I no longer have Gina as a student. The Korean school year (at least for this hagwon) ended on Friday; on Monday all the students will have advanced one grade. As a sixth grader, Gina has graduated from Sherlock Academy and moved on to its sister school, Watson Academy. She is probably the only sixth grader I will miss.
At first she didn't really participate in class. She sat towards the back of the room with her friend Sophia, and neither of them would really participate in class activities. It was frustrating. But then Sophia quit, and Gina became friends with another girl named Jenna, and started participating in class more. By the last three months or so, she would smile at me and say hello whereas before she would barely say a word.
She's freaking adorable and will grow into a pretty cute Korean woman some day. She has a great smile that just makes me want to smile, too. Especially when she's making a joke. She's also ridiculously smart. Even though in class exercises she always writes that English is the most difficult subject at school, or that she can't speak English well, she's really the best student in her class and probably that I have. Or had. Mina showed me her across-the-board placement test scores and they were all in the 90s. (Except English, she got in the 70s, but bear in mind that she was one of my "big stupids" and never got beyond the first level of textbooks.)
Gina has tiny, meticulous handwriting that's neater than mine. When she was taking her last "final exam" at Sherlock academy, I was the one administering it, and every second or third answer she would erase and re-write in slightly smaller, slightly neater letters. She ended up getting a 99%, by the way—the highest grade I've ever seen on any "final exam." She wrote "715" instead of "750," that was her only mistake.
She has a great sense of humor, too. One of the units was about "Do you have any ____s?" I went around and asked people if they had a bunch of things: brothers, sisters, cars, arms, tigers. Basically to make sure that they would definitely have at least one and definitely NOT have at least one, to get used to "I have two ___s." and "I don't have any ___." When I asked Gina if she had any tigers, she grinned and said, "Yes, I have three." Or another assignment, they had to write about their best friend: where they were from, what they were like, their hobbies, etc. She wrote about the aforementioned Jenna, who by that time had quit: "Jenna is from India."
"What! Jenna's not from India!"
Again with the smile: "Yes she is! Jenna, India person!"
I don't know how long Gina will continue with English. I don't know if she likes it, even if she is good at it—she seems to be a girl who's smart in pretty much everything. She likes art the best and, based on her doodles, draws pretty well. That's probably why her handwriting is so neat and distinctive, too. Hopefully by the time she's an adult, feminism will have caught on a bit more so she won't feel like she has to marry and have babies to amount to anything. She has too much potential to get hung up on that.
“next bus outta here”
1 year ago