My Reward!

‘Teacher!’, one of the students screamed as I went into the classroom. After she got my attention, she pointed at the whiteboard. It read, ‘Teacher, I love you too much.’  It was so sweet of her!!  🙂

This is probably the best gift I have received so far after I arrived in Cambodia.  The next gift I want from them is that they can speak good English. It has been three weeks since we started the international phonetic alphabet (IPA) lesson. They have shown so much progress since then. Some of them even joke with me in English. 

Students in my class. They were practising the word ‘because’ for the first time but they pronounced it as ‘becaush’ instead.
Second attempt. Much better this time. But I’d like them to say /bɪˈkɒz/ next time. 😛

The other day, I talked to the French volunteers who teach French in another village.  They told me their students didn’t like to speak French at all, ‘don’t even think about joking in French with them.’ One of the reasons is their French class is a compulsory subject at school whereas my English class is an ‘additional’ tutorial for the kids in the villages.  I also heard from another French guy that kids in the village that I teach at are in general more hard working and more willing to learn than the other ones in other villages.  He works for an NGO and needs to travel to 15 different villages each month so I trust his observation.  (However, these students ditched me in the end. Find the story here.)

The French volunteers told me one of the difficulties they face is they don’t know Khmer. They stay in Cambodia for four months and they arrived one month before I did and they still don’t know how to say ‘hello’ in Khmer. I am so proud of myself. 😛

For me to stay here for tentatively one year, I have to know some Khmer for practical reason. I can’t afford to go to ‘English speaking’ places all the time (if they exist at all, cos the town I stay at is just a small town. Not even the waiters in the hotels can speak English. The priests in the church can speak English though). I have to buy groceries and communicate with say the tuk tuk drivers (I wish I could ride a motorbike now).  I started learning Khmer the time I arrived here and I always ask people how to say certain words. I ask everyone and anyone who is happy to help me.  That means, my Khmer teachers include my students who of course are very enthusiastic about teaching me their language. 😀 One of the French volunteers working in town is very helpful.  She is the one who has taught me a lot of Khmer words. We hang out all the time when we have free time.  🙂  Unfortunately, she will leave in November this year.  Well, people come and go. I guess I got used to this kind of life long time ago.

Chilling out in an air conditioned western style coffee shop. Sometimes, I have to escape from the Southeast Asian culture and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate.
After the nice hot chocolate, we saw a rainbow along the Mekong river. Even though it didn’t show its entire arch, it was good enough to make my day.

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