An Hye-jung (
An first started working as a teacher at Simji her freshman year. An was attracted to the slogan word of Simji, which is “teaching” not “volunteering.” “I always wanted to become a teacher, but since I did not get into the
As a senior at her university, An lives a hectic life preparing her thesis paper to graduate during the day, and working as a headmistress at Simji during the night. An said, “There is no particular strategy in carrying out responsibilities, both as a student and a headmistress. Even if you are in a field that you haven’t experienced before, being a chief who always think of others as the number one priority will enable you to overcome all the challenges.”
An seems happy with her job as the headmistress despite all the difficulties or burdens she confronts. “It might sound a little weird, but I never felt an urge to run away from the heavy responsibilities I hold. I partially owe gratefulness to my fellow teachers who always respect my decisions and opinions,” said An.
Regarding the age of the students who attend Simji, An views them not as elderly people but just as any other students that we might imagine. “Although they are old, they are not that different from other elementary school kids. They are pure, and innocent. Sometimes they engage in fights with each other. And sometimes they cannot understand what I teach. However, all these instances are great fun for me,” An added.
The most touching and delightful moments for her are when the students at Simji express their gratitude and pleasure of learning new things. “One day, a student came to the teacher’s room with a bag of sweets. The student said, ‘For the first time in my life, I arrived Simji by reading the letters spelled out on a bus by myself. Thank you so much, ’” said An.
An will serve as a headmistress until May this year, completing her term for one semester at Simji. Even if her tenure finishes this year, An says she will serve as a teacher at Simji until she leaves Chungcheong province. To other college students who wish to become a teacher in the future, An gives this advice: the students who are really needed as teachers at Simji are now just sitting in a chair only studying for the teacher appointment exam. “What they need to do is not only prepare for the exam by memorizing theoretical concepts, but also by building up the practical skills as a teacher in a real school. Working at Simji is not only a volunteer work, but it is a chance to train oneself as a teacher before advancing into the real society, it is one of the ways to elevate your value, the quality of yourself. Studying is not everything.”