When we visited schools in Cambodia for teacher training in January 2017, we had the privilege of working with amazing teachers, who were some of the most enthusiastic I’ve ever come across.
On our first day of training, teachers from three schools attended. It was a real experience for me because I felt to go in with lots of ideas but no specific plan (which is really not my style). I taught lots of games and hands on activities. The teachers were great and I must say that we saw such enthusiasm and a really competitive side come out in some of the teachers when they had a go at the games and competitions for themselves.
We went in to one of the three schools the week after our first visit and I was so excited because one of the teachers told me that she had been using LOTS of the games in class already!
On our second day of training, I had a principal drive for hours to pick us up to take us to her school for training. She then minded the students from the whole school (100s of them) for the day while all of her teachers participated in Professional Learning and then she drove for hours to take us back to Phnom Penh. There’s commitment!!
In this school we had the opportunity of watching the teachers teach their students some of the games after we taught them. I have honestly not seen such love for students before. It was awesome to see the care that the teachers had for their students and the excitement they had in explaining new things to them!
On our last day of training, teachers from two schools came to our accommodation for their PL. Again, so much enthusiasm! They had their pens and paper ready at all times and were always busy writing instructions for things so they wouldn’t forget them. We spent lots of time in this day on ‘Friends of Ten’, ‘Hundreds Chart’ and associated games and activities. I loved that at the end of the day the teachers pumped me for the English words for a whole range of different shapes and then when it was all over, they learnt the expression “Time flies when you’re having fun!”
What I found the most impacting about our trip was seeing the poverty in the country and that education is truly such a key to improving people’s lives, but that it is so hard to access for so many. I saw such a need for Professional Learning for teachers too. Many have not received formal training, or have had training in another field. They are working in education without the background training because they see the need and know that they can do something really special there. I would love to be able to spend more time building their knowledge so that they can train the upcoming generation in an even bigger way than they already are and I’d encourage anyone who has the opportunity to travel to a country such as Cambodia to run PL for teachers to give it a go!