제 좋은 학생을 소개하겠습니다. 그의 이름은 박현종이라고 합니다.

Let me introduce you to one of my good students. His name is Hyun Jong. I met him earlier in the summer before we came to Seoul. We met in an ESL chat room hosted by Dave’s ESL Cafe. He was there looking for someone to practice English with, and I was there hoping to find someone who was currently teaching English in Korea. We struck up a friendship and exchanged e-mails asking each other various questions about our families and life in our home countries.

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After I came to Seoul, I kept in contact with him. One day I told him about how I had finally found a student to teach and he mentioned to me that he would also like to take English classes. He had told me that before, when I was back in the States, and I really didn’t take him that seriously. But, he was serious and so we planned on when we would have lessons, for how much, and where we would meet. Tell you the truth, I was a bit nervous. You hear about girls all the time who meet predators on the web (in a chat room, no less) and fix to meet them and then….well you know. So, I was a bit weary. Daniel was a bit worried and so was my mom. We planned to meet at Pyeongchon Station on a Saturday morning. Luckily, my naivete and overly trusting nature didn’t lead me astray this time and I got to meet a really awesome person.

We meet twice a week for two hours each. We work on English conversation, vocabulary, some grammar, and listening comprehension. I would say that he is very high intermediate-advanced in his ability. Conversation is very easy for him and he has a big vocabulary. A little more about him. He is 28 years old and he works for an engineering company in Pyeongchon, Anyang-si. He just got engaged not too long ago to his sweetheart and they are planning on getting married next year. Interestingly, he had wanted to study English teaching instead of Engineering, but chose to do engineering. He is interested in all things, loves American movies and American food and he even tutored high school students in English grammar when he was a college student–I am telling you that his English is really good!

Anyway, one tool that I think is indispensable for learning English is the English novel, or at least reading some English publication. So whether it is a short story, book, or magazine/newspaper article, my students are reading at least something each week. Hyun Jong read The Giver by Lois Lowry. And I say “read” in the past tense because he just finished the book this past week! He read the entire novel and really enjoyed it. In our last class he told me that he never thought that he could read an English novel, that The Giver was the first he has ever read and finished. He thanked me because it was with my help that he was able to do it. I was so happy to hear that from him. I had spent a lot of thought on how I could help him with his overall comprehension by providing different activities and discussion starters to help with the concepts of the book. But his success mostly came because he worked hard and he really is a very talented language learner. I gave him some direction and he took off with it! I am really proud of him! It is definitely moments like these that make teaching worthwhile.

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