This week, we met up with three students, Esme L, BonBee L., and Tiny K, who make up the group ETB!
The three Grade 5 Elementary School students all started this academic year stranded overseas, yet their spirit and enthusiasm for school have never waned. What began as a project of sharing jokes online with eight students in a Grade 1 class turned into a weekly online course teaching English to the whole of Grade 2 – on average 50 students per session!
They also meet regularly with teachers Yuka Kominato, Evelyn Chang, and Karen Callahan for their weekly learning targets. However, all of the artwork and content in their presentation slides for lessons are done and created by themselves. Furthermore, the students have even developed their ETB brand by creating their logo and website too.
We can’t help but be proud of their outstanding dedication and hard work at such a young age!
Here are their stories:
Can you tell us more about the ETB project? How did the idea come about?
Esme: So it all started when I made a little joke book for my Grade 4 teacher, who loves jokes and riddles. I also shared it with my EAL teacher Ms. Karen Callahan, who then shared it with some other teachers, such as Ms.Evelyn Chang, the Grade 1 teacher.
Ms.Callahan asked if anyone else in Grade 5 wanted to join, and Tiny offered. We started making a joke book, and a few days later, BonBee joined. I didn’t know BonBee and Tiny then. I always knew BonBee’s name, but we never really talked to each other, and I didn’t know Tiny, but I was interested to know her.
BonBee: For ETB, we create small books and games. We also write fantasy stories and nonfiction stories about a character, or sometimes it could be about one of the ETB members. I like monkeys, so we’re planning to make a fantasy story about a girl with a pet monkey.
Tiny: Getting into ETB is one of the best things in my life because there are many experiences that we go through! We teach many things like reading and phonics to Grade 2.
How does it feel teaching the Grade 2 kids, and what have you learned from this experience?
Esme: I have learned to organize my time well because sometimes I have a lot of classes these days. When I was younger, I always wanted to teach. I feel proud of myself, and I feel like I’m becoming a leader, like the Red Hats.
BonBee: I feel proud because of teaching all the younger kids about things that I’ve learned. I think it’s cool how they get an experience to learn from a Red Hat.
Tiny: This is one of the best experiences ever. I feel pleased that I got into ETB and I’m proud of myself. I didn’t know I would come this far.
What makes a ‘good’ teacher? What qualities are important?
Esme: They should be kind, funny, and also a little strict. I think they can be funny so students can enjoy the lessons but they also have to be a little strict so the kids don’t misbehave. Being a good teacher is sometimes hard because you’ll never know what a student’s behavior will be like.
Tiny: A good teacher is someone who is nice to their students, and teaches them well. However, sometimes you need to be strict!
Why do you think other students should experience being a “teacher”?
Tiny: They should experience this as they might want to become a teacher when they grow up. Being a teacher is great because you can teach younger students and help them to become more smart, funny, and more. Being a teacher isn’t that hard!
Life at ISKL
How fast did you learn the Melawati Way (MW)? How do you practice it at home?
Esme: I learned the MW in a few days only. I also follow the code at home – I help my mom by cleaning up the house and cleaning my desk.
BonBee: It did take me a while to settle into understanding the MW, but I got used to it after being in ISKL for a few weeks. ISKL makes me feel comfortable and happy about having all this space, having so many friends to play with and lovely teachers here.
I like to play with friends because that helps me cooperate with other people and I like to play with others – not only on computer devices but also in real life. Before the lockdown, I wanted to have many playdates and read books with my friends. I like to have a lot of fun, which has made me creative and helpful.
Tiny: I practice the MW at home!
What do you like most about ISKL?
Esme: I like all the teachers. They are kind, and some are funny.
BonBee: I like how there are many different activities and how we can practice learning foreign languages. There are a lot of good people here at ISKL.
Tiny: I like that I have trustworthy friends and teachers. Teachers who are lovely and kind. I have great friends here too.
What are your hobbies and interests? What do you love doing after school?
Esme: My hobbies and interests are art, reading, and writing stories. I like to write fantasy stories because you can make up your own characters. I feel creative with my writing.
BonBee: I like to write fantasy stories, and I enjoy reading them. My favorite book is ‘Willa of The Wood’ by Robert Beatty; not many people know of that book, but I like it very much.
I also like hanging out with my friends or with my brother and sister, and I enjoy taking naps!
Tiny: I like reading, playing video games, and sometimes I like to draw. Mostly I prefer to read. I read novels but not too thick ones, mainly short stories.
If you could be any character from a movie/book, who would it be, and why?
Esme: I don’t have a favorite book, but I like Louis Sachar books.
BonBee: I would probably be Mr.Racoon because he is our ETB mascot. He goes on a lot of adventures. He’s adventurous, travels a lot, has a best friend – I think I would like to be Mr.Racoon!
Tiny: I don’t want to be anyone. I want to learn and be like any ordinary person in school, having fun with everyone.
What does “Be All You Are” mean to you?
Esme: I think it means not to try to be who you pretend you are and be who you are. Don’t pretend you’re good at something, but you’re not good at it. If you’re not good at it, then I think you should keep trying.
BonBee: I think it means that you don’t have to care about what others say; it’s just that you who is important, and it doesn’t matter how you look or how you feel. You are still good, and you can try your best and learn from your mistakes.
Tiny: Be yourself and don’t do what everyone tells you to be.
To find out more inspiring stories of our students, read about Izzy’s artistic spirit or Vincent’s love for music here!