I'm coming to the end of my deskwarming stint here in kindergarten before starting the new year classes next Monday, so for the last two weeks, the students have only caught fleeting glimpses of me as I coast down the hallways or as they pass by my office.
Today I encountered one class of seven year olds as they were on their way to play in the yard. Chaos erupted in the stairwell as they realised here was Kate Teacher - in the flesh!
They poured down the stairs in a flood which nearly washed me off my feet, all eager to hug and high five me, bellowing my name and then theirs, as if I would somehow have forgotten who they were in the last fortnight!
Whenever they see me during the day, there are whispered and surprised exclamations of 'Kate Teacher 있다!" (Kate Teacher is here!)
The students whom I taught last year will point me out to the new kids with a delightfully worldly air of 'See that foreigner over there? That's MY foreigner! Watch and learn rookie, as I converse with her in her strange, barbaric tongue!'
Seven year olds can be so condescending!
So on Monday I will once again have the heady experience of entering a classroom to universal delight and leaving the classroom with at least one child clinging to my leg and entreating '가지마!' (Don't go!).
For two more weeks I'll get to live it up as a Kindergarten Rock Star, then my contract ends and I will head off for some travelling before returning to Korea and a different school.
I won't be teaching kindergarten though, so I better milk the celebrity status while it lasts.