Drawing Club

The first time my heart became warm and I felt proud of my artwork was in 3rd grade. My burning red dragon was hung up on the wall, and I heard someone’s mother complimenting on it. I stood from about a meter away, gazing up at my piece because I never thought I was good at art but I knew I loved to make art pieces.

In 9th and 10th grade, I chose visual arts for my “Arts” choices, but when I started IB in 11th grade I chose to do chemistry instead of visual arts due to the limit of subject choices. So, I started a Drawing Club out of school with several friends including several from other schools. We drew whatever we wanted and gave each other feedback and critiques afterwards.

Several Artworks

Along with Prom Committee, Drawing Club was where I was able to take a break from academics, services and sports. Creating art was a means of relaxation and way to express myself. Even though I am determined to proceed in the career of sciences, that does not keep me from being an artist as well. I believe that this artistic side of me is significant in order to releasing my stress and express my emotions, and I will definitely keep this part of me in the future as well.

Additional Reflection (with Mr. Pitter):

Cambodia Presentation

On September 5th, 2016 there was an information session about the 2016 – 2017 Cambodia Trip for the new and also interested returning Grade 11s. Our coordinator, Mr Pomeroy spoke generally about the trip itself, and me and two other former members talked about what we did, felt and learned. I wanted to talk about how the trip changed me, and also give some tips and ideas when fundraising.

Below are the notes I made for my speech, which are really rough because I did not want to read off a paper but rather speak from my heart. Whilst writing this, I remembered that it was not just the trip itself but also the work we put into it beforehand that made this activity so memorable. I think this also applies to other aspects in life, whether it’s a science project or simply just growing a flower.

Presenting this speech was a nerve racking experience because I am not used to talking from my heart to such a large group of audience (I was honestly expecting only a few students to join). What made this more difficult was that it was something that meant a lot to me, and I can remember my hands were trembling and my heart was beating fast when I reminisced about my time in Cambodia last year during my speech. Despite this, I felt relieved after my speech on how I was able to pass on my thoughts to others about this important global issue.

I guess what I will do differently next time is to try not to focus on how much I’m trembling but hold the microphone tight and try to communicate my voice in the greatest confidence that I have. This experience also taught me that I now have the confidence to grab the microphone to talk first, but I still stumble on my words or have my nervous habits distract me from my speech. But in the end, that’s okay because at least I am not shy anymore to share my voice.

KUMON

In middle school, I was learning at KUMON Ishikawachou (a Japanese learning course outside of school). The summer in 2014, 2015, and 2016, I had the pleasure of working there to help out as a staff/ teacher’s assistant.

When I first interned at KUMON in 2014, my main job  was to help two Philippine children learn Japanese.Since they came to the class with their mother, who was also taking a Japanese course, the days and times varied on when they were free. Usually it would be around an hour to an hour an a half, depending on that day (days and times listed on the calendar below). To be able to be comfortable with Japanese, where the mother was able to study her own course and I was able to help the kids. Being in an environment where Japanese was spoken was another good way for the kids to learn Japanese. The sister was 11 years old (Mina) and the brother was 6 years old (Hideki).

They did writing by themselves by the worksheets and I listened to their speaking, as well as correct their mistakes (in writing and speaking)

1. Undertaking New Challenges

I have been a teacher assistant at local preschool, but I have never been in a teaching position for students older than the age of 6. It was intimidating and I was afraid I would not be able to be much help, but I learned that doubting myself only makes things worse. I was most proud when I was able to teach an Indian man learn Japanese. I listened to him speak, and corrected any mistakes. Even in the month during summer that I was working here, I was able to notice his improvement in reading pronunciation and comprehension.

2. Developing New Skills

At the beginning I was afraid I would misread student’s names in kanji or I would accidentally mark a paper wrong. But as both the students and I got used to each other, it made it easier for me to interact with them. I was only able to give back marked papers at the start, but at the end I was able to give feedback on where they made a mistake and where they should be focusing on as well.

KUMON Worksheets

Prom Committee

In Yokohama International School, Prom is held every year to celebrate the seniors. Planning and organising for this event takes a very long time and effort by the Prom Committee. This year’s prom was held on May 27th at Motion Blue Yokohama, and I was a part of the committee along with 8 other girls. Our job was to find and decorate the venue, promote the event, manage the financial plan, create a movie for the seniors, create a schedule for prom day and coordinate any other necessity such as the band and speeches.

2016 Prom

1. Planned and initiated activities

Although our main “activity” to plan for was the prom itself, we all focused on different aspects of the event. I mostly organised the attendances and creating the invitations, receipts and letter to hand to the students and faculty. The names on each invitation for the teachers and receipts to the students were hand written and handed to each person individually.

Invitation / Receipts / Letter2. Working collaboratively with others

Personally, I think it was easy for us to get along and have things work out smoothly since our group consisted of only our friends. When there was a time to make a decision we were able to truthfully say how we felt so we were able to get many different opinions on a idea; this was crucial to make this prom the best we could.

3. Show perseverance and commitment

Although we only had our meeting once a week during Thursday lunchtime, we also had to give up other times, especially when it got closer to the prom date in order to finish things on time. The 2 months countdown to prom day, we sold tickets every day during lunch and on prom day we all gathered at the venue from 12 either for the band rehearsal or to set up the venue.

4. Develop new skills

It was my first time advertising a large event and handling other people’s money, which was a great responsibility to have and I learnt that I cannot always put things on hold. For example we had a document with a record of who paid and it would have caused a problem if we did not update that while we remembered who paid.

The process for organising this one event was long, but felt much shorter than I expected. We formed the team at the end of our Sophomore year, although the time went by very quickly. This was a great experience and it made me really happy when we got so many positive feedbacks from the seniors and faculty. I made me realise the importance of time management and being organised, how team work can make such a large accomplishment, and how satisfying it feels to be able to show people a work that took so long to create.

Overall, I think this was a learning experience and I will be incorporating many of the skills and lessons learnt to my studies and future occasions. Since this year’s Prom Committee will be helping out the upcoming Juniors with next year’s prom I hope that we will be able to give helpful advices and contribute to the event in order to make it even better than this year’s.

Moral Dilemmas

You are a doctor at a hospital. Two patients are carried into the emergency room. One is a middle aged male scientist who has almost found a cure for AIDS who is only mildly injured. He is pleading to you to save his daughter first. Which if you do, there will be no time to save the father. The other patient is the scientist’s daughter who is moderately injured and the only family member she has is her father. Who do you save?

Are My Beliefs True?

“Do you care whether your beliefs are true?”

In most occasions, I do not care if my beliefs are true because whatever my beliefs are, I would have believed it assuming that it was true. For me to believe it in the first place would of taken me to be skeptical of that belief first, and then observe the evidence that will persuade me to believe it.

Additionally, proving a belief true or false would be extremely hard. As mentioned before in class, we have shared knowledge and personal knowledge which differs us a person. Just to define “truth” itself would be extremely hard.

On the other hand, I do care about the truthiness of my beliefs that affect me personally. For example, although I believe that the Earth was created from the Big Bang, I do not care if this turned out to be true or false. On the other hand, if I was in a situation in which I needed to make a life changing decision or learn something that affects my future, I would care if that belief I hold was true or not.

Perspective, Bias and Paradigms

“We see the world, not as it is but as we are.” – Talmud

Our perspective depends heavily on how and where we are living in. We are all influenced by what is around us everyday, and we can see this through how we react upon a situation. Therefore, I agree with Talmud’s statement above.

Most of the time when people are exposed to controversial ideas, their final opinion depends on the reason/s that they have created in their mind. This framework is called paradigms. Paradigms are different for everyone because we are exposed to different things that affect us differently. For example, there would be different opinions when discussing the topic about the World War 2 for someone who is Japanese and another who is American. It is more common for a Japanese person to blame a lot of the damage from the war to the Americans because they are exposed to the Japanese side of the story more. This example shows that the origin of the person and their level of knowledge associates with how people view the world.

Another is our opinions on people. What I would think of someone would be different to what someone else would think of them, because we have not gone through the same experience/s with that specific person. For example, someone that is my best friend whom I love could be someone else’s enemy whom they hate. This is why even if that person may be nice or mean, it would all depend on the personal association we had with that person.

In order to peacefully have a discussion or debate, we should all start acknowledging each others differences in origin, knowledge and experience.

Concepts and Language

What role does language play in the accumulation of knowledge in this area?

Humans use language to communicate with each other, for expressing ourselves or some kind of situation.

What are the roles of the key concepts and key terms that provide the building blocks for knowledge in this area?

For example, words each have meaning and we combine those words to make full sentences that connect those denotations to fully describe who/what/where/when/why/how.

What metaphors are appropriate to this area of knowledge?

Any that makes sense.

What is the role of convention in this area?

With the correct use of diction or structure, it is hard to express things to other people. You have to have a skill to an extent in order to be understood by others.

YGK Summer School

The summer of 2014 and 2015 I had the opportunity to work at YMCA Global Kindergarten (YGK) Summer School located in Yokohama YMCA (横浜中央YMCA branch).

I helped out from around 10:00am to 3:00pm on weekdays from July 23rd to August 1st (8 days) (2014) and July 21, 22, 24, 27, 28, 30, 31 (7 days) (2015). My job was to be the teacher’s assistant and mainly help/ play with the kids. The students were 3 to 6 years old, and we usually had around 10 kids each day. Although the children were usually divided into classes for school (puppies, kittens, and cubs (categories separated by age)), for summer school they were all together in one room. 

One of my challenges during this experience was to break through my shyness and make sure I was someone the kids were able to interact with. I still remember at the start on the first day I was just standing watching the kids play because I wasn’t sure how to approach them. Despite that, after a few conversations and interactions, the kids and I quickly became really comfortable with each other.

Something I learnt the most was to be responsible. I had to be there and ready on time, listen and discuss with other teachers, email the organizer, get supplies ready, and most of all take care of the kids safely but also make sure they had fun.

Another challenge for me was the interaction with the students. They were at the age where they were able to think for themselves but not necessarily accomplish it or think thoroughly of the consequences. I felt a little hesitant to be strict on the students when they were behaving wrongly because I did not know them very well.

Overall I think this was a great experience for me, I enjoyed every second of it and also got to learn about being a preschool teacher firsthand. I am more comfortable when I am approaching little kids now, and from this experience I am further interested in being a teacher.

YGK