The Student Becomes the Teacher
A family traveled to Siem Reap, Cambodia on spring break and shared their experience and the confidence-building activities their son engaged in during their Globe Aware volunteer vacation.
Learning in a one-to-one environment helps students build confidence. They grow in ways they never knew possible, and try new things they may have not done before.
Patrick, a Fusion Park Avenue student, is a glowing example of this. He and his family spent their spring break on a service trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Patrick”s mom sent the Park Avenue team the following email about their trip:
"I hope everyone had a nice spring break. I thought you guys might like to see some highlights from our sightseeing and service trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia with a great voluntourism organization, Globe Aware. Patrick was awesome in taking on the role of a "teacher" and the kids " despite language barriers " really connected with him.
We volunteered at the small "English-speaking" school in one of the poorest villages just outside Siem Reap. We were charged with helping the kids ranging in age from about 7 to 15 practice their conversational English. We were with them, totaling about 50 students, for 3 days. It was an incredible experience and Patrick was really moved by it and the children he met. While some of the kids were clearly amazingly bright, because of their economic disadvantages, I”m told the vast majority of them will ultimately stop going to school by the time they reach 7th or 8th grade. And, the school”s continued sustainability also remains fragile. As inspirational our time there was, parts of it were also heartbreaking.
I hope the time we spent there, and the students” interactions with my kids, motivate them even just a little to try and keep pursuing their education in spite of the challenges they face economically and at home.
With that in mind, thank you all for the influence you”ve had on Patrick which helped him be able to shine in that setting and to feel he was doing something worthwhile and meaningful. You are all great mentors and have really helped Patrick emerge from a much more difficult place two years ago when he first came to Fusion. As I mentioned to Heather (Head of School, Fusion Park Avenue), he came there emotionally "broken" and you”ve all been huge contributors in his ability to heal and put him back on the path to being the kind, empathetic, and impactful member of society that I”ve always known he can be. Who knows, maybe some day he”ll go back to Cambodia or journey elsewhere and be a force that helps those children stay in school and break the seemingly inescapable cycle they are in.
I will be eternally grateful for the influence each and everyone of you have had in his development and growth.
As you”ll see, for his foray in the classroom, on one of the days we had him wear his Fusion t-shirt. I think it was a bit symbolic and a bit of a tribute to his teachers back home.