Friday, August 21, 2009

nek-gru---khmai for female teacher

well, practicum is over. over the past week, we got the opportunity to practice teaching in front of an actual cambodian class and along side an acutal cambodian english teacher. i taught 11th grade english to about 48-53 students for approxiamately forty-five minutes each day and it was exhausting. i can't imagine how teachers teach all day. but, kudos....

i would say that this trial run went somewhat smoothly. nothing major was reported as bad! all the feedback from current PC volunteers and our trainers were positive with some constructive criticism. i'm talking too fast...however, i'm managing my time well and utilizing my co-teacher.
---oh, actually, terry did say i was cracking the whip and frightening students when i said "YULLL?!?!?!" in khmai, it means, UNDERSTAND?!?!!? i must be a maniac in class....
anyway, i think we lucked out with the student population...tramkak district is a larger town and students here aren't so shy. i keep hearing that when we get out to the rural areas, it will be diffifult to elicit student participation.

i haven't figured out how i feel about being a teacher. with all the expectations and responsibilities, i don't know if its a good or bad thing. to tell you the truth, i am one of the laziest people i know. although, i have been going to bed early and waking up early --which is extrodinarily rare for me....i wake up around 5:30 every morning.

teachers in cambodia are well respected and are active members of the community. they are known to be the third parent, which hold a lot of responsibility--teachers are expected to teach students to become disciplined individuals. however, similar to teachers in los angeles, they aren't paid well. in order to survive, most teachers have a second or third job , so they are constantly busy. they either teach private classes on the side or own a small business.

anyway, this week was bittersweet...i felt like a many of our students asked to take photos with each of us and it was really exciting. terry, judy and i got precious little gifts from our girl students...i got two momentos: a key chain with my name stitched in and a minnie mouse hair clip.

oh, today was also the announcement of national test exam scores at local schools. test scores are important because it means going to univeristy in phnom penh---if you get a good score, you are going if you can afford to...if you get really good grades, there's the possibility of getting 12th grade students rushed over by 9am to check their scores on the printed sheets posted on the wall...tension was in the air...

i'm tired and hot...bye...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Misson Accomplished: Kampuchea Adventure!!

so, i'm back in angtasom district from our 2 day kapuchea adventure. mira, nick and i left around 6:30 am thursday and boarded a taxi headed for prey vang via phnom penh. traveling hectic, cramped and hot, like a sauna. so for 5-6 hours, we were crammed next to 12-14 khmer people sharing headed for multiple destinations in a mini van. at one point, some one was sitting on the roof of the mini van and 3 people puked duringthe commute. the road was seriously bumpy. but, we made it safe and somewhat sound and was welcomed by our wonderful k2 host. we stayed with the k2 and her host family for 2 nights. the k2 was awesome, her host family was awesome, her village was awesome. this k2 lives in a rural village east of the mekong river--about 3 to 5 hours away from phnom penh. her village is small and quite peaceful. honestly, i learned a lot on this short trip. it was nice to get an intimate picture of volunteer life after training. having seen the rural areas now, i'm more welcoming of the idea of being placed in one.

i was pleasantly surprised to learn that her host mom is ethinically chinese and was actually able to speak cantonese. wow! everyone told me that the chinese in cambodia speak some other dialect...the moment that her host mom revealed her ability to speak cantonese immediately changed the dynamic of the visit...from that moment on, she and i communicated in chinese. i think i may request a chinese cambodian family for my permanent site.

on the down side, she lives near a cambodian ngo that is supposedly run by this scumbag director who is pocketing all the fees that the students pay. we heard that the director is charging each student 7 USD (up from 2USD) and 20 kilos of rice per month in exchange for housing, food and education. apparently, the students are only getting 1 meal of day, consisting of rice and green vegetables. looks like all the money is going to the director's two wives...on the bright side, however, the kids who live at the school are so happy. they were just so optimistic and were so eager to practice their english with us. it's just so heartbreaking to see that they are directly affected by rampant, unchecked corruption.

ughh..while this issue may not be as disguisting as the above mentioned, it definitely bothers me a bit-- okay, so my two counterparts, nick and mira, are both american looking (white) and were the highlight of the trip for the people in the village. i, on the other hand, was constantly mistaken to be a khmai person. it happened everytime i was introduced to someone was just frustrating. i think trying to explain immigration and being born in the us will be a challenge in itself because cambodian people have a different perspective of what culture is.

anyway, i'm tired of blogging. its impossible to tell you everything that i've seen or have learned. also, i really wish i could upload photos, but i'm worried about viruses at this internet cafe. sorry. i'll try to write more next time.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

sweatin balls out here

its so hot. i sweat 23 hours 58 mins of the day, each day. yesterday was the one cool day with scattered showers throughout the area. i was still glistening.

our large group of 40some have been split into 2 groups. i am currently in takeo province, in a small town called tramkak. the other group is located in the other direction, in a town called traing. language and cultural training has been tough. its like school all over again, except i'm in cambodia. if anyone has ever experienced cambodia, you'd understand that life is tough. as much as i like living with my host family and have grown an affinity towards my host sister, i have to admit that i am treated like a child. i didn't go home for the lunch the other day because i live 20 mins away by bike and they called me to ask where i was. i never got this treatment from my own parents. its also sorta weird for me, at this point in my life, to start calling another person mom or dad.

other than that, i like being here. learning the language has been somewhat successful.

hello to everyone at home. email me or something!