- Posted October 1, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Teachers: Why do you teach?
Teachers: Why Do You Teach
When I came to South Korea, I was slightly nervous about the fact that I had virtually no experience in the classroom. Although I am gifted an even “called” by God to teach, it was still nerve wrecking for me when I was preparing for this transition. One of the things that I knew I had to do was be distinctly different. I didn’t want to be just another American expat over here taking advantage of the monetary gain of leaving behind all areas of familiarities. Indeed, the Koreans have seen them before and have made the assumption that we are all the same. I wanted them to experience something different. I wanted their lives to be richer because they knew me; not because I think I am all that, but because I know that I have something to offer people. For that reason, most people enjoy my presence and benefit from my presence. Others, not so much as I recognize that I’m not everyone’s “flavor.” At my age, I have grown to be ok with that. It is not out of arrogance that I say this. It is rather out of confidence because I can say that after many years of hard lessons, I know my worth and value. I know what I bring to the table.
With this in mind, I wanted to make sure that I left my distinct footprint here in Korea amongst both the teachers and the students. Consequently, I started thinking about very creative ways that I could teach the children. I didn’t want to do regular lesson plans. I wanted something out of the box. So, I decided to have a special project in my Literature classes which requires the class as a whole to author a book. Additionally, in my Creative Writing class, I decided to have a special project where the class would create an online newspaper and assign each student as a journalist. Needless to say, my students are very excited. My coworkers thought it was super creative as well. I didn’t think more about it until the director of our entire campus approached me one day saying that he had gotten wind of the fact that I had my classes authoring a book. At that moment, I thought I would be in trouble. However, he loved the idea and decided to change the entire curriculum at the school to have all classes doing the same thing! Additionally, the academy will pay for one big school book that includes all of the class books that were written. I’d say this is pretty big for someone who has only been here almost 3 months and was trying to figure out how to leave a lasting impression.
Now, on to more exciting news. My students, whom I affectionately call “my kids,” just got the results of their academy monthly tests. My kids were the top students scoring in the top 5% of the entire schools academic testing scores. Additionally, there was a school wide debate tournament and my kids swept the tournament going undefeated!
Now, on to deeper reflections…I have come to realize that often times, God has to transition you in order to help you see the grand scheme of things. A few years ago, I never would have agreed that I had so much to give. Yes, I knew that I was gifted. But at that time, I didn’t know that to be gifted also means that you are a valuable resource…a precious commodity. It is only in this level of thinking that you are able to impart knowledge to those who are gleaning truths from you. In other words, this is why bad teachers are not effective. It is not to say that the “bad” teacher is not gifted; he or he just may be gifted in another area. As a result, there is not much to show for in evaluating the teachers’ efficacy in teaching. But, a teacher who is gifted to teach, train, and/or impart will inevitably see results that are indicative of the hard work and labor that goes into cultivating a promising seed. With that said, if for no other reason than to come literally across the world to shape and mold some of South Korea’s next global leaders, I would say it was well worth it all.