First of all, I would like to thank SUTD for giving me a chance to partake in this experiential trip to Hushu Special School, a school that caters to needy children with learning disabilities. Taking time out from our busy schedule to visit Hushu Special School twice a week to teach Class 9 had been enriching and meaningful. The lively students were very passionate about learning new things. They were a very engaging and helpful bunch of children that never failed to brighten up our day. Throughout the course, we taught them Basic English phrases and held simple origami sessions which taught them how to fold crane, box, and shuriken, among other shapes, with the aid of step-by-step visuals. As for the English lessons, we wrote Chinese characters next to the English phrases that have similar pronunciation so as to better facilitate the teaching process. Subsequently, we helped to refresh their memories by recapping with them the phrases learnt. While most of the students required special attention, we were patient with them and conducted the classes at a comfortable pace for them to follow. There were times where the students got bored and we tried interacting with them more to ensure they stayed engaged and interested during classes.
One of the exciting events that took place was the Children’s Day celebration (1st June) held in the school hall. The children put up performances, dancing and performing together with us students and their parents, and I have to say it was an enjoyable experience. We were all very grateful for the teacher who selflessly volunteered to help us out with the dancing practice sessions. After which, there was a mini inter-class competition where the parents cheered supportively for their children, and they took family photos at a photo booth we set up for them with a wide variety of props to choose from. It was definitely a memorable event.
As I walked around Hushu Special School, I saw that the corridors were littered with advices like ‘说话用文明语‘ which translates ‘to use civilised language when talking’, subtly inculcating students with moral values. Also, there was a duty roster in each class where two students from each class were required to clean up the tables after they had their meal. They called it ‘搞卫生‘, which gave them a sense of responsibility and leadership, nurturing them to be independent people. I was amazed at how well behaved the students were, how they selflessly volunteered to help out with tasks, and how polite they were. Their interest in learning and cheerful laughter were perhaps the reasons why I looked forward to teaching them each time.
All of the group members had clocked the required 15 hours of CIP halfway through our trip, and while the other groups agreed to visit Hushu Special School only once a week after clocking the required hours due to their busy schedule, our group decided to go the extra mile. We decided to commit our time to two lessons per week until their term ended just to spend more time with the children, and we undoubtedly grew attached to them by the end.
In retrospect, this CIP trip to Hushu Special School has allowed me to become a better person. Apart from making wonderful friends at the school, I got to know my fellow SUTD mates better too. Moreover, I learnt to improve my time management skills and oral Mandrin Chinese skills. Teaching a class has also boosted my confidence level as a public speaker. Ultimately, I got to enjoy the joy of being a teacher watching his students acquire new knowledge.
(practicing for the dance performance on Children’s Day)
(patiently teaching them origami)
(creative way of learning english)
(a group photo with Mrs. Zhang who was in charged of us)
Chew Cheng York