Wow! Where to start when it comes to Subin?! She arrived in my class in grade 10 and she has been - quite frankly - one of the highest achieving math students in my class ever since. Subin is a walking testament to the strength of the Korean Mathematics Curriculum. In the past 2.5 years of teaching her, I believe that there has only been one chapter (Sequences and Series in PreCalculus 11) that Subin hadn't already studied in Korea. But here's the thing... while some people would take the attitude "I've already seen this stuff before. I can take it easy.", Subin has never been like this. She always does her best. She always does extra questions. She always gets all her difficulties cleared up. And... not surprisingly... she always does spectacularly well.
Subin is also an incredibly kind and sweet person. Here are two little stories that demonstrate this:
- (this story also demonstrates what an idiot I am). A couple of years ago, when Subin had first arrived at KG, I had a great CS student - Otto - working with me (hey, does anyone know whatever happened to Otto?!). I can't remember why but Otto needed to know the translation of some Chinese word. Obviously I couldn't help so - in a moment of "brilliance" - I told him to go ask Subin and Jessica (Subin's cousin!!). He looked at me like I was crazy but I gently encouraged him: "go on, they are really nice. Ask them". So Otto goes over, says something in Mandarin, Jessica and Subin look at him blankly, and he walks back to me.
Me: So, how'd it go?
Otto: They couldn't help.
Me: They didn't know the word?
Me: That's surprising.
Otto: Not really. They don't speak Mandarin. They are Korean.
Noooo!!! To this day, I don't know how or why I did this!! I mean, I'd just "bonded" with Jessica and Subin the previous week when I told them that my sisters are both Korean (adopted when they were babies). And then I do... THAT!!!? Anyway, all three students were so forgiving. I don't think any of them were (too) offended. Subin smiled politely and accepted my apology at the time (I bet these days she would give me some - well-deserved - grief).
- As (hopefully) you already know, I often write comments to students on tests and assignments. So I guess for A YEAR AND A HALF (!!!) I had been doing this with Subin. I'd been writing things like: "Great work Su Bin!" and "Another fantastic test, Su Bin!" etc. Well, it turns out I was spelling Subin's name wrong every time. (in my defense, Subin's name was spelled "Su Bin" in the VSB marks program. So that's where I saw and "learned" the wrong way to spell her name). Anyway, it took until half way through grade 11 before Subin finally told me (kindly, patiently, gently) that I'd been spelling her name wrong ever since she started at KG. Again, no hostility. No great offense taken. Just kind of an "FYI" sort of thing. What a forgiving girl, Su Bin... er... Subin is!!! (And great news, Subin!! The brand new marks program has just been released... and your name is spelled correctly in it!!!).
I feel very thankful to have taught you the past three years, Subin. You are an extraordinary student but also a wonderful person. Thank you for always being so committed to doing your best and thank you for being so friendly and good-natured. I don't think I have ever seen you any other way than happy, eager, and pleasant. It's actually quite inspiring. I know you have plans of entering Pharmacy. I can confidently state that you will achieve - and excel - at this goal (and any others you have as well). I wish you well and will remember you very, very fondly!!