Naturally it's easy for me to be positive towards the 2 boys who've averaged over 90% in their exams, but I try and be positive about all the students we teach. Consequently, I was relieved when our boss (with some prodding from his wife I think) introduced a "brag sheet" where the kids explain all the amazing things they've done.
What I've found is that the "brag sheet" is especially helpful for those mousey kids who don't stand out in class, and who have to be driven hard to get involved. One such student is a girl in my Pre-AP class (effectively). She's a nice enough kid, and I generally like her (she tries), but part of me thinks she's just trying too hard to be like your typical American teen. A lot of the students in China try to dress more American and put on faux American accents (especially if they want to go and study there), but trust me when I say that she brings a whole new level of effort to trying to seem almost American. This might seem cruel, but trust me, she no gifted amateur when it comes to wanting to Americanise herself.
Anyhow, I was reading her "brag sheet," and when asked "What do you want to achieve in school and university?" she replied "I want to get 4 A grades in my A-Levels, get into a top 50 university, make lots of money, and pity my parents."
Now many of you might think she's got the Americanisation bit nailed with that last comment, but she meant piety. Her English isn't quite good enough to intentionally produce a sentence that's that good.
That said, my Chinese sucks.