By Ingrid To (ELED graduate, 2009)
“Education is an admirable thing. But it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught. “(Oscar Wilde)
When Eunice first invited me to help our student teachers for the trip I was still in Japan. Little did I know at that time how the experience of accompanying my juniors to teach in Korea would actually benefit myself immensely in turn. In the 5-day experience I had with the group, we had earnest exchange during lesson planning and revised lesson materials together. Seeing how they strived for an excellent lesson delivery, my passion in teaching was reinvigorated. My heart pounded with joy in realising how much I like teaching, or simply working with fellow teachers to plan an effective lesson.
In Daegu, I felt deeply about the need to possess generic skills of teaching that should allow us to impart knowledge transcending borders and languages. When a lesson is effective and successfully carried out, students are willing to be engaged and their confidence is boosted through producing more language themselves. We all somehow learn from books about how to teach a new group of students with a vast difference in learning abilities, but the real learning only starts when we face the challenge in practice – you can only get equipped enough and learn from each experience; and each of these experiences becomes a badge that marks a certain achievement / landmark a teacher has made through hard work and humble learning. Our student teachers boldly took the challenge, and they have learned much about teaching that is not limited to their own local context; effortlessly making suitable adaptations whenever circumstances arise in class also takes time to master.
I must say it was not just the diligence and persistence of the group that impressed me. These are some of the unforgettable moments that stick even after the trip:
- the serious faces shown when you all drooped your heads and ceaselessly wrote notes during lesson observation at the junior high school;
- the nights we spent amending the lessons;
- that dinner night we talked from 6pm to 9pm up on the 17th Floor over delicious Korean food;
- the sparkles in your eyes shone when you reached an epiphany and decided on how to elaborate an instruction stage for your lesson;
- when each of you came to ask about my tiny wound after my clumsy fall from the stairs;
- when Eunice and I got the nicely washed and presented strawberries, and the rice rolls you bought for us for breakfast in the rain.
Thank you for taking good care of everyone in the trip. All of you have shown a paragon of virtues of teachers, and I am really proud to have worked with each of you.
Shortly after the trip, I soon reckoned how the experience could further open doors for me. I went for a job interview and my experience of providing assistance in this teaching trip was very helpful in positing myself as an eligible candidate. My sincere gratitude goes to Eunice, Professor Park and the Faculty of Education for making this rewarding trip possible.