Em in Asia!

My Experiences Living and Teaching in South Korea

Student Profile: EC


EC was one of my YDAC participants, and the only one that after her interview I was 100 percent sure about. Out of the second grade girls there were three that I thought would do a good job, though I only had two spots, and while SJ a top candidate, his interview wasn’t to the same caliber as EC’s. EC’s interview was miles ahead of anyone else’s, and her essay was amazing as well. The last paragraph of her application essay (the topic of which was “why is diplomacy important”) went like this:

“It’s a period that a little change of one country can influences the whole world. In the sensitive and changeable situation like this, becoming a closed country is similar to choosing a self-destruction. Today, what we need is a interaction and it requires a proper diplomatic relationship. This world is covered with a lot of dominos that transfer incessant discoveries and innovation from one country to the whole world. we have to remember it is no wonder that stationary water without change become spoiled.”

Remember, this is a fifteen year old girl. What impressed me most about EC was not her English (though, out of all four students she had the best writing ability), it was her grasp of complex topics, and her ability to process and write about them in a foreign language.

I have a word document for every single class upon which I write my post-class thoughts.  I noticed EC on my first day of class, and  wrote about her afterwards. She had approached me, and asked in almost flawless English, how she could improve her English. She mentioned that  she likes to read English novels in her free time, and she used to have an American penpal.

If I had to describe EC in two words, it’d be “hard worker.” She works harder than almost any student I know. In my English classes, when I ask them to write one sentence, she writes two. Just for practice. She constantly carries around flashcards to quiz herself. She’s easily in the top of her class. Even for the competition, she was constantly doing extra work – emailing me mock questions, and extra graphs that she had found, asking me to proofread them for her.

The problem is, her family doesn’t quite see it that way. Her father’s a teacher at my school, and apparently pushes her very hard. According to another teacher, after tests he goes to her homeroom and publically asks her for her scores. Even if she does a good job (which, invariably, she does) instead of saying “열심히 공부했어요 (you worked hard)” he always says “더 열심히 공부하세요 (you must work harder).”

EC keeps her hair up in a bun, with long strands framing her face in front of her ears. She has a very sweet face, but unfortunately doesn’t smile very often. Now that I think about it, during our meetings preparing for YDAC and during our dinner afterwards was the most I’ve ever seen her smile.  She constantly has her head down, and is scribbling notes. She’s one of the only students I can count on to be paying attention constantly. If she ever fell asleep in my class, I would let her sleep, because there would have to have been something wrong. She doesn’t need to “work harder” –  if EC works any harder, she might have a nervous breakdown before she gets to third grade.

posted under School, Student Profile
One Comment to

“Student Profile: EC”

  1. Avatar April 18th, 2013 at 12:12 pm Em in Asia! » Blog Archive » 달개비 Says:

    […] today, so I was sitting at my desk with plenty of extra time when one of my favorite students, EC, came over. EC and I have a great relationship. Unfortunately, what I wrote about her last year […]

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안녕하세요! My name is Emily and when I started this blog I had received a 2010 – 2011 F*lbright grant to teach English in South Korea.  I then decided to apply to renew my grant, so I am now staying in Korea until July 2012. This blog is not an official F*lbright Program blog, and the views expressed are my own and not those of the F*lbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.

I graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a degree in Philosophy Pre-Law and Classical Civilizations, and found myself 3 months later teaching English at SGHS. The town that I taught in, SG, is a small town of 12,000 people, an “읍” (eup) rather than a “시” (shi – city), and though it was sometimes hard teaching in such a small town I really enjoyed the unique experience of being the first foreign teacher SGHS had ever had. I lived in the largest part of the county which is significantly bigger (40,000 people) than the town the school is situated in, but is also considered rural by Korean standards.

During my second grant period (2011-2012) I decided to change schools and I currently teach at CPHS which is located in an even smaller town than previously, in Jeollanamdo.

This blog is meant to serve as a reflection not only of being a Native English Speaking teacher in Korea, but also of living as a foreigner in rural Korea.