Saturday, May 21, 2011

Teachers Across Borders 2012

It's official, after much discussion and negotiation (mostly with my other half) we have decided to participate in the Teachers Across Borders workshops in Battambang, Cambodia in January. I went in 2010 with a colleague from work and had a great time. It was hugely challenging but also hugely rewarding and I learnt a lot. I was keen to head back as soon as possible and while I had hoped to return this last January it was not be. I'm excited though to be able to confirm my participation in the next round of Battambang workshops and am even more excited that Tim is going to come with me this time. I am looking forward to introducing him to my favourite part of the world and for him to meet some of my Khmer friends. Fingers crossed he will fall in love with Cambodia just as I did.

What is Teachers Across Borders?
Teachers Across Borders Australia is a non government, not for profit organisation that works with teachers in three provinces of  Cambodia to provide professional development workshops for Khmer teachers, from kindergarten through to secondary school, as well as some assistance for school administrators.

What will I be doing?
I will be facilitating a workshop on literacy in the secondary school classroom. I will work with a group of about 25 secondary school teachers over six days in January.

Why would I do this?
All workshop presenters are self funded and give up their school holidays to contribute to the workshop program. I do it for a number of reasons. I love Cambodia, I believe that education is a key to development and addressing poverty. I love being able to use my professional skills in a context where there is such a high value placed on education, and such a significant need. It is also a lot of fun.

Why Cambodia?
Cambodia is a country that has suffered greatly and the scars of such a tragic history are still evident. Under the Khmer Rouge Regime from the mid 1970s to the early 1990s, universities and schools were destroyed. Educators and the educated were killed or fled during the genocide. It is estimated that almost one third of the population was killed by the Khmer Rouge. Cambodia is rebuilding its education system from the ground up. 

The teachers are passionate, resilient and determined but do not have the same opportunities that we are used to here in Australia to gain an education and to develop as professionals. In some cases, as was evident during my last trip, some of the basic education of the teachers themselves has been limited and disrupted. Those new to teaching in Cambodia do not have the same pool of mature and experienced teachers to learn from like we have in Australian schools but they are enthusiastic and passionate and desperate to learn about how they can improve their teaching.

You'll be hearing lots more about Teachers Across Borders from me over the next few months. For now, if you'd like to find out more about them check out the Teachers Across Borders Australia website. 

Image: 2010 Teachers Across Borders workshop class.

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