Interview with a culture designer—Jo Ara, youth teacher at <Hero School>
Date of interview: On November 16, 2011 (Interviewed on November 15, 2016)
Culture reporter: Lee Min-gyeong
Smiling with her crescent eyes, she said, “is it ok to interview me?”. Well, I believe anyone who not only draws empathy and communication but creates sharing culture necessary for the society with her own passion and talent deserves to be a culture designer. Don’t you think so?
“I am not a big fan of education prevailing in Korea. That is why I was attracted to <Hero School> carrying out the education in which students can learn their own strong points and develop them, improving the society. Well, it is completely opposite from score-oriented education prevalent across the country.
She is a youth teacher working at Hero School, committing to creating the community where people live helping one another. Hero School she has been working at is an educational program to provide a platform where students discover the issues and solve them, through which students can grow themselves as well as their worlds. It was the last day of the 7 week-long Hero School program at Ohyun High school when I had an interview with her.
“A motto of education is ‘Little Action, Big Change’. A tremendous change is followed by small behaviors. I thought it would be good if at least one out of 36 students can cry out for ‘Little Action, Big Change’, but more students than my expectation did that, which was a great pleasure for me.”
Then what is her dream? Any reasons behind her determination to have this dream? “I learned so many things after having studied abroad for years. I just want to share what I learned in my desperate twenties with those children living in an underprivileged, unequal situation, especially in terms of education. I would like to deliver my message that ‘You can do it’ like I did.
In the beginning she wanted to build a school in African countries where people lead marginalized lives without having opportunities for education so that they could be given equal education. However, she does not confine education to certain places any more, instead she wants to share what she learned and felt with those in need in person just like a one-man school.
“Education is equivalent to culture. I mean, my talent and interests are not simply mine but a part of the culture where people share and achieve win-win story. In a word, what produces people who practice the culture is education. In this sense, culture begins where I change.
I raised a question. If she can describe herself with one word, what would it be like? To this question, she said it is the ‘light’. There is no light seen in brightness because the light begins to illuminate in the darkness. Likewise, she explained she hopes to be the light through education shining even in the darkest place including the most backward places.
She is a genuine, flawless Tiara (Teacher+Ara), putting lot and lots of love into education and culture, walking hands in hands with others. Unlike those who set their answers or goals only and keep moving ahead. Every time she gets close to her dream, I look forward to our world getting brighter and brighter.