project review

Heads, Shoulders, Knees & Toes

Review submitted by Daniel Williams
Review date 2 Feb 2017

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I wasn't sure what to expect when I signed up for teaching in Cambodia, especially in a school run by monks! I remember leading up to the start of the teaching project I had a number of concerns: would the children understand anything I said, would they be well behaved, and would I actually be able to help them develop their English skills.

One week into the teaching project and all those concerns have been alleviated. The kids are amazing. They love learning and are so appreciative of the help which we provide.

Myself and the other teachers teach two classes a day, my first class is the beginner’s class, it is made up of about eleven children ranging from five to sixteen years old. In just one week they have already learnt so much. They love playing games and really enjoyed playing heads, shoulders, knees & toes. My second class is the intermediate class. This class is made up of about of about 14 people, ranging from 15 to 22 years old. This class has a good understanding of English which means I can really get to know them and find out about who they are, what they do out of school and their plans and hopes are for the future.

The School we teach in is very basic. Essentially it is a big steel shed with four classrooms. Basic items like books, pens and board markers are very limited. However if anything I think this has made the experience more interesting.

It is such a rewarding feeling seeing the children learning something which I have taught them.

Each night after we have finished our lessons the monks teach us meditation in the temple next to the school. It is an amazing experience learning meditation from a monk, and something I never thought I would be doing. It's not easy but Mr Daro (our teacher) assures us we will get the hang of it by the time we have finished our teaching.

In our spare time there are lots of interesting things to see and do. Last weekend we visited the floating village, it was so interesting to get out of the city and see the real Cambodia and how an entire community has managed to survive and thrive living on one of South East Asia’s largest lakes. The sunset over the lake was like nothing I have ever seen and made for some great pictures. Everyone back home is very jealous! Next Saturday we have been invited to a friend’s village where we will get to meet the locals and really see how life is in a Cambodian village. On Sunday we are going to the flooded forest. There is so much to see and do that I'm not sure one month is enough.

So far this has been one of the best experiences I have ever had and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to add a little substance to their travels. It's not as scary as you think, and you really do make a difference to the kid’s futures.  

Find out more about the Cambodia Teaching in Siem Reap project