(This blog is from the Summer of 2016.)
Our second week at Mulmangcho was as rewarding as the first week. The best memories for me this week are definitely from the various kinds of activities we did with the students. We made burgers for the students and ate them together, we decorated the students’ dorm, and we played games together (including a spicy ramen challenge). One activity that I enjoyed was the science activity class, in which my group – Ana, my student S, and I – with the help of MinSuk, made a model plane together! It was so much fun and also helped us connect with the students more as we need to figure out how to put the parts together, to share out the work, and to cooperate with one another. We felt very closely bonded as we successfully finished the model plane and shared the joy with each other. To me, since the last time I made a model plane was probably in elementary or middle school, it was also a great experience to revive some childhood memories.
Another activity that I enjoyed was the music class. The DESK 16 people were divided into small groups to teach songs to kids of different ages. Cole, Annie, and I teach the four older kids. We are going to have a talent show next Wednesday, in which both the four kids we teach and us three will perform a song. In our class, we decided to teach the students “I have a dream” by Westlife, but we have encountered some difficulties. The youngest of the four students could not read English as well as the other three, and when we asked them to read the lyrics together, he would sometimes be silent or talk to other students or simply leave the room. When Cole suggested ask other students to teach him the words, I was at first quite doubtful. Because in Jiguchon, if we were not leading the class or not actively engaging the students into music related activities, most of them would not learn at all. Yet since we also needed time to learn our own song that we will perform in the talent show, I agreed on Cole’s suggestion and told them to teach each other the lyrics for thirty minutes. At first, they were just standing at the back of the classroom, doing nothing. But soon after, the only girl in the group started reading the lyrics. S also started playing the song from the music app on his phone and began singing along with it. He shared his headphones with the youngest student, and if the latter had any words that he didn’t understand, S would patiently explain to him. After thirty minutes, we asked them to read the lyrics out loud together again, and all of them read fairly fluently in unison. I was greatly impressed by their diligence and their help for one another. I was reminded that these students have admirable traits and great potential, and because of this, I believe that they will have a bright and promising future.