Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Made in Tuckey

I love my students, and I sincerely believe that each and every one of them is a genius. I don't care that Billy's name is sometimes spelled "Bily," and Greg is "Gerg" and Emily is still sometimes "Emliy." These little geniuses are undertaking the monumental task (chore?) of delving into English and trying to communicate in two languages--long before people in the US decide to look into Spanish. They have to undergo learning a new alphabet (UPPER CASE, lower case, and don't even get started on cursive), new phonics (i.e. the previously mentioned lack of "f," plus the difficulty of r/l, the new sound "th," and so on), grow accustomed to double consonant sounds, and rearrange their thoughts in a completely backwards way.

Despite all of these difficulties, my sweet babies in kindergarten still try to tell me what they did over the weekend (I Nintendo Dad = I played Nintendo with my father and we had a wonderful time). They cheerfully tell me over and over that they are sitting ON the chair, not UNDER the chair, and every morning Dove class greets me by hiding under the table, giggling until one of them gives up and pops out with a "good morning, Kate Teacher!"

At the other end of the scale, I have a class just a few weeks away from entering the Intermediate level of their English studies. Their vocabularies are quite good, and their grammar is coming along. They understand the joke when I demonstrate cutting one's finger versus cutting off one's finger (a bit higher class than the nosebleed/coffee comparison... 코피/커피). This class has been one of my points of joy these last few months, and I received the sad news that two students will be moving so the class will be merged with another at the beginning of June.

I've lost a lot of classes over the last year. Overall, the numbers drop because students test into higher level classes. Now, as I mull it over, I wonder if they tested into higher classes to escape me. I hope that isn't true. I know my standards are incredibly high--I'm afraid that I was too hard on them. That I wasn't enough for them in some way--whether lacking in games or compassion, etc.

Regardless of the reasons, this is another class coming to a close. My brightest student is leaving. There are more personable students, ones who don't radiate displeasure at being in school, but I've really enjoyed watching Sean's mind work. He comes up with some of the funniest stuff, and remembers the most random. One day, for whatever reason, we were talking about fried chicken. KFC is actually kind of common here--Koreans love their fried chicken--and he made some crack about how it's made in Tuckey. "Kentucky?" I tried to correct. "No, Made in Tuckey," he was absolutely certain. I was practically doubled over laughing. Another day, my absolute quietest student confessed *gasp* that she had a boyfriend. She wouldn't tell us his name, so I named him Kimchi. A few weeks passed and for whatever ornery reason I remembered she had a boyfriend again, and Sean was the one who remembered his fake name. The look of horror on the poor girl's face... (Gee, I don't know why my classes are shrinking...)

Another favorite is Matt. Matt's been a long-time student at ECC. He started with everyone's favorite, Gavin, at one of the very early levels, and progressed all the way up to the point where he tells me about his tests and sometimes corrects my spelling. (I get rushed!) He has a great imagination, and when we're practicing past tense and writing a class-wide story, he always comes up with the best plot twists. Today, we were talking about famous people and their autographs, and one of the workbook questions was, "Whose autograph would you like?" He wrote, "Big Bang and Kate Teacher." I am going to miss him so much.

And that, Charlie Brown, is what Teacher Appreciation Day is all about.

1 comment:

Julie (It is.) said...

Awww. I'm a little verklempt!