So I was Santa Claus. That's actually me under than polyester Santa suit, and you can tell it too if you look really closely. And I guess that in the background is "Neverland" or "Fantasy Island" or some crap from the children's coked out Musical English performance.
One thing that Amber didn't mention in her post was how goddamn hot it was under there. Seriously. I got changed upstairs in the Teacher's Lounge, but in able to make me look anything like a bowl full of jelly I put on Lewis's puffy ski jacket underneath, but the wasn't enough, so I stuffed two blankets under that. As it was I still turned out more like a bowl full of cotton.
And I sweated so much! I think Lewis had to wring out his jacket from all the sweat that soaked in. The kids ate it up though. After a minute of "Matthew Teacher" pant pant "Santa" pant pant "Matthew Teacher! Santaaaaa!!!" everything was good. I read names off my nice list, gave out presents. Pretty soon the heat started to get to me. I got paranoid that Ryan (from my Bear Class) was going to yank my beard, and I had trouble reading names from all the sweat dripping in my eyes.
The kids still point and say "Matthew Teacher Santa". Emily is the worst. Originally I tried to play it off and be like "no, no, no kids. Matthew Teacher hates Christmas. Happy Kwanza." But now it's gotten so that I just correct their English "Matthew Teacher pretended to be Santa".
The weirdest thing happened after the Christmas open house too. I was taken into a room with all my students' mommies and Michelle Teacher (who was my co-teacher) and they said their goodbyes to Michelle, which was fine. Then they started asking me if I had anything to say, which is different than asking actual questions. That's the thing with the mommies. They always seem to want to know more about how their kids are, but never ask anything specific. I did my best to answer. They made it expressly clear that they are all hoping for a professional teacher that will stick around for a long long time. They wanted to know my teaching background. And I thought it was hot in the Santa suit!!!
To cap off the little meeting they handed Michelle an envelope of money. They gave Michelle and I 150,000 won (about $150 US) to go to dinner together. Michelle isn't that fond of me - or else she's too busy - whichever... so we just split the money. I was shocked, honestly, but then I got over it and graciously enjoyed the money. It has been explained to us that it is culturally acceptable and quite the norm to have parents give money as a gift to teachers. In Public Schools this has been made illegal, but it still happens. And isn't this better if you think about it?