Meet the Team: Instructors Damar and Pichamon on Redefining Learning Inside and Beyond the Classroom
January 13, 2021
Here at Saturday Kids, we’ve somehow lucked out with a team of instructors who tend to be a multi-talented, multi-hyphenated bunch ,with an infectious curiosity about the world and a passion for inspiring kids through tech.
Damar Masato Hadisumarto and Pichamon Lertsakuncharoen are just two examples of that. Final year college students by day and rocket launchers (i.e. instructors) at Saturday Kids Japan by night (not literally), they juggle a various interests, responsibilities and opportunities inside and beyond the classroom, recently winning a series of hackathons. Based in Tokyo by way of Indonesia and Thailand respectively, here they share how and why they’re passionate about redefining learning in the classroom and the importance of learning beyond it.
By way of an introduction, what are both of you passionate about?
“Wow, that is a big question! I am passionate about programming and education – especially if they are both together. I’m passionate about reinventing the way of learning as well as the future – one that is in the hands of young children, the new generation.”
“Like Damar, I also enjoy teaching kids – when I see kids learning and growing, it motivates me and makes me happy. I also enjoy business research and marketing.”
What led you to teach at Saturday Kids?
“I learned about Saturday Kids from Damar and thought that the curriculum was really great.
For example, rather than simply learning from the textbook and following what the instructor tells them to do, Saturday Kids teaches kids to use design thinking and to learn through through hands-on activities. And the kids can do whatever they want using their creativity.
I support what Saturday Kids does, so I really like working here.”
“I agree! Saturday Kids doesn’t suppress children’s curiosity and instead embraces it.
In other schools, I’ve seen children’s test scores on the wall – that’s incredibly stressful for the kids. I don’t feel that learning should be like that. Here kids learn to develop a growth mindset, and that’s why I enjoy teaching at Saturday Kids.”
Beyond school and teaching at Saturday Kids, what do you two get up to?
“We recently participated in two hackathons together.”
“Our first hackathon – the Infinity Blockathon – was in Vietnam but held online. The challenge was centered around the medical supply chain in developing countries, and we came up with a block-chain based solution. Most of the other teams participated offline because they were in Vietnam and we were the only team participating online, and ultimately we managed to win the challenge!
Our second hackathon was launched by Mitsubishi Fuso – a truck company aiming for zero carbon emissions by 2030 and looking for ideas to achieve that goal. Fortunately, we were able to win again.”
That’s amazing. What made you want to take part in these hackathons, despite your already busy schedules?
“My friend told me about these hackathons and invited me to join their team.
I thought, this is already my last year in university already – why not do something memorable with my friends, have some fun together, and see if I can learn something new along the way?”
“I knew that with this team we could do something really great, that’s why I felt that it was a great opportunity to participate in something together. We are all fourth-year university students and almost going to graduate. So although we were quite busy at times, I felt that it’s a really good chance to experience something we are all passionate about, and have a last big adventure together.”
“Yes, because participating in big events like these are not things you can do after you graduate. Once we start working, we can’t do these sorts of things again.”
What did you learn in the process of participating in these experiences beyond school?
“I learned how to manage time better. Because we had a time limit to work on everything, we needed to do everything quickly. Moreover, I learned to have trust in your friends – that they’ll do their part while you’re finishing your own parts, so we can make something great together!”
“Teamwork is very important. And the most memorable takeaway wasn’t just thinking of new ideas, but actually implementing and doing them.
“I learned a lot through my work teaching at Saturday Kids, too. When I first started, I had no experience and so was trained by other instructors here. They always motivated me; even when I made mistakes, they would remind me that it’s not the end – there’s always time for improvement and to learn from my mistakes.
I realised that in order to be good at something, it takes time to learn and try and try again and adapt, and for that you need perseverance.
I think I’m much better than how I was when I first started off at Saturday Kids.”
What inspires and motivates both of you to do so much outside of school?
“I feel that there’s a lot more to learn than what schools can teach you.
Not everything is confined to what you’ve learnt in school – participating in all these events and activities gives you a lot of experience. For example, when dealing with kids, you can learn how to adapt to certain situations. Sometimes, not every kid can always understand the same set of explanations, hence you must learn to adapt, and from there you can learn many new skills. Mentorship, the new knowledge you gain from people who work in actual companies, the advice they give you – schools don’t teach you these things, you can always learn new things through different experiences.”
“Other than gaining new skills – students should make use of their privileges as students as much as they can!
As a student, there are so many different privileges that you won’t be able to receive once you graduate – and, no, I’m not just talking about student discounts. If people know that you are a student, they are more likely to help you out. Once you become a working adult, I think that sort of privilege slowly runs out.
You should really take advantage of this as much as you can, for as long as you can.”
If you’re keen to join our crew of rocket launchers inspiring kids to use code to create a better world, keep an eye on our socials for openings or shoot us an email. There’s always room for more curious big kids onboard our rocket ship to reinvent how kids learn through digital literacy.