Today in one class I sat and pitied one of my students. I teach one particular child (10 or 11 years old) who appears to be joyless and miserable. He is smart but possibly introspective, insular and seemingly emotionless, like Robocop. It is also almost impossible to make him smile. His work is OK but he cannot interact with other students and appears to have no friends in class (though seems to make no effort to). At his level (young and low ability), 90% of students just want to talk about something, have fun and just be happy kids, but not this boy!
Today's class theme was family. I tried to get the students to try some kind of word association with family. I got some decent words back from most kids but this boy kept coming up with words like "bad", "hate" and "terrible". Later on I got the class to come up with a sentence about one member of their family. Without a trace of emotion in his voice or face he said "I hate my father". Poor lad, I wonder what his father has done to get his son to come up with that. Like father like son? Korea still continues to puzzle me.