Teachers care beyond the classroom

During a class experiment, Mr. Pakianathan demonstrates how to find acceleration with the speed of hands to juniors, Kelvin Lee, Isaac Kweon, and Kevin Lee.
During a class experiment, Mr. Pakianathan demonstrates how to find acceleration with the speed of hands to juniors, Kelvin Lee, Isaac Kweon, and Kevin Lee.

By: Angela Park, News Writer

GSIS students claim that close student-teacher relationships are something more than special and are relatively common.

As a relatively small community, GSIS has a student-teacher ratio higher than that of other schools. This allows teachers and students to create more intimate relationships and get to know one another on a more personal level, “whereas that might not always be true in larger schools,” commented Eric Han, a senior.

He continued, “For example, Mrs. Lozano has been more of a mentor than a teacher to me. I know I can always rely on her for helpful advice, and she’s someone I can be comfortable with.”

Fellow senior Danielle Kim admitted that while she is normally more reserved “inside the class”, teachers like Mr. Walasek helped her open up more. “Because Mr. Walasek was my coach, we spent so much time outside of class together that he showed a lot of his open side — not the strict teacher side — so we got closer. By showing how he opened up to us, he challenged me to be open to new people as well.”

“One time I went to the fitness room and he was there too,” Danielle recalled. “So we had a talk while working out. It was fun how he talked about personal stuff…he tried to give a lot of advice not only on sports but also on life, too.”

To some, it appeared that some teachers were more exacting than others, particularly inside the classroom. Eric commented, “Sometimes teachers are less willing to be so open.” However, he also noted, “But then again, we, as students, and they, as teachers, have responsibilities to fulfill inside the classroom.”

Senior Sarah Kil remarked on a similar experience with Dr. Josephine Park. “In class, she seemed very down to business in a strict way. But outside of class, she was really sociable and friendly. She would even ask us if we would like to go out for dinner!”

Yerim Kim, a junior, reinforced her idea. “Inside the class, our teachers are really serious. But outside of class, they’re really casual and friendly. I was surprised that some teachers give harsh grades and then become suddenly casual outside the class!”

Nevertheless, students found that the majority of teachers, even if not so open, were willing to extend a helping hand in their classes.

Students expressed their gratitude towards all of their teachers. Jim Choi appreciated the amount of effort that teachers put into maximizing academic success, as “I was in a public school last year and I’m not used to [receiving] that much care.”

Jim noted a specific teacher whose care he appreciated. “Mr. Kilgore was very kind to let me take extra time to practice for the forensics tournament back in November. He helped me a lot on my debating skills.”

Other students like Yerim wanted to thank her teachers for reaching out and getting to know her more, rather than just focusing on her academic ability. For Yerim, her teachers, Ms. Melissa Lyons and Dr. Park, taught her many life lessons, including, “manners and etiquette, what to say and what to not say, and what to do in life to succeed.”

“It’s not part of their job; they don’t have to be doing that,” added Sarah. She felt grateful for the fact that they do, having experienced their kindness and care first-hand.

Some students like Danielle even felt gratitude towards teachers for “choosing to come here and sticking with us.” When I was in middle school my grandmother passed away and they came to the funeral, which was really surprising for me because it was really far down in Daegu. But they still took the time to care for me and my family.”

Sarah closed with the thought: “If I look up to them, I want to become more like them. They shape me.”

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