Every year, the top 15 students on English Literature degrees at the University of South East Asia are chosen to participate in an international teaching practicum. Two of our students, Sokunthy and Borey went to Thailand to the University of South East Asia’s partner universities in Thailand.
How did you get the opportunity to go to Thailand?
Borey: Going to Thailand is one of my goals since I came to JWOC. To be one of the top 15 students, you have to study hard, have a good experience with teaching. You have to prepare all the lesson plans, observation work with your team, use theory from the books we have already studied so far, and put all of that into a report and journal.
What are you worried about?
Sokunthy: I get car sick so I am a little worried about the journey. I am also worried about applying my teaching ability even though I have been a volunteer teacher at JWOC for 3 years and learned about the strategy of how to teach, but it’s still a little scary to teach in a new place.
What are you excited about?
Sokunthy: I know for students who pass English Literature who get a good GPA, they can go to Thailand, but I didn’t think I could do it, but I can go. I feel very happy, and I hope that I can be successful on my practicum journey. I will come back to share with other Cambodians what I have learned and share my experience.
Borey:. It’s very exciting to be there, and it’s a good chance to do the practicum in Thailand. It means that I can get more knowledge, especially experience from other people. I got the good credit, which means that I can apply for more scholarships. This is such a new experience for me as I have never left Cambodia, to see a different culture and environment. I don’t know much about the students’ abilities so it’s not easy to teach them or lead them, but I believe in myself.
Now that you’re back in Cambodia, how did it go?
Borey: It was good, I enjoyed teaching University students. The students were mixed ability from different subjects: Tourism, Law, Hospitality, Accounting, Computer Science and Marketing Management, and my team taught around 50 students during 2 weeks. I also learned some Thai and also a little bit of Chinese. I also made some new Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese friends. I realised that I am ready to teach adult students, which I never knew before because I had never tried it, and I want to continue to a Master’s degree.
Sokunthy: In a couple of weeks, I have done many things such as observing and teaching English to the students, having a meeting with the school principal, observing associate teachers, joining the university’s trip with Brunei students and participating with the school’s exhibition name “Open house”. In addition, I have met a lot of great people and teachers. They helped me with my teaching process to make it go smoothly and successfully. I really enjoyed teaching because it can relate the knowledge that I have studied in the classroom to the real aspect of the teaching environment. Especially, I have learned new things from my homeroom teachers such as technique of teaching, classroom management strategies, and differences characteristic between Thai and Cambodian students.
Borey, what was it like being the team leader?
Being the team leader was a lot of responsibility and I also had to be flexible. We found it difficult to choose the topic to teach and we had some communication challenges because of the language ability. I had to use Google Translate a lot, look for someone who could speak English or find a friend, and keep in touch with my team members to communicate online. I really enjoyed being the team leader because I could learn more, share information and liaise with the University and other students.
Sokunthy, what are the top 3 things you want to share with other students?
The top three things which I would love to share with the next cohort and people in Cambodia are: First, try to study hard to get a good GPA to get this great opportunity. Second, be an active student in the class. Third, try to review some theories in the book which is about teaching and learning methodology.