I met Robert on Sunday when I visited the church one of my students attends. He goes to Yilan High School (where I teach once a week) but he isn't one of my students. He was really eager to practice his conversation with me. He told me right away that he has a speech impediment and then proceeded to show me an English composition he'd written for school. It was really well-written. He's really interested in English grammar and he can speak English though it was difficult to understand him at times. He was really earnest though and proceeded to share many things with me, often opening topics with what seemed to be his favorite phrase "I'm going to tell you the truth:" He shared with me his views on the importance of English and told me about the girl he likes. He was really sweet, and it was fun to see that he hasn't given up on English despite a major obstacle.
Jessica is a teacher at the girls' high school and I'd have to say one of the most fluent English speakers I've met in Taiwan. She must truly have a gift for languages. She never studied overseas, but she talks at a speed that could rival a native speaker any day. I'm so impressed by how natural her speech is. It gives me hope that some day I can have a really good grasp of Chinese, though undoubtedly she started studying English long before age 22. She's always been really friendly and positive and it's obvious that her students adore her. In fact, her class is by far my best class at that school both in terms of level and attitude. I always leave that class with a smile on my face. I really do think that the attitude of a teacher has a huge influence on the attitude of the students.