In week 5, as part of the TFI community involvement, we went to Hushu special school twice and interacted with the students from the 1st grade to the 9th grade. This was especially significant for me since I have not had the privilege of interacting much with children with special needs. To be really honest, I was really apprehensive with regards to this for I am not known for the best of tempers and patience with kids and was really afraid I was going to lose my cool and ruin a perfectly good day for the kids.
Thank goodness, by the grace of God, I really managed to hold it together and somehow brought smiles to their faces. One of the most challenging experiences was actually trying to keep the attention of the 3rd graders in the class I was attached to on Monday. They are really enthusiastic and hyperactive but I could tell that they had problems trying to express themselves which can really be exasperating to both parties. I tried managing the one or two around me by mirroring how the teachers of the class managed them and I really respect how they can do this day in day out for years, really caring for and teaching these kids, where most of us will lose it in just a couple of days.
Day 1 – Group pic
On Friday, the 2nd time we went over, it was easier to some extent since we were doing a dance class for the 4th to 9th graders. This required less interaction with the children for their attention was more or less glued to our instructors Kenji, Wesson and Tim, while the rest of us managed them by making sure they were safely dancing and spread out well. This made me realise that we did the right thing by grabbing their learning through kinaesthetic learning. This was all good till we realised when we were done that we overestimated the amount of time we required to teach and perform the dance… This led us to try to entertain them with all sorts of different dances from our 3 instructors and then the team was like “Come Marcus, sing.” and me being me, could not say no…
Day 2 – all learning and doing the dance
And so, I just picked the Ed Sheeran song “What do I know?” and just sang for them, but soon realised on the stage as I was singing that that was a huge mistake, all I got from them was blank stares. In retrospect, I should have gone for a Chinese song, one that they could appreciate since they might understand the lyrics and it was something they could relate to in some way.