Summer Journeys: Logan Marku ’24, For the Children

For close to one month last summer, Logan Marku ’24 spent time each day working with young learners in Hua Hin, Thailand. Part of a more expansive childcare program, Logan’s work was designed to support local teachers in the classroom by helping young children learn and practice English while introducing them to basic educational concepts through songs, dances, games, and repetition exercises. Having volunteered at the daycare he attended as a child and later working with Children’s Aid in his Bronx community to support young learners develop reading and writing skills, Logan was well-prepared for the task.

“The children I worked with were around four- and five-years-old. They were just the most cheeky, cutest little kids,” says Logan. “Their schooling system and teaching approaches are very different from when I have taught in America. I chalked it up to cultural differences, but it did throw me off from time to time.”

Logan traveled to school each morning by tuk-tuk—an auto/rickshaw, of sorts, and the primary form of transportation in many urban areas of Thailand. Each school day began with a physical activity designed to energize learners while developing their language skills.

“The activity might be playing and singing along to an English children’s song to sharpen their English language skills and hone their understanding,” Logan explains. “Afterwards, we would hop into a wide range of topics for our lesson.”

After a few hours of morning lessons and some afternoon play time, Logan would spend time preparing lessons plans for the next day.

“Our lesson plans could consist of anything from numbers, colors, shapes, words, letters, the weather, and much more.”

And while Logan chose this opportunity because he was eager to continue working with young children in the classroom, he chose Thailand for its beauty and culture. Hua Hin, his home-base, is a city on Thailand’s southern coast known for its stunning beaches, history, and celebrated cuisine. Logan also visited the storied tourist island of Koh Tao.

“I traveled to different temples and met monks. I observed their culture and some of their traditions, as well,” says Logan. “Thailand is extremely beautiful, yet like most countries, there is a bad side. There were a few uncomfortable situations, but I was able to make the most of my time there. I climbed up the side of a mountain. Sang a bunch of karaoke. Took some photos with my camera for Mr. Yin. I saw the sunrise on the beach. I actually slept on a beach, too. So much delicious food. And most importantly, I met a diverse cast of people all interested in helping.”

Most important to Logan among that diverse cast of people: his students.

“The children were amazing. They were definitely the highlight of the whole trip— it was hard to not get attached,” notes Logan. “It really hurts me to think that sometimes, our contributions to these communities are not as fruitful as we’d like because we only have limited time and presence in the children’s lives. Leaving Thailand left me with a bittersweet feeling. I was happy that it happened and ecstatic to go home and see my brother. Yet, a part of me wanted to stay there to see if I could help more. I truly hope each and every one of the children I helped grows up to be someone that is proud of themselves and willing to help others.”

Logan’s travel was made possible in part by a Robert Keyes Poole ’50 Fellowship.

Established in memory of Robert Keyes Poole ’50, Taft teacher from 1956 to 1962, Poole Fellowships are awarded each year to enable Taft students to engage in travel or in projects consistent with Mr. Poole’s lifetime interest in wildlife and the environment.