A lawyer who once didn’t understand English shared the heartwarming story of a former teacher who proved that he was not stupid and transformed his life as an immigrant in the U.S.
The lawyer, who goes by the initials T.K., moved from Korea to Los Angeles in 1997. At the time, he was a high school student already eligible to attend regular classes instead of ESL (English as a Second Language) ones.
In a Twitter thread posted last week, he recalled his 10th-grade biology teacher, Ms. Gallagher, who gave the class a quiz on photosynthesis.
While he knew the answers, he could not express them in English.
T.K. said that it was an experience of “suddenly becoming stupid, suddenly having all of your knowledge turning into dust, useless and inaccessible in a new environment with new language.”
But as it turned out, he managed to get a perfect score. Apparently, Ms. Gallagher took the time to seek help from a Korean-American math teacher.
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According to T.K., that quiz changed the course of his immigrant life.
“Thanks to my teacher, I was able to prove to myself that I didn’t suddenly turn stupid. I just had to learn the new language,” he wrote.
Since then, T.K. studied hard, graduated with recognition, and ultimately became a lawyer and writer.
In his final tweets, T.K. mentioned White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who recently told NPR that people who immigrate to the U.S. “don’t speak English,” “don’t integrate well” and “don’t have skills.”
The thread has gone viral, raking at least 81,000 likes and 41,000 retweets since it was first posted.
Twitter users applauded Ms. Gallagher and shared their own experiences: