Life Through The Lens Of A Camera

As I was prepping my students for their test today, we reviewed the vocabulary words we recently learned. I told the kids they had to give me a new sentence; one they hadn’t used before. I asked one of my students to give me a sentence for the word America and this is what he said… “America gives guns to children.” I asked the student where he heard that and he said “On the internet.” It sparked my curiosity so I went around the room and asked the kids to tell me something they know about America and where they learned it. Here are their responses, 

“American people have many guns.”
“People boom boom and die.”
“People gun to building and people die and Obama angry.”
“Many, many terror.” 
Each response was followed by an explanation they had seen or read something on the TV or Internet that gave them this impression. Their words reminded me of the array of questions I’ve gotten every time someone hears I am from Texas. Such as; “Do they really ride down the streets on horses? Is it true everyone has a gun? Is Texas Chainsaw massacre real?” Each question spurred by something the asker of the question had seen on TV or in a movie. 
Just as my kids and the other foreigners and Korean’s I’ve met make assumptions based on things they’ve seen through TV and Movies, the same can be happening in regards to my time in Korea. 
Since I’ve been here, I’ve heard the following phrase over and over again, “Looks like you’re doing great over there.” I used to get really annoyed when I heard those words, thinking to myself “Stop making an assumption based on what you are seeing in my pictures and FB status’ and ask me how I’m doing.” It’s really easy to smile for the camera, but the smile doesn’t tell you the story in the picture. But the truth is, I am the one responsible for what people are thinking about my life. I am the one posting pictures, FB status’, and blogs. 
It hasn’t been easy figuring out how to keep my friends and family updated while trying not to allow Facebook and social media to become an idol in my life. I’m not going to lie, it’s been a challenge. There have been times when I’ve waited to post pictures and such (due to the time difference) aware of when you might actually see it.
When the internet is the only way you communicate with most of the people in your life sometimes it’s the first thing you turn to in the morning. It’s been an area I have had to guard my heart in. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit has been close, convicting and speaking to me when I need to check myself, my pride and my attitude but living life through the lens of the camera isn’t an easy thing to do. 

In The Eyes Of A Child

On a weekly basis, I get called Grandma teacher, fat, ugly and still get the occasional Korean curse word thrown my way. My new kids are far from angels. Lately, I feel like I spend most of my days yelling at the kids both in English, and sometimes in the little bit of Korean I have learned. “Sit down,” “Be quiet,” “Focus,” “Get off the table!” “Put the umbrella down,” “Stop hitting him!” I could go on but I think you get the point.

Most of the time, I feel like my title should be “Glorified Babysitter,” instead of “Teacher.” I try my best to make sure something, anything, is sticking but most days, it doesn’t seem like they are listening to anything I am saying. 

Today, one of my students proved that to be the furthest thing from the truth.
I have a class of 10 year olds, 4 boys and 2 girls. One of the kids is so smart and so respectful, and he’s the only one who doesn’t talk over me and continually interrupt me in class. Unlike most of my classes these kids actually understand me and speak pretty good English. Today, we learned about past hero’s and discussed the word biography. To keep the kids quiet and give myself a little bit of a break, I gave the kids an assignment to write their own biography.  
One of my kids, Dean, didn’t want to write his own biography. He told me he didn’t want the other children to know the brilliant invention he would one day be known for. Dean asked if he could write my biography instead. Super hesitant, and fully prepared for a violent death and/or lots of insults, I told him yes. 
Here is what Dean wrote about me. 
“Brandy teacher was very young when she died. She was a great teacher, 
kind to her students and kids liked her. She liked to play tennis, 
she was good but not good enough to be on TV. She made a lot of 
money and gave her money to the poor, then she was poor. 
Then the poor got rich and gave her money and she was rich again. 
Brandy teacher prayed to God and she went upstairs when she died.”
I was completely blown away and taken aback that this child, who I thought never listened to me, listens to everything I say, even the minor details of my life like the fact that I play tennis and I pray to God. It’s good to know that even when you can’t tell how you are impacting people or in my case, children, your words and actions are making a difference.