1. Korea already has a perfectly good tradtion of bringing flowers.
2. An apple for the teacher is and Americna tradition because the American school year starts in late August when apples are in season. So by declaring this Apple Day, the management is blindly following an American tradition that makes no sense in May.
3. The parents just focused their energy on getting around the restriction.
This morning, when the children started to arrive, some with their parents, many of them had gifts. Only one or two just brought and apple. Most had an apple and a gift. The kids were all very excited to be giving teacher a gift. Honestly, they would have been just as excited to give us apple. It was the moms and dads who appreciate the time and care we give their little darlings and wanted to give us specialty soaps, lotions, make-up and, in one case, a rather expensive box of Japanese candies. And I have to say I was just as pleased with Rex's handmade card as I was with the Lancome eye cream I would never buy for myself because it's too expensive.
The gift I really prize above all others was not even a gift. It was a card sent by Arthur's mother. In pretty good, but still choppy English, Arthur's mother wrote a not in the card thanking me for all the time and attention I have given him saying that he is very excited about learning English and often wants her to read him a storybook. This is the same Arthur everyone told me I was babying too much. Obviously, my efforts to make sure he felt comfortable were not just right, but worth while. That card will probably get scanned into my teaching portfolio. It's better than a letter of recommendation.
But I do prize all the gifts. I love the jam that Senny made herself and the corsage that Nicky's mom sent. I now have enough soap and lotion that I won't have to buy any for a long time. I even like the weird little rice cookies and my apartment is filled with flowers because Dennis' students went traditional.
It's frustrating and annoying that the management tried to ruin this for everyone by telling us we couldn't accept gifts and telling the parents to give us apples. Did they honestly think I would look at my little Wayne and say, "I'm sorry Wayne, but I can't accept this because it's too expensive"?
I'm glad the parents took the notice for what it was. Horse hockey. They know how hard we work (well, they don't really, but they think they do) and they want to show us how much they appreciate it.
Sometimes an apple just doesn't cover it.
Addenda: Sonia's mother, who has been nothing but supportive and kind, brought gifts for us Tuesday, but when she walked in she saw Claire, the pincipal, standing near the doors so she turned around and went back out. She called after school to let us know that she would be bringing our gifts the next day. She hadn't dropped them off that day because she wanted to give us more than apples, but she didn't want to get us in trouble. How cool is that?
Emily's mother, probably also in an effort to keep us out of trouble, waited until today (Thursday) to bring gifts.