DESK Week 6: Finding Direction – Jina Yun

In terms of teaching this week, we tried something new!

First, we mixed up the morning group by switching out the members from Team A and Team B.  We made sure to have a fluent Korean and a Chinese speaker in each group, in order to maintain the efficiency of the groups.  On Monday, four of us went in for the morning class with the Chinese speaking students as usual.  Some of us were initially worried that the students might be confused by the new group of teachers, but the students did not seem surprised at all and were just excited to see us again.  The new team of teachers worked well together to support each other in teaching the Chinese speaking students.  However, despite how well the teachers collaborated, the students seemed to be in an off mood.  The two sisters who usually stick together and look out for each other were fighting over a pencil to the point where one of them started crying.  I think it was shocking for most of us to see that kind of scene between the two sisters.  The first day when they arrived at 금강학교, they were both quite shy and innocent and seemed to just want to make new friends.  Back then, we would have never imagined them fighting each other.  This also shed light on how emotionally tolling their time at the school must be.  Being anywhere from 6-14, these students rarely get to see their parents, so it is no surprise to us by now that their moods are unstable and easily affected.  However, we tried our best to make sure that the two sisters made up and that there was peace in the class again.

Second, we tried a role playing lesson in class.  We noticed recently in class that some of the kids bully each other a lot.  The kids are not only still pretty violent with each other, but have a hard time saying please, thank you, and sorry to each other.  While we believed that academics is still important, we thought that learning appropriate mannerisms was a priority for these students, and thus tried to implement this role playing activity.  We started by presenting a scenario that the students commonly see and asking them what the appropriate response would be.  The first time we tried the role playing activity, it was not very successful because we tried to do it right after the students fought with each other.  The students were completely reluctant to play with each other and seemed quite upset at us for lecturing them for their behavior.  However, when we tried it a second time, they were more willing to to participate.  They seemed to find the activity amusing and some of the kids were enthusiastic to act out each scene.  In fact, some of them wanted to try to act out the scenario with some of us, further attesting to how close we have gotten to the students during our time there.  Even though the students might have simply participated because they found it amusing, we thought that this lesson was a good exposure to appropriate responses and behavior.

Having already taught at 금강학교 for 5 weeks, we now ask ourselves the question: what is our goal?  Before starting the program, we initially wanted to focus on getting to know the students on a deeper level and hearing their stories.  However, when we started talking, the school administrators had another direction in mind, and we ended up focusing more on academics with the students.  Now with two weeks in mind, what do we want the kids to get out of our time here?  What do we want to earn from our time here?  While not forgetting the importance of academics for these students, we still wanted to provide a setting for these students to express themselves. In order to do that, we decided to implement more art lessons such as drawing, crafts, and origami in order for the students to not only have a creative plug, but also for them to have a physical final product.  We hope that by the time of our leave, the students can have gained something from us, for we have already gained so much from them.