For the past year I watched my 5th graders, waiting for the inevitable change. Beginning as bright-eyed, enthusiastic, and easily magicianed youngsters, I saw the inexorable fingers of puberty slowly morph them into something quite different.
More importantly for me, their brains have left the critical period of language acquisition. Learning English will be tougher and less fun. Within a year, the full brunt of Korean Education Fever will fall upon them, and it won't let up until college, if they do college.
In light of these facts, I'm trying to think of some helpful things to tell them in the first class.
"After you have practiced for a while, you will realize that it is not possible to make rapid, extraordinary progress. Even though you try very hard, the progress you make is always little by little. It is not like going out in a shower in which you know when you get wet. In a fog, you do not know you are getting wet. But as you keep walking, you get wet little by little. If your mind has ideas of progress, you may say, "Oh, this pace is terrible!" But actually, it is not. When you get wet in a fog, it is very difficult to dry yourself. So there is no need to worry about progress. It is like studying a foreign language. You cannot to it all of a sudden, but by repeating it over and over, you will master it."
"Rome wasn't built in a day."
Any other ideas?