It wasn’t until I graduated from elementary school that I realized that my grade three teacher, Mr. Ed Gascon, had become one of the most important people in my life. When I first started school, I was afraid of speaking English. I feared that others would make fun of my mistakes. But Mr. Gascon helped me to break this barrier by giving me counsel which made me become who I am today.

Whenever I needed Mr. Gascon’s guidance, he would always give me the same advice: “DO IT!” At first, I was disappointed with the paucity of his words. Compared to the other students, I felt that he always seemed to be in a hurry to give me his advice. However, I had no idea how much those words would impact me as I began my life’s journey. Mr. Gascon’s advice commanded me not to be afraid. His words magically gave me the courage and strength to conquer tasks I found were difficult to accomplish. For instance, I have always shied away from speaking to people because of my incompetency in English. When I first started school, my gut feeling was that I didn’t belong with my “brilliant” classmates. During the few occasions I had to speak, my stomach would feel the “butterfly symptoms” and my mind would go blank. I couldn’t remember at all what I had said. I felt so frustrated with the fact that I couldn’t express myself to others. I often cried and told my parents, “I’m just dumb. I want to give up studying English. I’m sick and tired of this language and the only thing I want to do is to go back to South Korea.”

My parents would reassure me that I wasn’t dumb and I only needed more patience and courage. Then, like magic, I could see those two words clearly in my mind’s eye and hear Mr. Gascon echo them, “DO IT!” This was the catalyst that gave me the courage I needed to put aside all my fears and prejudices and tackle the barrier.

Now, through constant practice, I am no longer shy to speak English to others, but rather take the initiative to interact with others first. I will never forget Mr. Gascon and his words of advice that has molded me to become who I am. Even now, whenever I am faced with difficulties, I would always recall upon in my mind the voice of Mr. Gascon speaking to me his words of advice: “DO IT!”

Yoon, Hyung Tong





2 thoughts on “DO IT!

  1. I love how teachers really encourage and inspire their students. Just a few weeks ago, my prof told me “you can do better” when I was about to give up. But because of what she said, I did try harder. Now, I’ve been more confident than ever.

  2. For a person to be able to give others enough courage to overcome their fears and do better… It’s just amazing! Personally, I’ve always thought that this ability is what differentiates good teachers or mentors from the “not-so-good” ones…
    When I was in my first year of high school, I was also someone who was not confident with his self… I will always think of what would happen if I failed and these thoughts would drive me back to a corner…
    If memory serves me correctly, it was just around my third year of high school that I was able to overcome such fears… and I owe a friend of mine for that… My friend told me:

    “Good things happened, bad things happened… You shouldn’t worry about the adjective…Things happen and that’s that! If things don’t go according to plan, good! You’ll have a chance to learn something new and grow stronger with that new knowledge. If things go according to plan, better! You’ve confirmed that your initial action was right. Learn from this and grow stronger with that new knowledge. Have confidence in yourself and fight on!”

    What my friend said to me may not sound as cool (and definitely not as short) as “DO IT!” but it was more than enough to give me self confidence…

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