My FEA moment is not the typical future educator’s moment when someone helps a child see his potential and decides to become a teacher. My FEA moment was only the beginning in securing my decision to become an educator. FEA first motivated me to start tutoring children. I loved going to see the children, but I wanted to do something more meaningful with my desire to educate. This motivated me to tutor my grandmother, who has always been my inspiration, my motivation, and my role model.
My grandmother never had the time to learn English, so she has had to deal with the consequences of miscommunication ever since she first came to America. She has always expressed her wish to learn English, so I decided that I would help her. Every day, I try to teach her the pronunciation of some of the English words that she desperately wants to know. She has made great progress, and I can see the excitement on her face with every new word she learns. I am so grateful that FEA motivated me to teach not only the typical student but all who are willing to learn, regardless of their age or hardship.
My grandmother has done so much for me throughout my entire life, and it is so pleasing to know that I can finally help her do something she truly desires. I see how learning English has affected my grandmother’s life for the better. She is a happier woman and has pep in her step. Recently, she told me that she was so grateful to have a granddaughter to teach her like I have. She said that because she was from Korea, she never had the opportunity to learn or a chance to get an education. She kept saying how happy she was to finally get an education — or at least the beginning of one. She has been so inspirational in my life, and I am glad to have been able to help.
Recently, our faculty and student body lost one of our finest teachers. He taught at our school for over 30 years, and the impact that he made was evident. Students were distraught by this tragedy. I soon learned that this teacher was an inspirational educator who taught his students by using the motto “You’re not here to get rid of your butterflies but to make them fly in formation.” The ways I have seen my teaching change my grandmother and the impact this teacher made on many students in our school made me realize that teaching isn’t just about giving people information: It is about helping them grow as individuals.
I am so grateful that FEA motivated me to teach not only the typical student but all who are willing to learn, regardless of their age or hardship.
Teachers need to show students that someone cares, to help them learn, and to give them the tools they need to succeed. The teacher at my school understood the power of education. He knew that his job was not to change the student but to mold the student. The experience with my grandmother has taught me not to dismantle our heritage but to embrace it and to grow beyond her past by incorporating another heritage into a positive future, ultimately allowing our past, present, and future to join together to create the most beautiful canvas one could ever imagine. I hope that I will have many more opportunities to touch others and help them grow. Through FEA, I hope to inspire and help the community and have many more experiences like the one I have had with my grandmother.
Jackie Pi from duPont Manual High School in Louisville, Ky., submitted this FEA Moment for the 2012 FEA National Conference.