I volunteered at this project for two months, twice a week. During this time, I was accompanied by a local Vietnamese volunteer. They helped translate the material I was teaching. Essentially, the boys are taught were in one classroom upstairs. My students were mixed ability and ages. Some consequently, were confident and more comfortable in speaking English whilst others not so much. I essentially had to teach and try to ensure all students were engaged. On average I had 10-15 students each morning.
I prepared lesson plans, worksheets and photocopied handouts. Our volunteer house was equipped with many English books which we were welcome to use to get ideas. The shelter doesn’t have a set curriculum and is solely dependent on volunteers teaching the students. This was the first time I ever taught English anywhere. I have volunteered and done various projects back home in London but I have never taught. I was of course nervous and apprehensive about what to expect. But the students are so warm and friendly that I felt at ease teaching them. I got a sense of the material they had been taught before by flicking through their books. Half the lesson was focused on learning new material, pronouncation and the second half was spent playing games. The boys love playing bingo, hang-man and other word games.
2/Van Vina School
I volunteered at this project for two months, twice a week. I was picked up by a local Vietnamese volunteer on her motorcycle. She supported me in class and helped translate the material. This school runs many classes. I had mixed ability students and all different ages. I had both boys and girls and on average had about thirty students. Some of them were day dreamers others too cool for school and then there were the eager to learn ones.
I loved teaching this class but at times struggled to keep order. It was a little like a jungle with them all talking away or laughing at me trying to teach them. The local volunteer would try and help me but the two of us were no match for thirty students. When the principle however, was walking by or paid a surprised visit then they would all give their full attention, sit up straight and concentrate in lesson.
I started volunteering at this project with Julian. We both went once a week on a Thursday afternoon. This centre is for young women aged 18 and above who want to learn or improve their English. These women were shy to begin with but once we built a rapport with them, they were a delight. We discussed local food and culture from our respected countries and what we liked. We played all kinds of word games for them to improve and practice their speaking. It was very different teaching these young women compared to the children. These young women were dedicated and eager to learn whilst children will be children and they are mischievous.
I accompanied Thelma to this project, she was going once a week and I decided to see what it was like. This project was set up by and ran by monks who take in young orphans and then raise them as monks. When the children turn eighteen, they have a choice as to whether or not they wish to continue living life as a monk or not. These children all live, sleep and play in the same room. The children are super cute but spoke limited English. As a volunteer, are job here was to give love, give our time and energy and play with the children and make them happy. Some days we made crafts out of paper and other days we had them colouring pictures in. They were nothing but a joy to be around.
5/Ky Quang Pagoda orphanage
I went to this project with many other volunteers from the house in the afternoon. Here most of the children had either a physical or a psychological disability. They were divided and looked after by different members of staff. The orphanage is amongst a beautiful pagoda which many locals and tourists come to visit. The children here are delightful, each one communicating in their own way. I spent many afternoons helping a child walk or pushing them on a swing. Again here, as volunteers, we were not expected to teach English, rather we were there to spread love, to care for the children and above all make them happy.