I met my Korean History teacher during my high school years, and she was one of the nicest people that I had ever met. I was one of her favorite students, being one out of the precious few that actually stayed awake and paid attention during class. Other than the personal bond, she was also a remarkable person as a teacher, with a passion for the subject that led me on until the very end of each semester, even despite the lack of interest from other students. With a pointer stick in one hand the other hand on her waist, and the formal suit she always wore, her first impression was pretty scary, but later on as I got to know her, I realized that she was really made of 'sugar, spice, and everything nice'.
I still remember back then, that when I was struggling with the names of people and dates of events, she would patiently teach them to me and sometimes give me extra hand-outs to do in my free time "if I wanted". Of course, I always pouted at being given more homework like any high school student would, and she would simply smile back at me and pat my head.
One time, a few weeks before test week, she made us make a short list of King Sejong's achievements. I raised my hand to say something.
"He created Hangul!" one student said before I could say something.
"Good. Now how does this tie in with current events today?" the teacher asked that student.
"Uh....m... We use Hangul today?" the student commented, not really sure if this was what she was asking for.
"Alright, that's one. We still use Hangul, and if it wasn't for him, we would all be using Chinese characters." the teacher said, nodding at the student. Everyone groaned as they imagined having to study hanzi instead of Korean.
"He created the Jip heoun-jun." I raised my hand and spoke, when she prompted us for another one.
"That's right. And how does that affect us today?" she asked, raising a challenging eyebrow at me. But I was ready for her question.
"They published a lot of books related to astronomy, agriculture, Confucianism, and others, which are still used for reference today." I said.
like this, she would always make us think about what would have happened if something didn't happen, or what did happen and how history was related to our current world today.
In class, she drilled in information about historic characters like Yeounsan gun with a fury. It was her habit to say "Do you remember? You don't, do you? Don't worry, I didn't expect you to." any time something related to things we learned before. Our teacher always had a hard time getting students to wake up and listen, so sometimes she would make us close our eyes and meditate, or even sleep outright for 10 minutes before starting class. But on those days, her hawk eyes would catch anyone trying to nod off to sleep, and thwack them on the head with her pointer or smack their back with her hand. Sometimes, she would even throw a piece of chalk at the sleepy student if it was a boy, hitting bull's eye every time with a practiced hand. But every time class ended, she would give us a motherly smile, and asked us to keep up the good work. She was, in my opinion, a great teacher.