Wednesday, December 26, 2012

So, I would never trade this-not for the world

This afternoon I witnessed something that everyone should see at least once in their life.

First, let me tell you about my student G., I noticed him my very first day here. His severe crew cut mirrored the precise way in which he stood at attention during the school assembly. He always bows when he passes someone older than him. He models the stereotype of an obedient, respectful Korean student.

In my class, he meticulously copies my board notes. He struggles with English, and during his speaking test, he read the assignment sheet, not to be cheeky, but because he simply didn't understand. In lieu of the misunderstanding, I talked with him about the weather and his favourite sport, so I had enough criteria to grade.

He is by far one of the sweetest and best students in my school.

Anyway, this afternoon, as I walked into rehearsal for tomorrow's school festival, I looked up on stage, and I saw G dancing. It was a little bit like "white man's overbite" coupled with "salt 'n' pepper shaker" with a little bit of a "Bartok Hi-yah." I chuckled, amused and proud to see him up there doing his thing.

Then, he opened his mouth and started singing with such angelic clarity and perfect pitch. He bent, heavy with music and meaning, and we locked eyes. He flashed this giant grin and continued to belt with such pride and charisma that there was nothing else in the auditorium but him.

It was in that moment I remembered exactly why I became a teacher. I saw this sliver of my student that I would never see in class. This boy, who shyly smiles at me whenever he sees me and all but refuses to speak, is a certifiable rock star on stage.

That, dear friends, is what makes being a teacher worth all of the bureaucracy and burdens- those ten seconds that you share with a sixteen year old boy in which you both know he is doing exactly what he needs to be doing.

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