My favorite part of teaching at the camps was watching the students improve not only their test scores, but also their ability to find interests and passion from their past experiences. The students became more comfortable to share their ideas and opinions during discussion. I particularly enjoyed reading about my student’s backgrounds and stories from their daily journal entries, which both improved their writing and critical thinking skills. The following are my favorite lines from the journal entries:
1. “My mother used to tell me that I was from the rubbish can, but I think that I am okay with that. That means my friends are from the rubbish can too.”
2. “Autumn is the season to say goodbye and to say hello.”
3. “When I was a child, I had thought about how I could fly like a bird…I collected feathers…pasted them on my sleeves…climbed onto a tree a jumped. Of course, I fell onto the ground and cried because of the pain of my ass. My mom asked me why I did that, and I still don’t know why.”
4. “My friend was an extremely optimistic person, and I really admire that. He is the reason that I smile more, because he taught me to live life happily.”
5. “I had a scar on my head that I used to hide, because it made me look different. Eventually, my mother taught me that it was one’s actions that made people like him or her, not their outward appearances.”
Some of the essays made me giggle. Some of the essays made me think about myself. All of essays were windows to the students that allowed me to understand them better. I will remember the students by their unique and creative thoughts, rather than their test scores.