Every Friday, I teach in a small town called Yangbo.
Everything and everyone in this school is saturated with beauty.
The school, painted in bright greens and yellows, is nestled at the food of rolling hills.
Cats roam outside of the school and sometimes little kitten
"mews" can be heard in the hallways when one wanders in.
It's a good place for a cat. They're fed well after every lunch.
If you work at Yangbo Middle School, on Fridays, this is what will happen:
Each day, between 2nd and 3rd period, the entire school (24 students, 7 teachers,
and the principal) will walk two laps in the front yard. Music will play from the speakers
on the school's roof. The principal may hold your hand while walking, and
butterflies may circle around you both. I am not making this up.
Sometimes your principal might be found outside, during the
school day, tending to one of the many gardens on the grounds.
If you get sleepy during the day and want to take a nap at your desk, this is not a problem.
Potted plants line the center of the dark wooden floors.
Your room will be called the "Happy English Zone."
It will be decorated like an adorable 1960s mod apartment.
Your co-teacher, Mrs. Bae, will be an amazing, dedicated educator.
She will have a dog named "Ponyo" who she will sew little outfits for.
Sometimes, during lunch, everybody might need to watch the cats from the cafeteria window.
If it snows, everyone may jump up and run outside to play and take photos.
Forget about classes! Why would you teach/learn when you could go play in the snow?
You might have a perpetual feeling of a love-fest.
Giant snowballs can be formed from the smallest amount of snow.
You will see other teachers enjoying their job and the students around them.
Students may throw snowballs at teachers, and it's all in fun. Because there aren't
any teachers who students would really want to pelt with frozen things out of spite.
Some good-natured "I'm locking you out!" never
escalates into something that would need your help.
If kids transfer to this school and bring a negative attitude and history of trouble with them,
they will be magically transformed in no time at all by the positivity of their teachers and peers.
After playing in the snow with your students, you may come
back to your class to find a bowl filled with warm steamed eggs.
And if that happens, everyone will crack them on each others
heads and laugh. Then eat the eggs with joy like you've never seen.
If it happens to be your birthday, your co-teacher will buy a cake for you,
which she will then feed to the class like a momma bird with chopsticks.
Everyone will have lunch together and it will be delicious.
Cleaning up your tray after lunch will be delightful...
...because this will be your view from the kitchen window.
On your drive home, you will see scenes like this...
...and this. And you will pinch yourself and say, "Am I really here? Does this place exist?"
And you will do this every Friday.