“Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will.” ~Vernon Howard
This is my favorite student. His name is Silver (조은성 / Eunsung Cho). He is an 11 year-old Korean boy who took a vacation in Davao City with Henry (his best friend), Mindy (his older sister), and Jessica (their mother) by studying English Language at ENGLISH Doctors Academy. Silver is good, kind, friendly, calm, gentle, loyal, humble and of course, smart just like me. Ha-ha! 😀 His dream is to become a successful computer programmer someday. I can see my 11 year-old self to him. I used to be like him when I was a kid. He likes Pokémon and Yu Gi Oh! He likes to play Nintendo games too. He has the same interests as me. I treat him not just my student, but also my little brother. I always call him “Buddy”. He is one of the best junior students I’ve ever handled in class. He is unique in a way that he doesn’t use Korean English accent at all. Typically, you would hear Koreans use this accent when talking to different people. He is bilingual and I only heard him speaking English in a natural accent. This is because he studied English in London in an early age.
He is good because he loves his family, friends and relatives. He is very kind to everyone. He is ready to give a helping hand to anyone who needs his help. He is friendly because he has so many friends at school. He is calm and gentle because of the ideal actions of a boy that he has shown inside and outside of the class. He is loyal and polite because he obeys what his parents and teachers say. He is humble because he doesn’t look down people. Rather, he treats everyone equally. He is smart because he always gets higher and perfect scores in every exercise of our book. He is also very good in spelling. He is indeed a responsible person.
He feels great and that is why he is very active in class most of the time. He comes to class formally and promptly. He is formal because he dresses neatly and wears his ID often. He always comes to my class on time and sometimes 5-10 minutes early. He has never been absent from my class. Every time he gets a perfect score in every unit exercise of the book that we are using, I give him rewards: usually sweets like candies, chocolate bars and biscuits. Every time we do a simple conversation or free talk, I give him good compliments so that he will get motivated in class.
Once in a week, we do film viewing and song activity in our class. We watch short animated films for less than an hour to help him improve his vocabulary and listening comprehension skills. We also listen to various songs with idioms once in a week: usually pop, classical and children ones for him to make use of some idioms he just learned from each of these songs. These activities that we have are also my rewards for him for being a good and responsible student in class. “My favorite teacher is Dats because he is the best! I want to study more with Teacher Dats!” says Silver.
Life can sometimes be unfair. When he feels down, I am always there to comfort him most especially when I saw him crying for the first time during our group class. I cheered him up by saying “It’s okay” again and again. “We all make mistakes, you know. Even if we fall and make mistakes, we live, we learn, we change.” I added.
I also wrote his name on the whiteboard as a sample sentence for our basic grammar lesson (Pronouns): Silver stops crying and he is happy now. That was one way for me to make him happy. I let him read the sentence. After that, I asked where the pronoun is and what is it referring to. For them to be equal, I also used my name and the names of his classmates (Henry and Dorothy) in a sentence.
Sometimes, I also teased him by telling this in our 1:1 class: “Since you’re like me, be like me until you grow up. Will that be okay, Buddy?” He would respond by saying “Yes, I will.” I think he is the 2nd version of me. Ha-ha! I would also add: “Let’s live life in humility and kindness. And by the way, let’s play basketball when you grow up since it’s your favorite sport.” I also told him that when he encounters problems about his English study or if someone hurts him, just simply call me.
Last January 12, we had a short and simple birthday celebration after our class just inside my classroom. Yes, last January 12 was his 11th birthday. We took pictures for a while and ate chocolates. He was grateful for the pack of milk cream sticks and bottled iced tea that I gave to him. It was fun as what he told me. I also told him to share the foods to his friends and he said yes. I think, that was one of my unforgettable experiences with him in the academy. He really enjoyed my class. And he said that my class is his favorite class. He had a great time and vacation here in the Philippines because of me and the other teachers who made him happy.
Speaking of birthdays, it’s a funny thing to think that his birth date which is January 12, is the opposite of mine which is June 21. He is already 11 and I just turned 22. So it’s easy to know that we have 10 years of gap. That’s strange, isn’t it? But I like it! As a teacher, I also learned from him. He taught me things about Korea like their cultures and customs. I also learned some English words from him that are not appropriate to say in Korea. He also shared his experiences about going to England and Philippines with his family.
In our class, English grammar and pronunciation stand out as well. He is able to respond to questions in class and/or related to his own life with some grammar lapses. When he makes an example in sentence, I sometimes rephrases his sentence in a simplest or clearest way I can give. Perhaps, this is because of his grammar usage and pronunciation which aren’t good enough. And every time I rephrases his sentence, he also repeats after me. I also correct his pronunciation on the word “police” because he always mispronounces this word.
Even though it is my first time to teach English Language to junior students, I am very thankful to hear good compliments from them most especially from my buddy. I am also thankful for their help in decorating my classroom. I really have a great time with them in and out of the class. There are only few weeks left before they will go back to Korea. Surely, I will miss Silver. I’ll never ever forget him. I feel blessed to have this kid in my class. I am very happy every time he is there with me. He feels very happy too every time he sees me. I don’t know why but I kinda like this feeling.
I am proud of him both as a teacher and a brother. To be honest, I always appreciate good people because they are hard to come by. It is such a joy on my part to lend a helping hand to him. I am grateful to see my students finished their study with flying colors. I wish him all the best for his study and future. Education may end, but learning is forever. I know that we will meet again someday!