Archive for the ‘thoughtful’ Category

Running on Fumes

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

One of my favorite thoughtful third grade girls has taken to visiting me during the daily cleaning period. Cleaning period goes from 3:20 to 3:40, but normally she’s done at 3:30 (apparently toilet-cleaning duty, as squicky as it sounds is a good job to get because you finish early) so she comes to the office and we chat while other teachers around listen in and congratulate her scholastic attitude. Little do they know that we mostly just chat. I’ve taken to teaching her random idioms, and she’s taken to teaching me in idioms in return.

English – to bomb a test.
Korean – 비가 내렸다 [biga neryeotda: rain falls]. In Korean when you get a question wrong on a test it’s marked with a downwards tic-mark. When you get a lot of questions wrong, it looks like it is raining on your paper. This idiom does not have the same meaning as to bomb a test, so this is not a comparison of the two idioms but rather what we taught each other earlier in the week.

Today she came in out of breath and looked exhausted. I handed her two coffee stick, and taught her the expression “running on fumes.”

“I think that can apply to both of us.” I said, she agreed, and we both wished the other luck on this gloomy, wet Tuesday.

The Thoughtful Ones

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

In Korean the term for “thoughtful” is 생각형. Literally, it means “thinking (생각: senggak) type (형: hyeong). I think it’s a rather apt way to describe someone – the type of  person who thinks a  lot.

My favorite (though I shouldn’t have any) students tend to fall into two categories – the loud goofy ones, and the thoughtful ones. The loud goofy ones are easy to like – they get up in your face and make you notice them. It’s hard NOT to make an opinion of them, and they’re easy to recognize and have spur-of-the moment conversations with. The thoughtful ones are harder to get to know.

This isn’t to say that extroverted, loud, goofy students can’t be thoughtful – far from it. It’s how students choose to interact with me that defines whether I think of them as a goofball or a thoughtful student rather than their actual critical thinking ability. I’m going to perceive a student who approaches me to crack jokes all the time differently than a student who writes me detailed letters.

The thoughtful ones are wonderful, because your relationship with them, once you get to know them, never ends. The extroverted goofy ones move on, and that’s okay. They say hello when they see you, or not, and you say hello, or not, and that’s it. The thoughtful ones come to talk to you. They write you emails, and keep in touch through facebook or other social media. Through your conversations with them they grow, and you grow, and you grow together, and there’s nothing that compares to it – not a high-five from the loudest kid in school, or an entire class jumping up and down outside your window to say HELLO-SEE ME-I’M HERE-I’M SAYING HI-HELLO – because they see you as a person, and you see them as a person, and that’s a truly wonderful thing.

That’s why, given the choice, I’ll take my class of quiet thoughtful ones. The ones that sometimes are hard to teach because they aren’t as exuberantly participatory, and you sometimes wonder if they’re listening. I’ll take them and the look in their eyes created by thinking too much too late into the night, and the chicken-scratch they developed by writing too much and too quickly in any language they could; the softer voices, and the furrowed foreheads, and the ink stains, and the slightly-slumped shoulders, and I’ll gladly talk to any of them that will let me.