On Teacher’s Day
[Mayor Park Won Soon’s Hope Journal 171]
Today is Teacher’s Day. I would like to present carnations to my respected teachers. I have met many good teachers, but Ms. Park Sil-gyeong, my third grade homeroom teacher, is the one who left the biggest impression on me among many good teachers.
In a class on nature, she asked us to name a device using wind. I answered “bellows.” She said, “That’s right. You’re a good boy, Won Soon.” Her words at that time still resound vividly in my mind, 45 years later.
In my early days, I gained notoriety as a mischievous boy in our village. At that time, villagers sent their children to elementary school at the age of seven or eight, but my parents sent me to school when I was only six years old to get rid of a troublemaker, at least during the day.
Such encouraging remarks by my homeroom teacher in class came as a shock to me. I never thought that even a prankster like me could do something worthy of praise. I began to change. I looked forward to classes. The following year, I became class representative. I received several prizes upon graduating from elementary school.
A word of praise from Ms. Park Sil-gyeong changed my whole life. In times of difficulty, I thought of that remark of her like a shot in the arm.
After I became a lawyer, I thought about what I could do for the school where she was working and sent a computer. A few days later, she sent me a letter, saying that the entire school was grateful for the present.
It appears nothing is more effective than sincere, accurate praise. Ms. Park Sil-gyeong put it into practice, and she was the best teacher I ever had. She passed away a few years ago. I miss her very much today.