Remember how Solomon gave me a literary collection that contained three of his pieces? I’m still only halfway through the first one. He’s a good writer, but goodness this is difficult.
Archive for the ‘Solomon’ Category
You know, I really can’t believe that I haven’t talked all that much in this blog about Solomon. Solomon is the perfect student – at least, in English class. He pays attention, he asks additional questions, he’s participatory without excluding other students, he helps fill in students that are falling behind, and he thinks critically about whatever task you give him. Compared to most of his classmates, (2.5), he has to be one of the most down-to-earth, serious students I’ve ever taught. This isn’t to say that he doesn’t have a sense of humor, but compared to most of the other male students I teach, he’s much more interested in having a deep conversation with me about the education system, or issues in Korea, or anything really, than joking around.
I’ve mentioned him twice before on this blog, one time was interacting with him and some of his classmates on Sports Day, and the other in my blog post talking about my letter exchanges with students.
Today I was in the office studying Korean when he came up to me. He gave me a book, all in Korean, that had two pages bookmarked. It turns out that Solomon, apart from being a high school student, is now a published author. I asked if this publication was for students and apparently it’s not – he’s the only student in it. I think I embarrassed him by how congratulatory I was. I then asked if I could borrow the book to read it (and practice translating) and he said that it was a present for me. I got really quiet, my eyes got really wide, and I burst into a gigantic smile, probably scaring him half to death and kept repeating some combination of “thank you” and “congratulations” and “wow” and “I’m so excited to read this!” until he slowly backed out of the office, with a smile on this face.
It’s absolutely amazing that he was published, don’t get me wrong. I’ll comment on that more when I’ve actually sat down with a dictionary and poured through his three pieces. What really gets me though is that he wanted to share his work with me, work that he’s done that’s impressive, but also completely unrelated to English. He didn’t give one to all of his subject teachers, because his main English teacher didn’t receive one – she borrowed my copy to read it. He made a deliberate decision to give a copy of his work, which is pretty advanced Korean, to the Native English teacher. He even wrote my name in this copy and signed it.
My goal is to have at least one essay read by Friday so that I can barrage him with questions at the school trip. I’ll have to play this by ear, as I don’t want to embarrass him in front of all of his classmates, but he should be proud of his work. Argh my heart. I am so ridiculously excited to read this.
My letter exchanges are booming. What started with just MW has expanded to include a 2nd grade boy (Solomon) I sometimes email with, a girl whose name translates to “Grace of God” who ended her letter with “and God bless you,” and a 3rd grade student who wants to practice English and expand her extracurricular portfolio for her college applications. So many letters…
Grace (of God) gave me her new letter today, as well as a small box. On the back of the box it says “Not Medicine – It’s Derma Cosmetics!” Inside the box are six pieces of chocolate, and three free lotion samples.
Also I just sent out a response to Solomon’s last email. His email is absolutely adorable.
“I have a short time at my home… so, I don’t spend sleeping time…but, if i’m not sleeping, I will die… Ha..Ha… (just jocking, but I will very very sleepy in my school…)…don;t be disappointed, you can lead our chang-pyeong highschool students very well~^^I bellive you and I will follow you well.Umm… I think chang-pyeong highschool students are very smart and kind(?) …but sometimes make a noise vey loudly…I think you annoying this (or not) but please understanding our students.because, our stressed study study study.. so, we talk to each other only a little time…ofcourse, we quite and listen to teacher’s talk. this is not change.”
Sports Day is always awesome. Because I’m the foreign teacher and they never make the foreign teacher judge any event (except when I got roped into helping with a dodge ball game because the other judges went to lunch. That was fun) I spent the day roaming and talking to teachers and students. I’ll be honest, I barely watch any of the sports on Sports Day, I just relish the extra time talking with my students.
A lot happened on Sports Day so I’ll be blogging about it in installations, but first I want to blog about a student:
The most memorable, and most enjoyable, part of Sports Day was the long and in depth conversation I had with these four boys. They’re all from 2.5 (no surprise there) but they’re the more quiet ones. The one all the way on the left’s name is Solomon. Really. His parents named him after King Solomon. He’s interested in speaking English, and comes up and talks me at the end of class a lot, but oftentimes gets drowned out or shouted over by some of the louder personalities in that class. The one all the way on the right is Hongdae. The one to the left of Hongdae is Hongdae’s friend, and while they don’t seem as close this year as they were last year, I tend to think of them as a pair. The last student (in between Hongdae’s friend and Solomon) is the one I want to talk about.
Class 2.5 had not won a single event, and they were very disheartened, but they had one more chance – basketball. They made it to the semi-finals, and were just waiting for the third-grade boys’ semi-final match to end so that their team’s match could start. I told them that I’d cheer for them (spoiler – they lost anyway. 2.10 swept the floor with all the other 2nd grade boys’ homeroom classes in almost all of the events, it was kind-of sad), so we sat down and chatted while we waited.
Hongdae asked me to teach him some swear words in English, because I “look like the type of person who uses swear words. Just kidding. Fist bump?” and then the other student started telling me about his previous foreign teachers.
When he was a first grader in middle school (7th grade) he had a male American foreign teacher. One day the foreign teacher got mad at him (he wasn’t sure why), called him over, and started beating him with one of his indoor teaching shoes and swearing at him in English. The foreign teacher was fired, and a new female foreign teacher was hired. My student had a good relationship with the second foreign teacher, and always visited and talked to her. Recently on Teacher’s Day this student went back to visit all his middle school. His foreign teacher didn’t remember him.
This student had related his story about the male teacher almost without emotion, but looked so disheartened after he told me about not being remembered. He quickly bounced back and changed the subject to what I normally ate for Thanksgiving (he really wants to try a turkey one day. I told him he could buy one at Costco. I then had to explain Costco, which was a lot more difficult than I originally anticipated), and then it was time for the basketball game, and we went and cheered for 2.5.
This student is so sweet, and so sincere, and in my mind is every teacher’s dream student. He pays attention in class, tries hard and participates while being respectful of the other students, and many times comes and talks to me at the end of class to ask for clarification, or with a cultural question. He was in my advanced class last year, and participated in the Korean Students Speak project. He’s been disappointed multiple times with his foreign teachers, but he still tries to connect with them. The thing is, I didn’t know his name.
So I went home, I looked through my students’ mugshots, and I found him. It took me a bit to place him, because his picture is really blurry, but I found him. 형우, I will remember you.