COMING TO TERMS

I’m coming to terms with the fact that not all my students like me. And some of the other foreign teachers in my town have apparently made it a friendly competition to see who can find the most students against me. So far we know two out of about 900 students don’t. That’s more than I thought, but pretty sure I’ll be okay.

I’m coming to terms with the realization that not all my students want to learn English. It's mandatory to know, but that doesn’t mean they’re motivated to learn. As an educator I’m committed to teaching, but I’m only willing to meet my students halfway. If they refuse to learn, I can’t force it upon them. Encouragement goes a long way, but is only an aspect of the partnership between a teacher and learner.

I’m coming to terms with the actuality that at least half my students don’t pay attention, about two-thirds don’t understand, three or four usually fight, and/or one might cry during every lesson. Classroom sizes in most Korean public schools are too big. Teaching about 40 students per class isn’t ideal; however it's a good challenge for all involved in the process.

I’m coming to terms with the certainty that my former students in Guyana, South America, changed my perspective forever. They were thrilled to learn how to type, even when we had to draw keyboards on pieces of paper because we didn't have enough actual keyboards to use. My students in Korea have everything; yet, too many of them seem to take it all for granted.

I’m coming to terms with the reality that my current students are part of a much bigger, unsettling trend. The tendency to overlook opportunities and resources available. And this will always be the case until they experience what it's like to be without. We're fortunate because of present circumstances, and current situations may change at any moment.

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