My 5th grade ESL students regularly attend a writing workshop to practice and consolidate the new knowledge in grammar and writing. During the last two weeks of school, the surprises were continuous, especially when I received the following responses. 

1. Writing assignment: "The Biography of my Hero."

Do you have anyone to admire? They must have many advantages or have done some great things; they may be by our side. For example, there is a person called Zhong Nan Shan, who is the hero of China. He led the medical staff to defeat the new coronavirus. Our parents can be our heroes too, and they paid a lot for us without asking for anything in return. Do you want to know who my hero is? Well, let me tell you. My hero is around us. Think about, who accompanies us through school time? Bingo! Our teacher, yes, you're right! So, why our teacher can be our hero? Because they taught us a lot of knowledge. My hero is Ms. Jenny, who teaches me ESL (a language training class). Let me tell you why because she always appears by our side when we need her to solve problems with us and teaches us knowledge patiently like a mother treats her children. She is also very humorous. We always laugh and laugh in our class. If you do the wrong questions in the homework, she will patiently help you and solve the problem. That's why she can be my hero. This hero will always accompany me to finish fifth grade, and I will continue to study in her classroom.

The thing that I want to tell you is, if you can learn to discover the strengths of others, everyone can be a hero!

2. Writing assignment: "Dialogue Between your Aged Self and your Grandchild."

The conversation about Mr. L's history.

GR: Grandpa, can you tell me the story of your school days?

Me: When I was 11 years old, I left my home country, China, and came to Athens, Greece, to study. My school is called American Community School; I went to school the day after I came to Athens. My school was very big and beautiful.

GR: Well, grandpa, did you make any friends or any teachers you like?

Me: Of course, when I came to my school, DC became my first friend, and then HJ, both from China, who then introduced me to TJ, my teacher. Then, they told me: "L, do you know we are going to have an ESL class?" "No," I answered. "Well, let us meet you to our ESL teacher, Ms. Jenny." Then I  went to meet Ms. Jenny and had an ESL class. When I finished my class, I felt that Mr. Jenny was very responsible and treated us very well. Ms. Jenny instantly became my favorite teacher.

GR: Wow, it seems she is kind! Oh, It's time for my ESL class. Bye grandpa!

Living and teaching during these times can be considered challenging. However, as an educator, I realize and acknowledge the change I bring to our students' lives by enriching my instruction with kindness and empathy. These qualities, along with 21st-century skills /education, can lead to the manifestation of leadership skills and capacities in tomorrow's leaders.