After wonderful days of biking, walking, exploring, and taking in experiences, sights, sounds, and smells, our group began our work with NIBC today. I was able to work with Rainbow School in the third grade classroom.
I was assigned to review the short vowel sounds. The teacher left the room for the day and I was left with the students and no plan for the hour. There were seven students in four small tables. As is customary, we all took off our shoes at the door. The whiteboard was extremely blue so that the blue marker barely showed up. Unlike U.S. classrooms, there was open floor space in much of the tiled room.
The students knew some English and one boy helped the students if they didn’t understand me. The two girls giggled when I spoke and repeated me … I think my English sounds funny compared to the Khmer or Korean accented English they usually hear! Below are some points which stand out to me:
- Many of the words the students used for flashcard review are things which they are not familiar with … foxes, maps, pillows, nibs (even students in the U.S. might not know that one!)
- When reviewing words with short vowel sounds, I would ask related questions to find more short vowel sounds. When we came to pillow, I had to explain what it was. I said I would put it on a bed. They responded, “no beds” and explained that they sleep on the floor.
- The children praying in Khmer.
- The students telling me what they want to be … a teacher, three doctors, one interpreter, one chef. I pray they will do great things for God in this country.
- The children in the room next door reciting, “and Jesus said, “let the little children come to me…”
I loved working with these students today. It is literally impossible for me to comprehend the difference in the lives we live. I want to celebrate the wonderful culture and way of life as developed through history while I continue to struggle with the questions. “What should be developed? How? What will be lost with development as traditionally sought?” I don’t want this country to be caught up in the western ways.”