My 2 Korean students have returned home and once more my time is my own. Well until another takes their place with the desire to learn English from a native speaker as we who happen to have been raised in this language are referred to.
It has been an interesting and rewarding experience. It had never previously occurred to me that being able to speak my mother tongue was a meal ticket. The revisiting of texts that I hadn’t visited for some 20 odd years was most enjoyable and instructive. At times I wondered if I didn’t get more from their study than my students.
Vicky and Michelle were 11 and 10 respectively and I was charged with instructing them in reading and pronunciation. The chosen books for their instruction were The Wonderful Wizard of OZ and Peter Pan. As an adult the imagery their authors brought to life through their use of the language was a delight. Reading them out loud and seeing the girls’ reactions inspired me to perfect a skill I hadn’t used since my own rug rats were toddlers.
True we did need to stop to investigate the meanings of many of the words. Elaborating the nuance of meaning between wonder and delight for youngsters for whom English is a second language was an interesting challenge. Though through pantomime, common references and the words context in the text something of their meaning was transmitted.
I wish both of them futures as bright as their eyes and their smiles on a summer’s day and hope that the exposure to the Aussie drawl isn’t too great a hindrance in an American accented Korea.