Overall Rating:/ 10Over summer I was placed at a school in Phnom Pehn, Cambodia teaching a Grade Three class of 36. The bright walls, cheerful kids and incredible teachers quickly made me fall in love with the place. I taught my class about nouns, adjectives and verbs, we learnt about singular, plural and negative form, occupations, appearances, clothing and directions. Seeing most of the class succeed and grasp these lessons was hugely exciting, while trying to manage to find time to help those who were falling behind was difficult and pushed me to think outside the box.
My highlights over the months are countless, they include seeing the kids faces light up when I brought out stickers, and watching their scheming and creative attempts to try and sneak more. It was discovering that unlike in New Zealand, these students loved to be tested, and it was seeing their marks improve over the month. It was receiving artwork and letters from them, and spending my evenings answering their questions. It was the million high fives I got as a walked up to class each day, and the multiple times I was asked ‘what is your name?’ and ‘are you married?’. It was playing volleyball, yoyo or hacky sack with the boys in their break, and riding home with a few of the girls after school. It was getting to know each child personally, and striving to spend a bit of time talking one on one. It was the class party on my last day, and seeing their smiles when the pizza finally arrived after a week of excited anticipation. Saying goodbye was heartbreaking, and I cannot wait to visit them again.
For a country with such a sad and recent history, it was amazing to see the sense of determination to learn, a determination to catch up with the rest of the world and make up for lost time. Given their history it wouldn’t have surprised me if Cambodians were cold, hard and broken, but instead in the month I was there I found myself living amongst the most gentle, generous and friendly people I have ever come across. I cannot wait to return to Cambodia, and in particular to return to the school and to my class.
The opportunity to teach exceeded my expectations. Love Volunteers was exceptional, while their prices reasonable and far cheaper than anywhere else.