To sum up what I’ve learned during my two weeks in SK Tumunda is really difficult because there’s just too much to say. Despite that, overall, I learned the value of tolerance, patience, teamwork, humility, thankfulness and most importantly, love. The saying “the more you give, the more you get” really reflects my experience as I realised that I took home more than I’ve given the kids and the volunteers.

One particular memory that struck me the most is my experience with one of the kids in my Mathematics class. As I took on the low-performing group, I had to teach them from the very beginning - addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. After the first week, all my students but one could already do all the basic calculations. Despite teaching him over and over again, he just can’t seem to get it and he couldn’t even memorise the multiplication table of 2. It was already the second week and my time with the kids was getting shorter hence, I got really impatient as he was slowing the group down and our class can’t seem to progress. My initial aim when I first started teaching the kids was to cover their UPSR syllabus as much as possible. When this happened and I couldn’t progress, I was really devastated and demotivated to continue. Thankfully, I had a very good support system(the other volunteers) that encouraged me to keep going and also a very dedicated Mathematics teacher in the school who taught me how to teach weaker kids how to memorise the multiplication table.

Hence, I tried my best to keep my cool and to be patient while teaching him. Whenever he forgets how to do it, I will just repeat myself over and over again until he gets it. Little did I know, my patience and the smile on my face were what kept him coming to my classes. One of the volunteers who had him for English later informed me that the boy told him that I was his favourite ‘kakak’ because I was really friendly and patient with him. This made me really guilty and had me reflecting on my own actions. Through this experience, I realised how small gestures such as a smile or just mere patience would light up someone’s world.

The last paragraph of this reflection will be dedicated to the SK Tumunda volunteers that I had the privilege to share a house with for two weeks. From strangers to family, we’ve bonded so well with each other over a short span of two weeks. I am really grateful for the 15 other beautiful souls who were there with me which made this experience so much better. For all the times when I felt like giving up on the kids or when things got difficult and tiring, they are the ones who were there for me and motivated me to keep going so I am really thankful. I also learned so much from them, especially their passion in giving back and their spirit throughout the programme. They also taught me to be humble and kept me grounded to my roots. So, if any of you are reading this, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart and know that all the memories created together will always have a special place in my heart.

Written by,
Shereen Goh

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