Archive for the ‘EC’ Category


Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Club class was cancelled today, so I was sitting at my desk with plenty of extra time when one of my favorite students, EC, came over. EC and I have a great relationship. Unfortunately, what I wrote about her last year still holds true; she’s being pushed way too hard by her father and other teachers, but for right now she’s doing okay. Actually, she’s doing more than okay – she got the top score out of the entire second grade on the mock test. Academically she’s swell, but I still worry.

EC and I have a notebook exchange going on right now. She keeps a journal where she writes about various subjects, and I edit it and sometimes write short letters back. In that journal I taught her the expression “burning the candle at both ends” and cautioned her to makes sure she gets enough rest.

She dropped by my desk with a can of plum juice. A handwritten note and a tiny purple flower were taped to the can.


“달개비 – (닭의장풀)

It’s name was derived from the fat that it usually grows in a nearby henhouse. 닭의 – a chicken’s, 장 – cage, 풀 – weed.

닭의 -> 달괴 -> 달개

I happened to recognize this flower’s name few days ago and it was a really cool experience. Before knowing the name, I regarded it as a weed. It didn’t mean something special for me. never did it. However, the only fact that I recognize the name of it changed my mind and made me repeat it’s name, 달개비, 달개비, 달개비… now I believe that knowing something’s name has power that makes somebody think of it and attracts others to remember itself. I’m glad that I know not only your name but also how you’re nice, wonderful, and important to me.”

While reading this, I started to tear up in the teacher’s office. As a teacher, you come to terms with the fact that you are probably way more attached to your students than they are to you. I look back on my time in elementary, middle, and high school, and I feel guilty about how I didn’t recognize how much work my teachers did for me. I know I was a good student, and I know teachers liked me, and while I liked them I rarely ever interacted with them outside of the classroom on purpose. It’s always wonderful when a student reaches out to you.

Student Profile: EC

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

EC was one of my YDAC participants, and the only one that after her interview I was 100 percent sure about. Out of the second grade girls there were three that I thought would do a good job, though I only had two spots, and while SJ a top candidate, his interview wasn’t to the same caliber as EC’s. EC’s interview was miles ahead of anyone else’s, and her essay was amazing as well. The last paragraph of her application essay (the topic of which was “why is diplomacy important”) went like this:

“It’s a period that a little change of one country can influences the whole world. In the sensitive and changeable situation like this, becoming a closed country is similar to choosing a self-destruction. Today, what we need is a interaction and it requires a proper diplomatic relationship. This world is covered with a lot of dominos that transfer incessant discoveries and innovation from one country to the whole world. we have to remember it is no wonder that stationary water without change become spoiled.”

Remember, this is a fifteen year old girl. What impressed me most about EC was not her English (though, out of all four students she had the best writing ability), it was her grasp of complex topics, and her ability to process and write about them in a foreign language.

I have a word document for every single class upon which I write my post-class thoughts.  I noticed EC on my first day of class, and  wrote about her afterwards. She had approached me, and asked in almost flawless English, how she could improve her English. She mentioned that  she likes to read English novels in her free time, and she used to have an American penpal.

If I had to describe EC in two words, it’d be “hard worker.” She works harder than almost any student I know. In my English classes, when I ask them to write one sentence, she writes two. Just for practice. She constantly carries around flashcards to quiz herself. She’s easily in the top of her class. Even for the competition, she was constantly doing extra work – emailing me mock questions, and extra graphs that she had found, asking me to proofread them for her.

The problem is, her family doesn’t quite see it that way. Her father’s a teacher at my school, and apparently pushes her very hard. According to another teacher, after tests he goes to her homeroom and publically asks her for her scores. Even if she does a good job (which, invariably, she does) instead of saying “열심히 공부했어요 (you worked hard)” he always says “더 열심히 공부하세요 (you must work harder).”

EC keeps her hair up in a bun, with long strands framing her face in front of her ears. She has a very sweet face, but unfortunately doesn’t smile very often. Now that I think about it, during our meetings preparing for YDAC and during our dinner afterwards was the most I’ve ever seen her smile.  She constantly has her head down, and is scribbling notes. She’s one of the only students I can count on to be paying attention constantly. If she ever fell asleep in my class, I would let her sleep, because there would have to have been something wrong. She doesn’t need to “work harder” –  if EC works any harder, she might have a nervous breakdown before she gets to third grade.