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Today is Sunday 24th of June. Today also marks the half way point of my DukeEngage journey. It’s absolutely insane to think that it has already been four weeks since I first stepped foot into Incheon airport. Now, we only have four more weeks left.


This week I taught in the 1st grade classroom. Never have I ever felt so exhausted every day after teaching. The 6 or 7-year-olds were absolutely adorable with their chubby cheeks and bubbly smiles, but they were equally torturing with their mischievous yelling, fighting and grabbing. Initially, we would yell at the front of the class to get them to sit down, but soon realized that they paid absolutely no attention to our instructions. To our relief, their homeroom teacher was in the classroom the majority of the time and took a lot of weight off our shoulders by talking to the kids and getting them to listen to us.


On the first day of the week, we quickly realized that the lecture style teaching we’ve been using for the past two weeks would not be feasible for these first graders. Their short attention span kept us on our toes to constantly think of something fun rather than just spewing information. Luckily, we found out that competition was a great way to get them engaged while learning. We first covered material such as the alphabet, colors, shapes, numbers, then proceeded to utilize these knowledge in a game of “tell me what this is”. Basically, there was a box in the classroom that consisted of different shapes of different colors. One of us would act as the judge and pull out a shape from the box. Whoever answers correctly what the color and shape is will receive the shape. In the end, the student who first accumulates 10 shapes will receive a sticker. Games like such drives them to learn while having fun at the same time. You really have no idea how much they like stickers. As soon as you pull a page of stickers out, kids start to climb on you.


Within this week, I grew particularly close to one student on my table. At first, he was rather shy and quiet about learning English, often hesitant to pronounce things when I ask him too. As the week went by and we got more familiar with each other, I soon realized that he probably has the most positive attitude on learning English than any kid I have taught at Jiguchon School so far. From eagerly asking me in the morning what we’re going to do today, to bringing me the box of shapes so we can play games, to giving me suggestions of what we should do, he surprised me with a level of enthusiasm that truly warmed my heart.

LED Rose Garden at Dongdaemun

On the weekend, the fellow DESKers and I went to Dongdaemun Design Plaza again and I finally got the see the LED rose garden (it was a little underwhelming though). After some well-deserved Shake Shack burgers and milkshakes, we are recharged for the fourth and last week at Jiguchon School.