|Dear Professor Lovas,
Thank you for everything. Thank you for your help, and for
understanding and encouraging me. I really wanted and needed to see you
to say thank you before you’ve gone.
The first time we met was when I took your EWRT1C (Literature and
Composition) honors course in Spring 2003. At first glance, I thought
you looked like Mr. John Swensson because of your hair and figure. (Now
I can definitely distinguish you from him.) At first, I was afraid
because the books for the class, Homer’s The
Odyssey, Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of
Kavalier & Clay, Art Spiegelman’s Maus, Al Young’s Heaven: Collected
Poems, and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s
Dream, seemed difficult for me. The class was for honors;
therefore, the books were not so easy, I thought at first, but as I got
used to them, I realized your purpose in choosing the books. You wanted
show us a variety of unique writing styles, right? Those books were
very helpful later when I was writing my “Magnum Opus” (Personal
Intellectual History) at the end of the term, because I was greatly
inspired by them.
It was fun to write the “Magnum Opus.” I think I have never in my life
written such long paper about myself. I wrote it in 23 pages. Also, it
was a good chance to look at myself. I could acknowledge what I am and
find what I wanted to do from then on. The activity was one of the most
important to figure out my goals. In addition, you invited all of the
students to your place to celebrate the completion of our Magnum Opera.
I saw the small “jungle” in your back yard, and the fruit from your
garden was delicious. We had a really good time, right?
The most memorable activity in this class was the “Poetry Walk.” You
brought us to the Fremont Older Open Space Reserve in the Saratoga
hills to hike to the top; then, we read out the poems of Al Young one
by one and discussed. It was nice weather with cool breeze in a
brilliant open space with a 360-degree panorama. I was so happy and
enjoyed it. Just a few weeks ago, for the first time in two years, I
went to the hill with my husband and dog. Somehow and suddenly, I had
felt like seeing the view with my family. Nothing changed there from
when we had gone. I felt peace.
Then, in Winter 2005, I took your class again. It was Linguistics1
(Introduction to Linguistics). Again, I was afraid of one of the books
because it was hard for me to understand. The reason why I took
Linguistics was that I wanted to have more knowledge about languages to
reinforce my job as an ESL teaching assistant. However, since it was
not easy for me to catch up, and I was worrying about my grade, I told
you I was dropping the class right before the drop deadline.
think I’m going to drop this class. It’s too hard for me to get
an “A” grade.
Prof. Lovas: There is no reason you drop the class. You are
doing well, and your cumulate grade is A so far. Just do all of
Miki: But I cannot understand the book. I think this
class is too high a level and too excessive. This is De Anza
College. I don’t need any Stanford things
Prof. Lovas: (Smiling) Well, you are lucky
because you can experience Stanford things at De Anza. You don’t
have to go to Stanford. Also, you need this class because you are
going to be an ESL teacher, right?
Then, I changed my mind to stay in the class. The enjoyments
were waiting for me after two-thirds of the quarter.
One of the most enlightening assignments was the “Course Project.” I
used one of my workshops (the Popular Song Workshop for ESL students)
as the topic of the course project because I have been an ESL teaching
assistant in Listening and Speaking Lab (ATC304) for three years, and
it was high time to make sure whether the workshop worked well or not.
When I was making the survey sheet, you gave me some good suggestions
that were from a very professional aspect that I hadn’t thought of.
After I completed the project, I could find what was good and lacking
in my teaching methods. You gave me a high reputation with the results,
too. Also, I felt more confident because I realized what I should do
The other fun and thought-provoking assignment was writing about
“Shilgen in Thear.”For this, you assigned us to describe the language,
“Shilgen” [a reverse of English], on the setting of a mirror planet
named Thear [a reverse of Earth], as if we were linguists. The
assignment had reviewing the course combined with the enjoyment of
Although I often visited your office without an appointment, you always
accepted me. When I had problems with my classmates or instructors in
other classes, you gave me wise advice. In spite of my “ambushes,” you
were always in good humor and listened to me well. I told you I was
afraid of becoming an ESL teacher because I’m not a native English
speaker, and many people tell me I cannot be a good teacher because my
pronunciation is not perfect. You said, “Some people need explanations
in their first language when they are leaning the second language
because they don’t understand the explanation in the second language.
It’s not always right that an English teacher should be a native
English speaker.” These words from you encouraged me a lot to be a
candidate for an M.A. TESOL in the near future. I think I still need
your help, but if I say that still, maybe you are not happy. I really
miss you, but I will stand and go ahead on my own. And if, in the
future, I could be an ESL instructor, I will take your unique teaching
stance and methods to my students.
Again, thank you very much, Professor Lovas.
Voice of Color
There is Poem.
Poem is inspired by Voice.
Voice is filled by Youth.
Youth is painted by Voice of Color:
rose Voice of Anita
aquamarine Voice of Jonathan
olive Voice of Brian
lavender Voice of Juanita
dandelion yellow Voice of Dima
pink Voice of Ling Mei
russet Voice of Samuel
tangerine orange Voice of Jennifer
buff Voice of Szehon
peacock blue Voice of Sam
purple Voice of Patrick
iris violet Voice of Julie
chartreuse green Voice of Eli
turquoise Voice of Joseph
parrot green Voice of Ben
light peach Voice of Jihai
lime Voice of Corey
apricot Voice of Jessica
lapis lazuli Voice of John
(Miki’s poem from Poetry Walk, Spring 2003)