I spent this past year as the assistant basketball coach at Kinmen Senior High School. The team excelled on the court. In March, we flew from Kinmen to Taipei to play in the Division II National Championship Tournament. The highlight of the season however, came in May, when the team spent a weekend volunteering at a local elementary school.
Twenty of the team members trekked across the island to An Lan elementary school, the school I teach at, where they hosted a free weekend basketball camp for the students. I assigned Leo, our team captain, the role of liaison. Leo, who has aspirations of becoming a PE teacher, worked with the rest of the team to plan a fun day of basketball skills and drills for my students. I asked them to prioritize using English, as I felt it was important for my students to see Taiwanese high schoolers using English. They reinforced vocabulary by asking the students to say, “shoot” before they shot, or “dribble” before they dribbled. They asked the kids to count in English when stretching, too. The day ended with a 3 on 3-basketball tournament. The teams were made up of one high school student and two elementary students.
My players shined throughout the day. All of them were excellent role models and maintained energy that matched that of my students. In the end, my students learned a thing or two about basketball, and my players learned a ton about leadership. It was especially rewarding to see the two worlds that have defined my time on Kinmen collide. I could not have asked for a better day.
Author: Shane Fuentes 2018-2019 Kinmen ETA