Sunday, January 19, 2014

The First Kids I Ever "Taught"

This afternoon, I met up with some of my old students for ice cream.

These were the first kids I ever "taught." The kids who were patient with me when I had no training, no curriculum, and even, no textbooks (for some). The kids who convinced me to change my major to secondary English education. They changed the direction of my life. That's no small thing.

Jeremy and I, with (what were) my 8th grade homeroom students

Some of (what were) my 10th and 11th grade students.

I hadn't seen them in six years, so I was nervous to see them and talk to them. I was also sure I wouldn't remember all of their names, but a dozen or so showed up and I instantly knew them all. And it was in this moment that I was forced to see them differently. Before, they were 15 year-olds with limited English and a lot of silly antics. Now, they are twenty-somethings just trying to find their way in the world.

Just like me. 

They are working part-time.
They are managers at restaurants.
They are studying economics, international business, and banking/finance.

They are all grown-up.
I kept saying, "I can't believe how old you look?!"
They kept saying, "You look exactly the same?!"

This was just a small gathering of those who could make it. Others are married and have kids to take care of. Some are in Thailand attending Mission college. Others are about to graduate from Adventist University of the Philippines. Still others have found jobs or universities in California, Virginia, and Minnesota.

I was happy in particular to see one student, his name is Chayhak. I could recognize his big smile anywhere. It's the same big smile he would shine in my direction whenever I stepped into his 10th grade English classroom. This guy never had much to say. I couldn't get a word out of him. And when he tried he visibly shrunk in his hair and got really shy. He didn't speak much English at all. But he just kind of followed us around and listened. 

But today, after an awkward "Are we huggers?" moment (the answer, I think, should always be "yes"!), he had a conversation with me in perfect English. He speaks confidently, because he has worked so hard since then to study in college. I kept telling him how proud I am of him. Because I am. 

Today, I looked around at this great group of people and realized how blessed I am to have seen them again. To know them at all.



minsu said...


Christoffer said...

And this seems a really, really good thing.

Ashley Barber said...

I love this!