Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Yesterday was my first day visiting my placement. My journey there and back totals about 2 and a half hours, by bus, tuk tuk and on foot. I was a little weary about traveling that far everyday to teach English at a government primary school in the middle of no where, but now I understand why I am here.
When Bibek (my orientation manager) and I arrived at the school we were greeted by three little girls out on the road which led to the school. The three of them were wearing their uniforms, or a dirtier version of them, with big smiles and little marigolds in their hands. I greeted them with 'Namaste' and they giggled and ran toward the school. Once I entered the school I was overwhelmed with children who were poking their heads from out of their classrooms to look at the new English teacher.
The school is a small building with 6 rooms, one classroom for each of the 5 grades and a small library. Each classroom, to give you a sense of what it is like, contains no more than 6 tables and chairs, some children do not have chairs to sit on during class. In every room there is a piece of chalk and a black board, which will be my only teaching tool. It seemed as though when I arrived at 2pm I wasn't interrupting class time, because the children were running wild all over the school. At one point we had a mini staff meeting in the library with all of the teachers. I took a glance out the hallway and could hear someone screaming while loud talking and playing was going on in each of the rooms. I could not even imagine an Ontario school allowing children to run wild with no supervision, but here it happens every day.
Afterwards one of the teachers led me into each class and asked the children to stand and greet me with their name in English. Each child from grade 1 to grade 5 had a flower or two to give me when I entered their class; I was speechless. The school is no more than 120 students and 5 teachers. All of the children are from the local farming families and are too poor to attend Private school, which most children in Kathmandu attend. This means that the children I will be teaching are amongst the poorest in Kathmandu, without being street children. I thought that what I would be doing would be difficult, and at times thought I might regret signing up to work so far away from the other volunteers and our home. After having visited this school, if it can even be considered that, and seeing the faces of happy and grateful children I know that I am in the exact place I want to be and doing the exact thing I love most, which is helping children. I know that teaching English is not an easy task and I was worried that the kids wouldn't want to learn, but I know that after seeing the way they greeted me and chased me from class to class, they will learn what I have to teach and hopefully, in some way, it will help them in the future.
More funny teaching stories to come I am sure!


  1. Again, I am so proud and jealous of you. You have painted such a wonderful picture of the place you are working - the students, the classrooms. I know that there will be difficult and lonely days but there will also be ones filled with laughter and flowers. And teaching those kids is nothing compared to herding Hanson brothers!

    xo Cindy
    P.S. I am sure you must have read "Three Cups of Tea" if not, send me your address & I'll put it in the care package the boys want to send you.

  2. Bravo Liz. In the land of Karma halfway around the world you were led to what you were meant to do, which is to help the neediest, the highest calling of all. Your Great Aunt Elizabeth McMaster practiced medicine in India not far from you around the beginning of the last century for 40 years and she would be proud of you indeed.

    As the Buddhists would say, may you generate great merit. -Dad

  3. Those lucky kids!! They have the best teacher in the world!