My name is Ellie and I was volunteering with my mom for a week teaching and leading activities for the students at Muktangan School. When we first arrived at school we had to take off our shoes and change into flip flops which was a new custom for me. After, we gathered around with a few volunteers, executives, and the founder to learn more about the philosophy of the school. We then met up with the 6th graders where we would be helping with reading, science, and PE for the next week. The 6th-grade class was fairly large so they were divided into two groups 6A, and 6B.
In the first class, we got to know each other by playing Chinese Whisper and ‘Bulb and Circuit’. The Bulb and Circuit game was educational, but it felt more like a fun game to the kids because it is was a different way of learning for them.
By the end of Monday, I was starting to get an understanding of who the kids were and how they interacted. Everyone looked happy to be at school. I was amazed at the laughter and comfort I witnessed from the students.
In the reading class, we read the book Babayon which was a tale about a monster who discovered his kind soul through his journeys. When reading Babayan, my method was to let the students read three sentences and then move onto the next person. After, I would quiz them on comprehension and vocabulary. They also often asked me questions. The reading exercise was interesting because I observed how the students learned in their environment. For example, the students paid attention even though there were difficult words which sometimes made it challenging to follow along. They always tried to focus and persevere.
In the science class, the students learned how to build a magnet with two batteries, wire and a nail. They then tried to attract paper clips to the magnet. Natural curiosity was the characteristic I witnessed during this exercise. It took very little prodding for the students to try different ways to attract or repel small metal objects to the magnet they built. They were all eager to participate.
During the P.E. class, we decided to play different games. I think the kids enjoyed learning new games even though we had a short period of time in which to play them. The students played well together and there was never any arguments when competing. They seem to truly enjoy each other.
Throughout the week I observed disciplined and hardworking students in a kind and comforting community. I was moved by how helpful and caring the students were with each other. For example, sometimes it was difficult for me to ensure everyone was quiet and paying attention, but at Muktangan, the students helped by making sure their peers were paying attention. They also did not take advantage of me because of the language barrier. This demonstrated their level of maturity. The students were also self-advocates, always asking me or their peer’s questions if they do not understand something.
I was incredibly touched by the students’ caring attitude and enthusiasm for learning. They surprised us by giving the volunteers their school pens and pencils at the end of the week. I will truly miss their company and the feeling they gave me when I was helping them.