TO: Create memories, share experiences, and inspire adventures.
Whenever people ask why do I make time for these people that I don’t even know, I always smile and say, “Because I can and I want to.”
A week after I held my first lecture, I was scheduled to hold another #TWIYC.tw lecture in another high school. This time, it was in New Taipei City. I had no idea where “Bei Da Senior High School” was located. Luckily, Teacher Irene was kind enough to offer me an easier method of going there: by being picked up from where I lived. She contacted me weeks before that day to coordinate with me about how the sharing would proceed.
With her kind request of me holding three lectures for that day, I was excited to meet all the senior high school students in all three classes. Prior to my arrival, they got a brief background of who I was through this blog. Teacher Irene showed them my blog and asked them what they wanted to learn from the lecture. I was given questions about the Philippines such as politics, tourist spots, traditions, culture, festivals, and food. Other than that, they also wanted to know more about why I chose Taiwan and how my life as an exchange student is and was (when I was in Korea). These enthusiastic inquiries that they had gave me more enthusiasm to meet them!
At around 8’o clock in the morning, Teacher Irene arrived at my doorstep and drove me to the school. She told me she was worried that it was going to be hard for me to commute to the school, so she decided to pick me up instead. It was really nice of her. Meeting the first class, I noticed that the students were a bit shy. Since they don’t speak much English, I tried my best to communicate with them in a phase that would make them feel comfortable. Fortunately, they became comfortable enough to interact and talk more. At the end of that lecture, we were bonding like friends! Two sweet girls even handed me origami of crane birds and a friendship bracelet to show their appreciation.
Afterwards, I had lunch with Teacher Irene at a Japanese noodle house. We talked about how these kids need encouragement on their English speaking abilities as well as on their confidence about exploring their potentials. This talk inspired me to focus on the importance of balancing education with other aspects in life. As students, we are said to focus “solely” on our studies. However, I think otherwise, I feel like the pressure of obtaining academic success is too much for these kids. Thus, I decided that I’d share my perspective on this topic.
Being given this opportunity, I grabbed it to show them that life is more than just about books. I told them about my observations about the behaviors of students from Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan. Comparing these, I emphasized on the fact that the burden of the pressure shouldn’t stress them out. Rather, they should find the balance between studying and enjoying other things such as sports, music, literature, or whatever that takes their mind off of that pressure they deem stressful. From my personal experience, doing so made me more motivated to perform well in my academic life while still relishing my passions such as writing, sports, and traveling.
One of the highlights of my lecture was increasing their confidence to speak in English. For these Taiwanese students, English is very important for them to reach out to a other people who do not speak Mandarin. “Practice. Practice. Practice.” I repeated this word for nth times so as to encourage them to do it. “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, it’s part of learning. That’s how you develop your skills, you make mistakes then you learn from those mistakes.” I knew that their fear of trying is rooted from their fear of making mistakes. However, I believe that mistakes aren’t failures. Not trying at all is failure itself. That’s why I assured them that it’s okay not to be perfect. Trying is a success already. Through practice, development is achieved, thus, more success is attained.
It was a heartwarming experience for me. My childhood dream which was to be a teacher when I grew up came true. (It was exhausting. Now, I finally understand how teachers feel after a whole day of work.) In my own little way, I hope that I inspired these students to learn more about life by traveling to places that they’ve never been to, discovering diversity through people, and experiencing authentic adventures they would remember for the rest of their lives. I believe this jump start for their journeys would help them along the way!