A naturally enthusiastic person, I've never struggled much with being upbeat or energetic. However, it was a challenge to sustain throughout the full day the necessary energy for motivating dozens of Korean kids to embrace English.
The morning began with a bang. My alarm clock went off, and within two minutes my door buzzer rang. It was the building superintendent coming to check on my hot water; he was an hour early. Not to worry... I needed to get to work earlier anyway to prep for Volcano Day. All the teachers were to lead our respective classes in the timeless art of papier-mache. We were making volcanoes, which will later erupt thanks to the chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar. I must have been absent on the day my own elementary school class did this beloved project because it was completely foreign to me.
Half of the students were excited to help and get messy, while the other half were dry-heaving at their desks and/or looking on with disdain. The funniest moment was when one boy took a few strips of newspaper, drenched them in the reddish colored paste, and held them to his mouth while yelling, "kimchi, kimchi!" The timing was spot-on as I was in dire need of a levity jolt. For my personal amusement, I named our creation Volcano Velasco after the eccentric neighbor in Barefoot in the Park, one of my favorite movies.