School holidays should mean lazy mornings, late nights, and no homework. In Korea, they mean more time to attend cram schools. At my school, 32 students make their way to the English classroom every day to attend my English Camp. Another misnomer. We have textbooks, homework and tests.
Occasionally, “fun” lessons are planned. This week, we had Western Sandwich Day. My co-T put “famous Western sandwich” into Google and came up with the Egg salad-cheese-ham-and strawberry jam sandwich. She was astounded that I had never heard of it.
“But the internet said it is a very famous sandwich in America!”
“Ah…… perhaps I have never heard of it because I am not American….” I replied, trying to avoid causing panic and embarrassment.
My students loved it. I watched in amazement as they quietly, and carefully constructed enormous sandwiches. Strawberry jam was clearly the favoured ingredient, so much so that I feared for the structural integrity of the bread.
I marvelled at the cultural differences between Canada and Korea once again. There were no parent helpers, no allergy concerns, no health and safety forms to fill out. Nobody even made the kids wash their hands. Shuddering slightly, I watched my little darlings make their lunch. The same little darlings who wiped their noses with their hands, coughed without covering their mouths, and didn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom.
I silently congratulated myself that my vegetarian tendencies would allow me to avoid the germ-ridden weapons of mass infection my students were creating. Suddenly I felt a tug on my sweater. I looked down to find that my students had very kindly made a special meatless sandwich for me.
“Is Canada style sandwich, yes?” a little girl asked hopefully.
“Yes…” I answered with a strained smile.
Oh, the things teachers do for their students. Under the expectant gaze of 32 students, I took a big bite, and gave them all a thumbs up. Happily, they wolfed down their own sandwiches. As I choked down every last bite, I made a mental note to drink an entire bottle of hand sanitizer when I got back to the staffroom.