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How to Know You're Making a Difference (1/3)

“Inspiring the Introverted”

So, my M.6 (Grade 12) students are great. My school is small, and their entire grade is 14 students - I teach their entire grade. They are ALL going to university by the way. The entire grade got into university. Coming from a place where my high school graduating class was like 835 people, needles to say, I’m pretty stoked. Because they’re good, I’ve spent most of the semester teaching them The Alchemist. I felt that it would be a great material to teach them, given the timing in their lives, where they’re about to depart for a new chapter. It’s also one of my favorite books. One of my students, who’s rather quiet and likes to read and play music, turned in her essay on time while the rest of the class turned it in late. The prompt was to summarize the lessons that the main character, Santiago, learns in The Alchemist. Then, they had to compare this to Thai culture (i.e. Buddhism), ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), and themselves. This student wrote the most bomb essay. 

“Understanding the story needs an open mind and great wisdom. With that, it is very comparable to reality.” 

I didn’t require that they read the story because it’s pretty advanced for EFL learners, but I told them the synopsis, combined with my own summary, of the story and really focused on the theme and important plot components. I had the hopes that hearing so much of the story would encourage some of them - kicking that intrinsic motivation into gear - to read it on their own. This student chose to read the story at home. So first things first, I was thrilled that my evil “teachaa" plot worked. ;)

“Santiago’s adventure taught him valuable lessons in life; he was able to believe that he can go on with his life - he was able to believe that he can go on with his life in spite of many obstacles. This inspires me. I know I’m still young and vulnerable, but I have many dreams in life. I will encounter different surprises, but with faith that these experiences will lead me to where I want to be and mold me into the person I dream to become.”

Not only that, she liked the story and flat out said that she learned from it. I could’ve cried. I was so freaking happy. Now, I know that students often try to write what the teacher wants to hear in order to impress the teacher; I’m not dumb - I did that too. However, she was correct, and actually did relate it to personal feelings in her life. She connected to the book.

“We should not stop believing, and we should not give up on our dreams like Santiago. He was able to fulfill his dreams and live his life wonderfully in spite of many challenges. Giving up is not living.” - Mai, M.6

It's the little things...

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(Shout out to the first class that stole my heart!)

Comment with questions or suggestions for a post!

-G

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