Goodbye Paul and Wendy.

It is so hard when students I’ve had for a long time go back to Korea. As a private tutor, it’s my job not only the help educate them, but to be a friend and mentor in Canadian life and experience. That’s so much of the joy of my work: Helping kids to get comfortable navigating life in Canada. My students, Paul and Wendy, whom I have been tutoring and mentoring for two years, left today. I will miss them very much.

When we first met, they were diffident and seldom made eye contact. They had no opinions. They were in culture shock, confused and lost. No wonder. They had been transplanted to a place where they were expected to excel, but had none of the cultural ground rules. Over two years, we changed that, together.

The siblings I left yesterday were outgoing and confident. They made eye contact. Wendy and I have been teaching each other Girl Guide songs. Paul has been telling me about the World Cup and his iPad. Linguistically, they both have improved almost unbelievably. I’m so proud of both of them. Unreasonably, E refused to adopt them so they could live with us in Canada. He is heartless.

I wish we could stay in contact, but I know how demanding their lives are going to be when they get back to Korea. Paul will be expected to study til at least Midnight, and Wendy, not much earlier. They will both be enrolled in several academy after-school classes. Neither will sleep for more than seven hours a night for the next several years.

The only thing I can do is send them off with love, wish them success, and hope that in their busy, stressy lives, they remember that there is another way to live their lives than a constant treadmill of obligation.
Oh, and that they remember that reading is fun.

Wendy and Paul, keep safe, and good luck.

2 Comments to “Goodbye Paul and Wendy.”

  1. By Arwen, July 1, 2010 @ 9:54 am

    I’m glad you’re out there for kids like Paul and Wendy.

  2. By Liz, July 1, 2010 @ 12:13 pm

    I’m lucky I get to help kids like Paul and Wendy.

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