A reluctant good bye to my Korean students


(Kind happy birthday wishes and good-bye from some grade six students)

As I gathered my two suitcases and prepared to head to the airport I was hit with a tidal wave of emotions. Thoughts of anger, betrayal and confusion were swept aside momentarily as I held up a poster given to me by my students on my final day at school. Their kind words, birthday wishes and taped together pieces of candy meant the world to me at this moment. I took one final glance at the cute decorated notes before I carefully rolled it up and placed it inside my suitcase. I’ve always felt a bond with my students that over the years has allowed me to gloss over less than stellar working & living situations. As I took a quick glance at my empty apartment it hit me for the first time that events that transpired merely 10 days ago were forcing me out of a job and country that had been a reliable source of income, comfort and stability for me up until now. As I wheeled my suitcases out the door I was about to embark on a journey I’d yet to experience before in my life – one of total uncertainty.


(Thank you for the chocolate candies. I had a great time with you as well.)


(Thank you! This situation is very hard for me as well. I didn’t know I was hamsome :P)


(Your tall teacher will never forget this situation – for better or worse. I wish you the best of luck too!)


(Oh my god! My thoughts exactly of late. Best wishes and health to you as well.)


(I won’t forget you either. You (the students) provided the only ray of light I experienced from this school.)


(Thank you for such a lovely decorated card! As bad as things got at this school I won’t forget the kind students who made my stay a little more comfortable)

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  1. says: Giulia

    Aw. The “you’re very tall” note is the cutest to me:)
    You made me think of me saying goodbye to my Egyptian kids class… they were so loud sometimes! but still so cute.
    Good luck for your next adventures!

  2. says: Audrey

    Such sweet students!! Notes and candy! You must’ve made quite the impression on them…especially the girls who keep writing about how ‘tall and hamsome’ you are. πŸ˜€ All the best in Taiwan!

  3. says: Rhonda

    Sam I can understand how you felt leaving. The cards the kids made for you are precious!! You’ll always have those memories and know that you helped change their lives in a positive way. And I feel that more often than not the most exciting journeys are the ones that are uncertain. Just think about the possibilities that await… you never know where the path(s) will lead next. You’ll be fine!:)

  4. I am smiling and crying at the same time as i read this. I am not even sure if it is tears of joy because of the kinds words your students wrote or tears of anger because you had to leave Korea.

    Just look at the bright side of everything. It seems that you were a good mentor to them and a source of inspiration to go to school as well…. the hamsome teacher πŸ˜€

  5. says: Maria

    Samuel, great that you’re celebrating and cherishing the kids and not dwelling on the negative.
    I have a feeling it won’t be long before you’re knee-deep in an unexpected and wonderful new adventure.

    If you come through the US and stop in TX, mi futon es su futon.

    1. Thanks Maria! I suppose that’s all one can do when things don’t turn out as expected. I’ve had some ups and downs but overall I’m optimistic about the future. Thanks for the generous offer. Wherever I end up next I’d like to extend the same to you πŸ™‚

  6. Those letter’s are so touching. I remember when I was student teaching in Chicago my cooperating teacher made one class all write me a letter on my last day. Those letters were hilarious. One said “thank you for saving us for 10 weeks from the Mr. Sanders (the cooperating teacher) reign of terror.” I still have those letters and still crack up ten years later.

    1. LOL, that’s a funny letter Ted. The one I remember the most (from years back) was a kid drawing me blown up and covered in blood. I wasn’t sure if it meant he felt comfortable enough around me to make something like that or he truly was thrilled I was about to leave πŸ˜›

  7. Awww that’s so sweet of your students!

    Korea is one of the top places where I would love to teach. Do you recommend it? Why did you get kicked out? (I’ll check the rest of your blog in case my questions are answered elsewhere after I finish this comment)

    πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks! They were great students. I definitely recommend teaching in Korea. It was mostly the case of me being placed in a school I didn’t like and not having the option to transfer. Although I didn’t want to resign I was put in a position where it was best for all parties.

  8. says: Mica

    This is so sweet. I bet it was hard receiving these things from the children…I would have totally bawled. You take the good with you. And the stuff they drew was so touching. Aww man.