Part 2: Coaches and Teams

By: Khaled Marashdeh

Last year, Sarah Heimlich posted “Teachers who make a difference”, a difference in the lives of their students. Since then, I have met a lot of those coaches (teachers).

Cancer Busters

Some good examples are the coaches of team Cancer Busters from Taiwan that I’ve met in Delft. I couldn’t find a better name than (The Family Team) to describe them. They have 6 adult mentors, who serve as a team of coaches. It’s a school team where all the members are in elementary school. Amongst the many teams in Taiwan that reached 400 points in the three rounds, Cancer Busters was distinguished as the fastest.

 The coaches (or the teachers) of the team made a huge influence in the demeanor of the team members.

Soonya Ku

Soonya Ku, one of the mentors, described her team members as “At the beginning of engaging FLL, they were shy, afraid, and kept saying we cannot win… we cannot compete” they kept rehearsing countless times on every part of the game, spent hours and hours working together. James Lee, another mentor, told me that some team members can recite, step-by-step, the job of every other member of their team.

 During the discussions, we talked about the kid who cannot keep up his/her peers in the team. As I was listening to the discussions between James and Soonya, who were speaking English with a lovely Taiwanese accent, I thought I heard the word “elimination.” I asked them “do

Soonya Ku & James Lee

you eliminate such a student?” Their reaction was one of shock, “elimination??? NO … no elimination at all … in such a case, the mentors will have a private meeting to find the best way to help that student.” said James. During these meetings mentors can spend enormous amounts of their personal time in discussions, plans and practical procedures designed to remedy the problem and support the student.

And the winners are...

So now, after successfully completing an FLL season, the students in Cancer Busters have a new outlook. “FLL changed their lives” said Soonya. The students now say “WE CAN DO IT. WE CAN WIN”.

Best Performance. Photo by the official FLL OEC photographer: Loek van der Klis

Two days after this interview, Cancer Busters won the Best Performance Award- 1st place in FLL-OEC 2010.

 What did those coaches do to help their kids? What did FLL do to all of them?

The amazing thing about FLL that it inspires everybody to do his/her best.