out in my make-believe shop. These included stickers, stationary, socks, mobile-phone covers, sweets, notebooks, and so on.
But, there was catch- in order for any item to be handed over, the child would first have to buy it using their English skills (so we didn’t completely neglect “learning” on this day, but kept it fun). The “shopkeeper” scenario had been studied for weeks in advance, and the children absolutely loved using their English so practically.
I was so impressed, not only with how well they had learnt the dialogue, but also how fluently they could improvise and carry on the conversation. A great deal of effort had been put in in anticipation of, and on, this special day. It only made me appreciate them even more.
It scares me to think how much they must have grown in these last two years. I still keep in touch with them, and have sent them all a “Happy Children’s Day” message. I hope to go and visit them soon.
To all Korean children, nay, to children worldwide, HAPPY CHILDREN’S DAY!
(Below are some works of art by some of my previous students. Enjoy!)