Em in Asia!

My Experiences Living and Teaching in South Korea

Student Profile: Solomon the Writer


You know, I really can’t believe that I haven’t talked all that much in this blog about Solomon. Solomon is the perfect student – at least, in English class. He pays attention, he asks additional questions, he’s participatory without excluding other students, he helps fill in students that are falling behind, and he thinks critically about whatever task you give him. Compared to most of his classmates, (2.5), he has to be one of the most down-to-earth, serious students I’ve ever taught. This isn’t to say that he doesn’t have a sense of humor, but compared to most of the other male students I teach, he’s much more interested in having a deep conversation with me about the education system, or issues in Korea, or anything really, than joking around.

I’ve mentioned him twice before on this blog, one time was interacting with him and some of his classmates on Sports Day, and the other in my blog post talking about my letter exchanges with students.

Today I was in the office studying Korean when he came up to me. He gave me a book, all in Korean, that had two pages bookmarked. It turns out that Solomon, apart from being a high school student, is now a published author. I asked if this publication was for students and apparently it’s not – he’s the only student in it. I think I embarrassed him by how congratulatory I was. I then asked if I could borrow the book to read it (and practice translating) and he said that it was a present for me. I got really quiet, my eyes got really wide, and I burst into a gigantic smile, probably scaring him half to death and kept repeating some combination of “thank you” and “congratulations” and “wow” and “I’m so excited to read this!” until he slowly backed out of the office, with a smile on this face.

It’s absolutely amazing that he was published, don’t get me wrong. I’ll comment on that more when I’ve actually sat down with a dictionary and poured through his three pieces. What really gets me though is that he wanted to share his work with me, work that he’s done that’s impressive, but also completely unrelated to English. He didn’t give one to all of his subject teachers, because his main English teacher didn’t receive one – she borrowed my copy to read it. He made a deliberate decision to give a copy of his work, which is pretty advanced Korean, to the Native English teacher. He even wrote my name in this copy and signed it.

My goal is to have at least one essay read by Friday so that I can barrage him with questions at the school trip. I’ll have to play this by ear, as I don’t want to embarrass him in front of all of his classmates, but he should be proud of his work. Argh my heart. I am so ridiculously excited to read this.

One Comment to

“Student Profile: Solomon the Writer”

  1. Avatar November 20th, 2012 at 12:23 pm Em in Asia! » Blog Archive Says:

    […] how Solomon gave me a literary collection that contained three of his pieces? I’m still only halfway […]

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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.