Learning by Teaching

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

The stress of the last-minute cram for a test could be seen in each and every one of my kids’ faces, which were contorting from determination, to anxiety, to confusion, and back again. My students were huddled in the back of the dojang, reviewing routines, foot positions, and terms, with only ten minutes before we began. Not even a day ago, the room had been bustling with kids practicing in lines, frequent kihaps filling everyone’s ears. Today the room was reduced to parents’ soft conversations, kids’ nervous questions, and the occasional snap of a crisp uniform. I was positioned in my usual corner of the room: at the front, next to the judges’ table. The table is a simple fold-out, but over it was a thick red cloth with our school’s insignia in bright colors and our school's name in golden script. Seemly and ceremonial, it gave the everyday practice room a feeling of gravity and importance.

The school’s master, and my boss, Master Ha, motioned for me to join him by his seat. “It looks like you’re the highest belt here; you’ll be judging with me today.” I struggled to keep my cool, which resulted in a small laugh and an attempt at an eloquent response: “okay-cool-thank-you, sir.” The table is reserved for the most senior...

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