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Speech Day July 10, 2009

Posted by jorkat in Seoul.

Back in May our school held a speech contest for all afternoon elementary and middle school students. Each student was to prepare a one-page speech on  a topic of their choice. Depending on the class’s skill level, the students would then present their speeches in front of the entire school and either read or have it memorized. Most of the subjects were fairly obvious and mundane – soccer, my family, the usual boring stuff. But there was one student who stood out from the from the crowd and undertook the task of covering a topic so fascinating and complex, that it would shake the foundation of school right to its inner core. A topic so awe-inspiring and enlightening that it would be talked about for seconds, if not minutes after being read.


When I first announced to my afternoon class that we would be having such a contest, it was met with mixed reviews. Some of the stronger English speakers were somewhat enthused whereas the others displayed anxiousness or downright displeasure. Despite my attempts to dismiss the task as no big deal, the kids weren’t buying it. One girl in particular became downright angry and stated matter of factly that she had no intention of doing the speech and would not come to school that day.

IMG_6563After spending a few minutes doing damage control, I got all the students on board except for the hostile female. We’ll call her Julia because that’s her name.

During our break, Julia was almost in tears and extremely upset over the whole speech contest. After several minutes of negotiations, I was able to cut a deal that satisfied both parties. She agreed to prepare the speech but would not have to memorize it and would have the option of reading her speech in front of the school. After signing off on the agreement, we discussed some ideas for topics, but Julia had already made up her mind and wanted to keep her topic a secret. I agreed and was just thankful that she didn’t want to kill me anymore.

May 24th, 2009 is a day that will go down in the annals of history as the day the world’s next great speechwriter was discovered. This young lady composed a series of elegant prose that was destined to be considered among the great speeches of all time. When I read the first draft, my immediate thought was, there’s Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, there’s Lou Gehrig’s “I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth” speech and then there’s this:

 I would like to tell you about my English teacher named Jordan. Jordan is funny and smart. The funny part is that he makes studying fun. When we play hangman he makes it fun and helps us learn new words. The smart part is that if we don’t know the answer he says a lot of things that help us understand. He also knows Spanish and French too. He is so kind to us that if we are hard at work and need help, he will tell us how to do it. If its a hard test he will say “it’s OK, you can do it” or “you can get a great score”. He says lots of nice things to us. I love you teacher. Oh, and one more thing, he makes us laugh when we do some of our work. He makes class fun and helps us understand English much better. I’m really happy to have Jordan as my English teacher.

Every word of this opus is completely authentic. I might even use it as a reference letter when I apply for my next job. The only aspect of the speech that she neglected to cover was how handsome I am, but aside from that I think she covered her bases. Unfortunately, Julia was too nervous to get up in front of the whole school and read her masterpiece. So for now, the only ones lucky enough to be exposed to this magnificent tribute are my loyal readers, and every teacher on staff that I forced to read it.


1. Meagan Swan - July 10, 2009

You are TOO funny! I’ve been waiting for a new post and this was just perfect! Thanks for the laugh oh great one!

2. Tim - July 11, 2009

At least Katie hasn’t been brain-washed by you yet…..

3. Brigitte - July 12, 2009

I didn’t expect this…but then I should’ve expected it with all the hype you put into. Ha! Good one J. 🙂

4. Sean - July 13, 2009

I can see it now, “Of course I can sell Commercial Real Estate, didn’t you read my references?”

5. Dyson - July 14, 2009


6. Sub - July 17, 2009

Well.. it took a bit of time, but at least now you know that 1 Asian girl named Julia has a secret crush on you… nice work.

7. Jamie - July 20, 2009

Sub and I think alike! Congratulations on your first Asian crush Jordan (even it is with an Elementary School girl)… Just be careful, as I understand these Student-Teacher situations can sour quickly, get really messy, and have irrevocable repercussions. God speed.

8. Dyson - July 24, 2009

I think that was a tumbleweed I just saw go by…

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