to be dealt with as this month"s theme. The following are tutoring episodes that our readers have sent to share their interesting, funny and touching experiences.
Age Is Just A Number
-Park Joo-yeon (Korea U.,3)
No matter what people say about how society has changed, I think teachers are still well respected in Korea. A few months ago, I tutored my neighbor, a middle-aged business man. But even though I was way younger than him, he truly treated me with respect as a teacher. He always called me, "Seon-saeng-nim (teacher)" and on Teacher"s day, he even bought me a lobster dinner to express his appreciation. The respect he
showed was touching and made me want to became a better teacher.
Tutoring Is Not A Job; It"s An Experience
-Jennifer Song (Division of Int "l Studies,3)
I used to teach a group of elementary school students and I soon became very close to them and their parents. They would always remember to give me presents during the holiday seasons and often ask me to join them for dinner. One time, on the day of my monthly payment, the mother forgot to have the money prepared. I said that it was fine and that I would get it at the next session but she insisted that I wait. She ran all the way to the nearest ATM. That day, I got 600,000 won in cash. When I later had to quit the job the kids started crying and asked me in their broken English, "Why are you quitting?" Tutoring was definitely a memorable experience for me.
Popsicles and Curtains
-Bang Hye-jin (Television &Film,3)
After having taught a dozen of quiet, shy girls, one day , I finally had the chance to teach boys. Twin boys, actually, who were both in elementary school. I thought that they"d be cute. And they were until they started talking, of course. Here is just one story about how they drove me crazy. One day, the boys suddenly left the room in the middle of a lesson, and came back with popsicles in each hand. "Oh, did you want one,too?" They asked with their seemingly innocent faces. "No, thanks. Just memorize these vocabulary words, please?" "Alright, alright. We will!" Five minutes later, they started whining in unison, "It "s too hard." They fooled me once, but I wasn"t going to fall for that old trick again, so I yelled, "Just do it!" When I asked them to solve a problem, they looked at me and said, "Why should we?" The highlight of my misery, however, was when they ran off and hid behind the curtains as soon as they saw me because they didn"t want to study that day. The things you have to do to earn money!
Switching Roles With Your Teacher
-Lee Do-kyeong (Soongsil U.,2)
I have an unusual tutoring position right now as I am tutoring my professor in Chinese. I"m taking her course this semester and she asked me to tutor her. However, it feels awkward to scold her for not having done her homework or to criticize her bad Chinese pronunciation. In fact, I"m the one who always gets scolded for being late to the tutoring sessions. It"s so sad that I have to sacrifice my Saturdays, but it "s a lot of fun to see your professor get embarrassed and become a simple student infront of you. Whenever I explain Chinese pronunciations that especially requires the exercise of one"s tongue, she always repeats the same mistakes and blushes. When I become a student again in her class, her funny sounds of Chinese pronunciation pop up in my mind and I can"t help laughing. All in all, I"m learning a lesson by seeing her enthusiasm towards a learning something new at her age.
Patience Put To The Test
-Sohn Ja-young (Seoul National U.,3)
I taught English to a group of two boys and two girls. They were fourth grade elementary students, and were quite competitive amongst themselves. Some people might say that that "s the main advantage of group study. However, for me, that was the biggest problem. One of the girls constantly whined and cried during the tutorial sessions. It was not because I was stict or because the boys were bothering her. She thought she was a slow learner and that her friends were ahead of her. In reality, I saw no difference among the kids. However, since she was little and I got paid for teaching her, I felt sorry for her and tried to make her calm down. After a while, though, it got downright tiresome that I just told her to stop crying and continued the session with or without her. Eventually, all the others got used to her perpetual crying and whining.
All About Working Out
-Ham Jung-tae (Yonsei U.,4)
I used to teach a high school boy English but he was always more interested in improving his muscles than in English grammar. He would stoop
down to do at least ten push-ups after each English problem, saying that he had to make a great manly body. Sometimes, when his mind was not on the lesson, I would literally plead with him to concentrate on English verbs. As a response, he would eventually take off his shirt and ask me to admire his physical autonomy, flexing his arms in front of the mirror. He was really difficult to teach, but he was a fun guy and felt more like a friend, rather than a student.
A Pleasant Misunderstanding
-Kim Jae-hwan (Kyunghee U.,3)
My student and I have a similiar physique. This became a problem one day, though, when I was standing in front of the door, waiting for someone to open it. Then suddenly, a girl hugged me from behind! I remained still in shock for a moment. Noticing the lack of reaction, she looked up to see my face. Our eyes met, and we both shrieked. Having heard the screaming, my student came out of nowhere to figure out what was going on. It turned out that the girl had mistaken me for her boyfriend - my student. He got so mad at first that he grabbed me by my shirt collar. It seemed as if he were ready to beat me up. It was only after I hit him hard that he calmed down. Though it wasn"t I who had created this crazy happening, I had to treat him to dinner for the hard punch.
A Little Devil Sat On My Lap
-Lee Young-eun (Korea U.,3)
My pupil was a four-year-old boy, and I had to converse with him in English for an hour. Because of his young age, the boy frequently went to the
kitchen or to the bathroom in the middle of the tutorial sessions. One day, the little boy, who used to get on my nerves, came to me and sat on my lap. At that moment, he seemed like such an angel. However, a few seconds later, I felt a stream of warm liquid flowing through my pants. He had peed on me. Afterwards, he got up and stared back at me with a devilish smile. I just sat there dumbfounded. The boy"s mom kindly washed and ironed my clothes but the damage had been done. While waiting for my pants to dry I felt so angry that I quit that day.