Monday, November 11, 2013

Wonpil Lee/ Interview Essay/ Tue 1pm

A Cup of Interview: Teach You Teach Me

"This job is not only a great opportunity but also a real challenge," said my cousin Yu-son who recently became a college instructor.

             Yu-son has three identities: a product planner of a food company, a graduate student, and a college lecturer on food and nutrition. She is the most positive and energetic person I know. I do not understand where the endless energy comes from.

Sometimes she visits me without a notice and asks me for a cup of my great hand drip coffee. Then I give it to her and ask her for a reward. Give and take: a great virtue in this capitalistic society.

This interview was also the reward: I gave a cup of coffee, and she gave me some answers. By the way I realized an important truth through the interview. When a person teaches someone else, the person also learns something.

             At the first time she thought it could be meaningful when her professor suggested she take charge of a course this semester, so she readily accepted the offer. Because she has a lot of teaching experience in her former job, she was not so worried about the lecture itself.

She prepared the first lecture thoroughly even if she was very busy due to her company tasks and graduate school's assignments. She was confident about her successful debut.

However, when she got out of the lecture room after the first class, she realized, "I'm sunk." It felt as if the students had not really wanted to improve themselves. Especially, their monotone facial expressions made her nervous. They hardly responded her talk and just stared at their smartphones. She briefly described her debut, "It was a disaster. I was prepared, but they were not prepared."

            She changed the strategy. First of all, she decided not to give too many assignments. Besides, she tried to develop a rapport with her students and waited for their emotional preparation because she thought they might have less confidence. As a result, the students began responding much more positively and asking some meaningful questions about the course's contents to their lecturer.

I laughed aloud and said to my cousin, "You were probably too threatening, so their tails were between the legs." She answered, "You're right. A student came to me and said she was afraid of me at the first time because of the stern look on my face." Then Yu-son comprehended that her facial expression, way of speaking, and even posture can heavily influence her students as well as the contents of her teaching. She also realized that she should smile first to make students smile.

She said, "They accepted my knowledge after we were familiar with each other." Now, her students attempt more challenging assignments without a murmur as they know their lecturer is trying to help them. In other words, my cousin and her students accept and embrace each other.

After that, her professor suggested she take responsibility for more classes next semester. Although she did not decide whether to accept the suggestion due to lack of time, she would like to continue leading this one class; through the teaching process she is also learning something new.

"By teaching I can organize my knowledge more clearly. In addition to this, there are emotional communications with students, which restores my tiredness, exhaustion, and emotional draining," said my cousin with a smile.

Yu-son teaches her students, and she gains benefits. Likewise, I gave her a cup of coffee, and I developed a good understanding. When we give something, we usually think we lose it. No. It is not true. When we give something, we receive something more valuable. 

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