As I was looking for volunteer opportunities to take part in over summer vacation, I came across an activity that caught my eye: the Jamsil Youth Center was recruiting teenage mentors to teach younger mentees between the ages of eight and sixteen. I decided immediately that I want to participate.
The purpose of the “Talent-Sharing Youth Mentor” program is to develop the talents that teenage mentors possess and foster cultural sensitivity among mentors and mentees. Another important purpose is to share their talents and abilities with mentees. Any talent, whether it is computer coding, handicrafts, singing, or the ability to speak a foreign language, were welcome.
|Rehearsing beforehand to teach, Photo credit: Minseo Kwon|
During the first two weekly meetings, the program’s manager, other volunteers, my coworker (Minseo Kwon), and I met at Jamsil Youth Center. Minseo and I planned out the lesson content, requirements for mentees, and the materials the facility should prepare for teaching English to non-native speakers and then organized this information on paper as a “lesson plan” of sorts. The director accepted our lesson plan after one revision and gave us one more task: to create the resources to be used when teaching. I was mostly responsible for writing up the content and information for the mentoring sessions. Thanks to the employees having advertised the program in advance and galvanized many younger students to participate, we were able to get started right away without difficulty.
|Screenshot of a teaching resource. Photo credit: Minjung Kwon|
When the three weeks of mentoring officially began, I was excited to get started. Our team met our four mentees online (because of COVID-19). In the first week, we taught the students sentences and phrases commonly used when greeting others and demonstrated how they are used in sample conversations. We also mentored the students on the fastest-growing occupational categories in the US and the obligations expected of each category. The following week, the students studied conversations between employees and customers in marketplaces/stores and learned terms related to food. In the third week, the students learned conversational phrases and terms used when traveling in a foreign country. At the end, I gifted a coupon to the mentee who participated the most actively throughout the past three weeks. Each week, we also prepared Bingo-style activities to review vocabulary and "Spot the Difference" games to entertain the students during the time left.
|An online class with the mentees. Photo credit: Minjung Kwon|
In the sixth and final week of the program, we were asked to show everything we did for the past three weeks in front of the center’s employees, mentees, and other mentors. From their presentations, we saw how the other mentors taught how to create buildings in Minecraft, ribbon crafts, terms related to medical remedies, and Scratch computer coding, among others.
|The final presentation week. Photo credit: Jamsil Youth Center|
Although it was daunting when I first faced the task of mentoring someone, this summer’s experience boosted my self-confidence. The program helped me in many ways, of which the most important was that I am now confident about approaching leadership positions. When the mentees were informed of the subject they would be learning (English), I obtained courage because I felt that this is something I can be of help to others in. Throughout the three weeks of mentoring, I gained the courage to speak in front of others. Although the class was for a small group and on a subject that I know well, the experience nevertheless made me better able to speak and share what I know with larger groups that have very different features from the students I taught through this program.
One thing that I noticed is that many teen mentors possess a lot of talent despite their young age. Listening to their presentations motivated me to do something with my life, whether by getting good grades in school or creating something on my own. Teaching the young mentees made me realize that children learn much faster and easier than I thought. I would love to continue volunteering through teaching if given the opportunity in the future.
Minjung Kwon (권민정)
Seoul Scholars International
Minjung Kwon email@example.com
<Copyright © The Herald Insight, All rights reseverd.>