Saturday, September 1, 2007

SCC news story

I've long been a supporter of the Schools for Children of Cambodia (SCC) charity who do great work in and around Siem Reap and here's a story I picked up on the newswires today about one teacher's experiences in Cambodia.

Teacher recalls Cambodian experience - ThisIsHampshire (UK)

A teacher from King's Somborne has returned from the trip of a lifetime teaching English to children in Cambodia. Maggie Mackay, who has taught at Stanbridge Earls School in Romsey for 14 years, spent six weeks in Siem Reap after being inspired by her son's experiences in Cambodia. The mum of three, a lifelong teacher, said she had many happy moments and that the children were "an absolute joy" to teach, although there were some difficulties. She said: "Like all teachers, learning the children's names was a priority. Unfortunately, the Khmer sound system has a considerable amount of sounds absent from our own English language."This meant I spent an inordinate amount of time asking each child to repeat his name in an attempt to transcribe the sounds into an English equivalent."

Mrs Mackay, who is married to Duncan, said classes were organised by ability, rather than age, so in one class there were 12, 15 and 19 year olds.There were also some "guest appearances". She added: "I had dogs wander into the classroom on at least three occasions. It was also accepted that pupils could bring younger siblings along to the lesson, most of whom would simply sit at the desk, sucking their thumbs or falling asleep." Mrs Mackay was working for the Schools for Children of Cambodia charity, which supports six schools in Siem Reap. One of the organisation's main aims is to supplement the teachers' $50 a month salary. Summing up her trip, Mrs Mackay said: "Before I went, I was warned that Cambodia would 'get under your skin'." I know now exactly what is meant by this. A country of many contradictions, I am finding it very hard to stop thinking about both the country and the very wonderful people and children I had the privilege to meet."
Link: SCC website.


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