The Writers of Twin.kle
When introducing students to a simplified, circular writing structure, I often discover I don’t need to completely retell the entirety of my example. Upon mentioning Orpheus and his wife’s unfortunate encounter with a serpent, many students have already imagined the descent down the steps into the underworld and their hands shoot up to tell the rest of the story. One student once pulled out a card with an illustration of Eurydice – fortuitous and hilarious.
After several questions about whether or not their story idea fits the structure, pencil comes to paper, and in the end, I am treated to, for instance, one student’s story about a heartbroken lover who willingly marches to war to be rejoined with his one and only in the afterlife after losing them to a terrible illness.
It goes without saying that not every class is going to lead to this result. Nor is every student going to deconstruct an example and write their own version with their personal flair. But what I want to stress is how the students of Twin.kle bring so much unexpected knowledge and a willingness to try new, difficult ideas.
Teaching writing is perhaps my favorite section of each class. Storytelling is something each student naturally does and enjoys. Yet, organized writing is not so natural. Their imagination is abundant, and it mixes with all the early influences they have been exposed to into a potpourri, which at times may be hard to follow. But as their sponge-like brains learn structure, their confidence grows. It is incredibly satisfying to see a student, who at first didn’t enjoy writing, suddenly turn in a much longer piece after writing silently for many minutes. To temper expectations, I will add that their writing still has mistakes and perplexities. However, I don’t recall myself writing an essay at this age.
As for how I got here, I was lucky; I was quite naïve to the hagwon sphere after only working as a private tutor, and the process for searching for a job within it seemed unruly. My lack of hagwon experience left me no tangible expectations. I only knew Twin.kle felt different (partly due to an ad that numerous teachers have already cited and definitely due to the relaxed nature of the interview process). But my fortunes as a teacher are due to the work environment that has been created, refined, and maintained by Andrew, Brian, and the teachers who preceded or work alongside me today.
Now I get to read stories of Abraham Lincoln statues turned alien, children who spin around a café after realizing their mother won’t purchase a slice of cake for them (all told in the present tense for maximum poetic dismay), or a satirical essay piece about North Korea told through the lens of a fictional spider. You could call me out on the last one and say I am reading into it too much, and that may be true. But regardless of intention, it was still AWESOME!