Last night, I had a pretty long conversation with Curt. He was distraught over difficult business decisions: complaints from parents about teachers (fortunately not about me, at least none reported)… therefore more changes in the employee rolls forthcoming… lost students….
"I don't want to be 원장 [wonjang = hagwon boss] anymore!" he sighed.
He paid me an unexpected complement, then, as I complained, in turn, about my current struggle with reconciling my slow and still painful post-cancer recovery with my ambition, such as it is.
"In the time if have known you, you have shown a strong ability to be reborn," he said. He stood up and demonstratively tapped the [broken link! FIXME] Nietzsche quote that is still taped up beside the staffroom door. I'm often surprised and pleased by the philosophical turns our conversations take.
"I reinvent myself," I clarified, perhaps wanting to move away from the religious connotations of being "reborn" that he no doubt wasn't really familiar with in English.
"Yes. You were very different when I first met you." That was in late, 2007, and I worked for him the first time in the spring of 2008.
I didn't feel different…. I don't feel different.
But yes… I reinvent myself, it's true. Constantly.
"So now, I have to reinvent myself again," I finally said, with my own sigh.
"Yes. You can do it."
I will strive to become a better teacher, in my new post-cancer version of the jared.
Here are some ideas from my sixth-grade student Andrea in her recent month-end speech, on how to be a better teacher.
She's the kind of student that I am teaching for – I prefer students like her who have such high standards and expectations. I have titled her speech, "Teach Children with Love and Wisdom" – because that's what she says.