Tuesday, May 16, 2006

yesterday was Teacher's Day

I had forgotten, when I lumber-waddled into class yesterday, that May 15th was Teacher's Day in Korea. I ended up with a very nice bouquet of flowers from one class, and two roses (along with a card) from another. Today my Tuesday 9AM class, despite the fact that I smacked them with a quiz, held a belated Teacher's Day party, and I ended up with another bouquet-- as well as a card with a brief message in French: "C'est un cadeau pour toi"-- This is a gift for you.

The card I got on Monday had messages in English from my 1PM class (which I'd probably call my "favorite," though I like most of my classes this semester). The messages (fondly left uncorrected):

Thank you for teaching us *
I'm very happy to meet you!!!


I appriciate that you are my teacher.
I love you, Kevin.


You are a great teacher
I like you ~ *


I like you~
You are humorous, generous, and nice!!
Thanks a lot *


Kevin is always kind ~ !!
I want to study English more ~ *
Thank you!

--Ayumi (my lone Japanese student)

I like Kevin
Thank you to teach us


I like this class!!
You are a very good teacher~ .
I will study hard to speak well with you!
Thank you~


The above is probably familiar to English teachers in East Asia. Such displays of feeling are more difficult to find in places like America, where largely self-absorbed* students tend to view teachers as peripheral to their existence-- as people to get past so they can get on with life. The only person who ever thanked me when I was a French teacher at a Catholic high school in the States was a girl of Asian ethnicity. Two long years and only one thank-you.

Believe me, I feel lucky to be here sometimes. And this job at Smoo, whatever its bad points, remains the best job I've ever had in Korea. Days like yesterday and today remind me of the ways I've been blessed.

*By the way, I was one of those self-absorbed people, so the above applies to me, too. I don't recall ever having thanked the majority of the teachers who taught me. I've written appreciatively about a couple of them on this blog, but haven't bothered to thank them directly. Grad school was different: I made my gratitude known to many of those teachers. But elementary school? Junior high? High school? Undergrad? In all those years, I've kept sporadic contact with only one teacher: my junior- and senior-year high school French teacher, who is truly a character. Aside from that... who?

UPDATE: Dr. Hodges has a post up with almost exactly the same title, but far more substantive content. Give his post a read, and bookmark his blog if you haven't done so already. Also, check out his post on the Korean potential for ahimsa.



Anonymous said...

I love the heartwarming emotion of so many Korean students, here.

R said...

Christ, Kevin, this is significant!

Do you know what this means?!!!

My newest socks are one year old today!

Happy birthday socks!

Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Kevin. Must be why my site meter shot up today.

Jeffery Hodges

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