One of the best parts of working here is the impact a foreign teacher has. Lots of students ignore me or are not interested, and lots of students enjoy having me teach me. There are also a handful who seem truly excited and grateful to share their culture with me, and to learn English from me. I have had lots of sweet moments over the years, but one of the sweetest occured last week.
I was standing outside the school waiting for my English Club to come and meet me and another student walked past. He was from my 2-6 class. Now 2-6 is the rarest of rare classes. The students speak English well, love to participate and try their best. They are a teachers dream, and believe me this is not the case for most of the classes I teach. Anyways this particular boy was from 2-6, but is a quieter student with sweet brown eyes who I couldn't even place right away. As I teach almost 500 students it is difficult to remember what class or grade they all fall into. He asked what I was waiting for, then walked by.
About 15 seconds later he turned around and walked towards me.
"Thanks to you... Thanks to you....Thanks to you I could enjoy English this year"
He had worked up all his courage and stumbling over his words managed to execute a sentence that truly meant a lot. My eyes filled with tears (for real!) and I told him to keep speaking English and that I would see him next year.
In my career I expect I will teach hundreds, maybe thousands, of English language students. Some will stand out, some I won't remember a week after their last class, and some will have a powerful effect on me. I have to confess I still don't know the student's name, but his kind words will stay with me forever. I hope that he will continue to pursue English in his life, and that he never forgets that with language he has the power to communicate with millions more people.