Essay by sflam February 2006

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When I opened my yearbook, I began to reminisce about my half year of high school in Korea. As I flipped through the pages of the yearbook, a picture of an old man with a benevolent smile caught my eyes. Daydreaming about the incident, my eyesight became hazy, and I felt my hands becoming swollen, which always refreshes my memory of his profound words.

His name is Mr. Lee, my high school teacher in Korea. A very thin and tall man, Mr. Lee is very caring and always tries to understand the students' concerns and finds joy in having conversations with them. Mr. Lee and I used to discuss my plans to go to the US and why I studied English so intensively. He helped give me confidence that I would find success in the US, and I began to think of him as a very respectable man.

When I found out that Mr. Lee, unlike most teachers in Korea, never hit students, I began to respect him even more. Unfortunately, other students had negative opinions of him and thought he was a coward.

"You know what? Your favorite teacher, Mr. Lee, is really sissy." Chang-Min screamed, pointing a finger at me. "I think he is afraid of students. That's why he can't hit students."

Staring at him enraged that he would speak badly about my favorite teacher, I dashed at him and yelled, "Don't talk about Mr. Lee that way. OK?" A constant troublemaker at school, Chang-Min was shocked that I stood up to him and looked at me surprised. He thought I was always introspective and would never stand up for myself, and he could sense his hard-earned notoriety slipping away.

Looking at his ridiculous, surprised face, I grew even angrier. Ironically, to defend...