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Monday, June 19, 2017

Week 1 of teaching in Maesot



Standing on the top of the Knowledge Zone has widen my vision to look into the distance and appreciate the beauty of nature. More importantly, it reminds me of the sweetness of humanity.

A week has passed. The first week of my teaching ended and it ended perfectly.

This is the very first time I teach in a proper classroom. I have done tutoring before but never try to teach a class of students. I always think that teaching is such a challenging job and I would never ever do it. It holds so much responsibility to make sure students really learning from you. I even think that teaching is tedious and a low-paid which definitely does not match with my ideal way of earning living.

Now, my perspective towards teaching does change because of my lovely students.


On the first day of class, I asked my students to write a short paragraph to introduce themselves because I need to know them a little bit more before I plan my teaching methods, I need to know who has better English and who has only learnt very basic English before. Some wrote me longer than others, some explained to me why they want to learn English, some told me about their family members.

"I try very hard", " I want to go to Hong Kong University", " I want to speak English with foreigner", "I want a better job". These are what my students told me on the first day, they want a better life, a better future. A future that can help them to get rid of the current situation, a future that can ease their worries of life, or perhaps a future that get them out from the discrimination by others.

When I read through every stories from my students, I feel moved. There's one especially grip my heart "Soya, I believe in you that you can help me. " - One of my adults student wrote this to me. This is the first time someone told me that she put her hope on me, the first time I feel the responsibility of being a teacher. Students here are asking my help. They need me, a foreigner who can speak English, to lend them a hand on the path of learning English.

I know what I cant do much for them. The only thing I can do for them is to prepare more interesting and useful teaching material every day and conduct a relatively interactive English class for them compared in school.

The classroom is small and without air-conditioner, around 30 students has to cram into it and sometimes the hot air makes staying inside the classroom become so unbearable.

My students' age range is huge - the youngest student I have is 15 years old and the eldest is 40 years old. All of them has a very different English level and this has increased the difficulty to teach them all in a same class. They are always late as they have to rush here after their daily work, but this has inevitably procrastinated our teaching progress.

It's okay. However, all of these is nothing.  Like what one of my student told me " It's okay. It's okay that I don't have money to study and need to work because now I can learn English in Knowledge Zone." It's okay that the learning environment is not as good as in Hong Kong. It's okay for them to come here and learn everyday after their tiring work and school because they see this as an opportunity to change their life.

During the raining season, the weather in Maesot is pretty bad. It rains and stops raining and almost rains again every hours.


They make my day. Everyday, their learning attitude never fail to make my day. I feel so content to see them learning eagerly every evening and this also motivate me more to do better for them. Some students always seek opportunity to talk with me, to ask me question because they know that it's not easy to have a foreigner to speak English with them. From every single action they do, I can feel that how keen they are on improving English but I also feel guilty. I feel guilty because I never appreciated what I had when I was in high school and how I used to dislike my teacher when he asked us to speak English. Students here are completely different from how I was. They have taught me never take granted of education at the same time always be content with what you have already had. They never complain of their life but appreciate what they have already had.

They are kind. Last Wednesday, as usual I finished my class at 8pm and I prepared to walk back to my hotel and buy my dinner at the nearest 7-11. Most of the restaurants close after 8pm in this little town, so I often buy my dinner at the convenient store as my tiredness and laziness persuaded me not to walk farther just to look for food. When I stepped out of Knowledge Zone, I saw a student preparing go back home by motorbike.

She saw me and asked, "Teacher, how do you go back?" 

"I walk. My hotel is just 10 minutes from here, it's near."

"Come up, teacher, I send you back ! It's going to rain soon. "

This is the first time I was sent back by my student and it has been a long time since the last time I was sitting on a motorbike :) Along the way back home, it was raining, we're slightly wetted. We had a small chat and I find out that this is the student who long for getting into University of Hong Kong - my university. She told me that she wants to learn critical thinking but not only English skill. I want to help her, but I have no much idea how can I help her because it's quite difficult to come out a English lesson that fulfil every students' need within 1 hours and 30 minutes per day. But, I prayed that she can attend HKU one day even though nobody knows when's the day as the chance of getting a scholarship is small for the Burmese migrants due to the high competitiveness.

The next day, there's also another student saw me walking back and offered me a ride back home. He even asked if I want to eat something other than the fast food in 7-11 so that he can bring me to have dinner at restaurant. But I rejected him as I thought it's not good to trouble him more as he already offered me a ride. The day after that day, he even waited for me after the class and sent me back once again.


I'm touched and impressed by their kindness. It is like the raindrops of that silent night, falling into my heart, touching my soul and reminding me of the beauty of humanity.

I love them :)We love because He first loved us - 1 John 4:19

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