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.