Wednesday, May 25, 2016

If I Had a Million Dollars

Three years ago it seems that I was often writing about my students, either things they did in the classroom that entertained or amazed me, or some occurrence from the rest of our time together.  The past six months I've often had thoughts of "I should write about this" but for some reason those rarely materialize.  The blog has taken a back seat in my life while I pursue other interest and spread my time thin between different outlets, but I'll try to get back into it.  My students although vastly different than those I had at Buksam High School are still entertaining, intelligent and full of fun ideas so it's only fair I share some of this with you.

Last week I presented one of my writing classes with the topic "If I had a Million Dollars", I'm surprised I hadn't done this sooner, but was reminded of the song (and discussion point) while chatting with a friend last week.  This particular class is always filled with energy and bright ideas, so I was hopeful for the writing they would produce. So without further ado, if I had a million dollars...

Jane - one of the twins in class, always great writing and cool ideas
1. Go to space to explore
2. Travel with my family, maybe to Italy
3. Buy a great house with a big yard and garden

Robin - until recently the only boy in class, always talkative and has something to share, also one of few that seems to think outside the box and have opinions agains the 'traditional korean way' but seems resigned that the can't break the mold.
1. Buy a nice house and car
2. Spend some money but also save for the future (at least 20%)
3. Donate money to people that need it, maybe orphans or poor children in Africa

Hermione - new to class, and if her name doesn't give away one of her passions this will...
1. Build a Harry Potter theme park
2. Visit the 9 3/4 platform in London
3. Build an Amusement park
4. Meet all the Harry Potter characters
5. Buy apartments in both Seoul and Andong
6. Buy all of the Harry Potter books and movies

Sarah - I'm always excited to see Sarah, even when she's down she tried to show a smile and keep a positive attitude. Very bright but at times can sense the 'only child' syndrome.
1. Invest in stocks so that I can increase my money for the future
2. Travel abroad
3. Buy a house and invest my money so that it will last

Crystal - the other twin, to be honest I sometimes have a hard time telling these two apart
1. Buy and airplane so that I can travel anywhere I want
2. Buy the biggest house in Korea
3. Save the rest of the money

Having a successful discussion with these students I decided to repeat the topic with another class of mine.  This second class has a few students who struggle to pay attention during class and rarely add much to the discussion, but I was hoping this topic may give them more opportunities.

Lucy - Aside from answering my point blank questions I'm not sure I've ever heard her speak
1. First I would buy lots of clothes
2. Buy a car and a house in Seoul
3. Save money, give some to my parents or donate to poor people

Mary - she really does try, but half the time I'm not sure she knows what's going on
1. Give money to poverty
2. Shop for a new home with a garden
3. Go shopping for clothes and jewlery
4. Any leftover money I would save for the future to go on a world tour

Sally - another quiet one, maybe with a bit of an attitude
1. Buy tickets for a BTS Concert
2. Contribute to the needy, when I was young I saved money in a piggy bank but it was not sufficient so now if I have enough I can help the poor.
3. Take a trip with my family (world tour) because I never traveled abroad with my family.

Harry - high level, really bright but is easily annoyed with his classmates causing him to shutdown
1. First I would create my foundation (business) to create more jobs because now the unemployment rate in Korea is so low. I would also have scholarships to great Universities like John Hopkins for example, but maybe $1 million is not enough money.
2. I would invest in Samsung and CJ entertainment stocks because they have high gains
3. Run for President of teh country and then I will make more money for the future
4. Finally I would conduct a study for stem cell research

Julia - new to class, seems smart but unwilling to share it
1. I would travel around the world, for example New York city to see the statue of liberty, Sydney Opera house and Paris
2. Donate money to the poor
3. Travel to many different countries festivals, like the winter carnival in Canada

Ivy - talkative, but not always on task or topic
1. I would buy a big house for my parents
2. Grow many animals, for example dog, cat, hamster, pig, fish, desert fox, crocodile...
3. Invest my money to earn more for the future
4. Buy presents for my family

Erika - another quiet one
1. Buy the EXO Album and Concert tickets
2. Buy a car and house for my family and also a car for myself in the future
3. Buy my father a fishing house in Yeongdeok because he likes fishing
4. Use the money to learn many things

Julie - again, smart but quiet
1. Take a trip abroad with my best friends
2. Open a department store that sells uniforms because they are expensive and many people need them so I will sell many and make lots of money
3. Stay in a 7 star hotel on vacation

When I gave the students the topic the biggest complaint or comment was that $1 million is not enough money, which they're probably right. This isn't an unimaginable sum of money anymore, so dreaming about what you would do with such is difficult.  Clearly they went above and beyond their 1 million limit, but the idea was to get them thinking and writing, not crunching numbers.  Most students, although big dreams, wrote about realistic possibilities which I believe reflects on the Korean education and culture.  Aside form some extravagant theme parks and distant travels, the students kept their ideas close to home. Also of note is the amount of family included - travel together, building a house together, and helping parents.  Everyday in this country teaches me more and more about the culture I'm living in, sometimes it opens my eyes while others it makes me shake my head in disappointment.  One thing is certain though, writing about these kids and reflecting on my hours in the classroom allows me to reflect on my time here, so expect more of this soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment