Children’s Day

I found this post in my drafts folder. Apparently I wrote it following last year‘s extravaganza and then forgot to post it. So anyway, now it’s one year later and tomorrow is a public holiday in honour of the young ‘uns. It’s like Christmas in school today! And to conserve all my energy for the 3 hours of games that begin in 20 minutes from now, I’m just posting last year’s unpublished post.

Happy Children’s Day – this big kid is having a great time! 

The Children’s Day event on Tuesday night turned out to be a variety show, as I was expecting.

What I did not expect, however, was that the whole thing would be put on by teachers. It was held in a proper events hall not much smaller than the Waterfront Hall, and the children from all three schools owned by our principal were in attendance with their parents. That’s quite a large crowd!

We mingled with children and parents in the entrance hall as everyone arrived, and I was super-excited to see a few of my former pupils from last year come in with their parents and younger siblings. My favourite came running to give me a hug when he saw me – he was too overwhelmed by the crowd to be able to speak, but the hug was enough to put a lump in my throat.  I can’t believe how attached I got to those kids – I still think about them all the time and miss seeing them in my classes.

The show started with a bang and a shower of streamers. It was very professional – the lighting, the music, the costumes, the dances. The homeroom teachers performed dances and skits to the obvious delight of their students, who clapped, danced, sang, cheered, and squealed with excitement. A couple of little girls even waved banners they’d made in support of their favourite teachers – very  cute! It wasn’t too difficult to follow even though it was all in Korean – Terri and I especially enjoyed the part of the show where the gym teachers formed a boy band dressed in suits and shades and did all sorts of cool dance moves. ;)

It was such a lovely event for the children. Imagine seeing all your teachers up there on a huge stage, dressed in costumes and performing silly dance routines. I would’ve loved to have something like this when I was a child! I said to Terri as we watched some of our colleagues performing something akin to The Charleston, in glittery outfits and bunny ears. She agreed wholeheartedly. It’s just such a nice gesture: one day of the year where the teachers put on a show they’ve obviously worked hard at, for the entertainment of their pupils.

At the end, all the teachers had to go on stage in their charming pink school t-shirts. Yes, I mean all the teachers. We were to perform a dance to a Korean kids’ song as the finale. Oh, and we’d been told about this at lunch time the same day! Excellent communication as ever. We were going to refuse at first on the grounds that we’d had almost no rehearsal time and would make complete eejits of ourselves, but then decided to just go ahead and do it anyway – if we made eejits of ourselves, well, the kids would love it, and sure wasn’t that what it was all about?

And so it was that I bounced on to the stage with about thirty other teachers, waving cheerily in a way that masked my inner terror at the glare of the lights and the sea of faces out in the audience. The reaction was absolutely hilarious. Over the top of the general roar from the crowd came two very distinct cries, over and over again from various individuals:

Hayley teacher!!! Terri teacher!!! Hayley teacher!!! Terri teacher!!!

It was like we were major, A-list celebrities, and obviously we milked it, waving graciously to the fans and all that. It was great. The dance was, erm, less than great, but we had a lot of fun doing it and hearing the enjoyment of the children as we got parts wrong and dissolved into fits of giggles.

What a lovely occasion in a country that pushes its children to work so hard, so young. A day when they get to be kids, be showered with gifts, love, and attention, and enjoy entertainment provided by the teachers who usually have to keep their noses to the grindstone. Happy Children’s Day, everyone!


5 thoughts on “Children’s Day

  1. Sounds like a wonderful experience, even if it was not so well choreographed. I’m sure the kids didn’t mind! I have been in a few school talent shows/pep rallies and the like when teachers got together and performed: always a huge hit with the kids. They just love seeing you outside the normal classroom environment, I guess…and the loss of dignity is probably quite amusing, too…. my husband is in Seoul right now and very pleased to have an unexpected holiday. I’m curious to hear what he has to say about it. Wondering if my two sons will want to incorporate this holiday into our own family once we get there…; )

  2. I’m certain they will! :) It really is a huge day for the Korean kids. The teachers at our school spent weeks putting together lavish gifts and decorations for them, and preparing a dance routine for their entertainment. Thankfully the foreigners were asked to organize games in the gym this year, instead. Wonder why…!

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