Lydia Van Wolde
This week I had the privilege of teaching English in a second grade classroom of 15 students at the NIBC (Not I but Christ) school. What a rewarding experience!
The week started out a little shaky. Elana, the other student teaching with me, and I were not told what types of things the teacher wanted us to do in the classroom. So, we did what we could. We read books in English to the children, told them a little bit about ourselves, and began to teach the letters of the Alphabet. However, we sensed that the children had already learned much of what we had taught them. They were very advanced in their English, and already knew how to spell some of the words we used to teach the alphabet. They also had great pronunciation, and could hold a basic conversation in English.
After the class was done I was very discouraged. During this trip we have been encouraged to think about what good development looks like. I knew that what we had done in that classroom was not good development. We had taught without any guidance from those who would know how to use our abilities the best. The time we had spent with the children was worthless. However, we were able to talk to the teacher and came to an understanding of what we could do better the next day.
The next day was wonderful. Because we had a plan, and instruction from the teacher, we were able to really connect with the children. We taught pronunciation of sounds, and because we were Americans, the kids got to here what words sounded like without a Khmer accent. The teacher was pleased with how the class went and we felt like we had done some good development.
The classroom part of my teaching experience was by no means the most meaningful. After class, all of the Calvin students at the school got to know the teachers and the children. I played soccer with the children, and taught them rock, paper, scissors. I also had time to get to know the teachers and here their story of why they were teaching at the school. They are wonderful women who set a great example for the children they teach.
We were able to teach at the school for four days. Each day our relationship with the children and the teacher grew. I am so blessed by this experience. I really enjoyed getting to know the children, they are beautiful and full of love. They always wanted to be near us, to hold our hand, to be on our team. The teacher also showered us with love. They really made an attempt to get to know us, even thought English was not and easy language for them to communicate in. I would not trade this experience for the world.
As far as development goes, I think the school is doing a good job. The second grade teacher I worked with was a graduate from an NIBC school, and the children are obviously taught well. I think that the organization is trying to work with the Cambodian people to provide a school that can meet the needs of the people without too much aid. The families who attend the school have to pay a small tuition, and most of the staff at the school is Cambodian.