I arrived at the TNKR office early this Sunday morning. The reasons?
* Two study sessions starting at 11 a.m.
* Skype call at 11:30 am.
* Waiting for refugees who may arrive early for the matching session.
* Orientation by TNKR National Director Eunkoo Lee for a student who couldn’t make it yesterday.
* Another study session at 1 pm.
* Matching session from 2 pm.
Thankfully I arrived even earlier than I had originally planned. As I was starting to type this post, one student arrived at 10:50 a.m.! Yes, for a 2 pm session, she arrived more than 3 hours in advance. This beats the previous record of 11:30 a.m. Some fans wait in line to buy new tennis shoes or video games. Refugees in TNKR show up hours early so they will have the chance to choose tutors.
I think it was more than two years ago that TNKR National Director Eunkoo Lee suggested that students choose based on when they arrive, and since then we have eliminated the problem of students showing up late. The issue now is that we must arrive early enough to meet students as they are arriving.
Eunkoo admits that she once thought that refugees were passive, but that if a program is designed properly, then even people who seemed to be passive can be actively engaged. We have a waiting list of 70 refugees eager to join TNKR, which is why we had an emergency orientation and will have an Emergency Matching session later today.


We have two volunteers who are tutoring and coaching this morning, both classes started at 11 a.m. It is amazing that we have so many people willing to give so much of their time to help North Korean refugees learn English.
Mark is having his first coaching session at TNKR. He first learned about us from TNKR’s appearance on 이만갑. His student has been with us for quite a while, she has studied English in many places. She says the difference is that TNKR tutors focus on her particular learning needs, rather than her having to follow a curriculum or to study in a group session.
Louise has been tutoring in TNKR since late 2015. It is rare to have a tutor stay for so long with a single student. The student arrived about 20 minutes early for her class. What an improvement since she first began. She thanked me and said she is always thankful to TNKR for giving her such a great opportunity to study 1:1 with an English tutor for free.
Kaina joined TNKR earlier this year. She and her student have been studying continuously since then. This morning her student brought her a small gift. 🙂
We recently called for an Emergency Matching session, thankfully we had 10 tutors who went through the application process and came to the session. When I called it, I wasn’t sure we could get enough tutors for a session. We will be having our 60th Language Matching session later today, so I will be updating this.
We held an Emergency Orientation yesterday afternoon to get prepared for today. 10 volunteers answered our call for a Language Matching session this weekend. I often say that TNKR could not survive without volunteers. We feel it even moreso this weekend because we have been able to squeeze in another Orientation and Matching session to slightly reduce the waiting list of 70 refugees.
What’s even more incredible is that many of the volunteers stayed around for the Open House right after the Orientation. Anna Martinson, TNKR fundraising manager, led the session.





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