Cynthia's Two Placements

Secondary School in Pokhara

I spent two weeks teaching English at the Shree Machhapuchre Secondary School and living with a host family. It was a wonderful experience. 

One thing to be ready for, I think is the noisiness of the classrooms and the students. I had expected Nepali children to be shy for some reason, so I was very surprised that they aren't at all. My soft voice was no match for the volume that they could reach. Still, they were sweet and some were truly eager to learn. 

I mostly taught the classes myself without a Nepali teacher in the room. At one point I sat in on a Nepali class just to see how the teachers manage their students and lessons but it didn't really impact the way that I taught. 

Before I started teaching the headmaster gave me some guidelines for what to cover, which was helpful. Some of the levels had text books to work from, but other levels didn't so I had to create lessons and materials for those classes. 

Be sure to have erasable markers for the whiteboards, they don't supply them. But the markers can be refilled and the school has the ink on hand for refills when needed, at least when I was there. Plan on providing whatever materials you think you'll use. There's a printer at the school but when I was there it had no ink, so don't count on using it. 

There is a shop near the school where some supplies can be bought, such as notebooks, paper, pencils, and markers (both erasable and not--be sure the markers you use on the whiteboard are erasable!) They also have some small plastic balls and other small toys. The shops in the village sell some sweets, but they aren't very good quality. Buy hard candies or chocolate in Kathmandu for tasty treats that the students will really appreciate.

The host family that I stayed with was very welcoming and delightful. They treated me like an honored guest and provided me with a very comfortable private room and more food than I could eat, and were generally very kind and generous.

Even though I stayed only a short time I became very fond of the students and felt that the host family had virtually adopted me.

This is a great place to teach!

Mother Sister Nepal Orphanage Home

I stayed here for about two weeks in March. The children are totally delightful--there were 14 children when I was there and the building was being expanded so they can eventually have more. The ages ranged from about 3 years old to about 15 years old. 

The room for the volunteer is very comfortable. It was normally the TV room, but has two single beds in it and plenty of space. The toilets are at the other end of the building. There are taps in the toilets for washing, and an outdoor tap for laundering clothes.

The hosts, Umesh and Meena, are very kind and welcoming. They provided me with an electric kettle for my room so I could boil water whenever I want. There is filtered water in the kitchen, but from what I understand it should still be boiled since the simple Nepali-style filters don't remove all the water-borne bugs. 

My skills are more of a teacher than a camp counselor, so I sometimes ran out of ideas for what to do. If you play the guitar or have other musical instruments, like a harmonica, the children will really enjoy that. Fortunately I can draw a little, so I spent quite a bit of time drawing animals and flowers for the children.

*I would suggest bringing coloring books, picture books, drawing paper, flash cards and/or some simple craft-making materials.* I had a deck of cards, so we played with those a bit. There's also volleyball at the orphanage but it only seemed to come out at special times. They also had markers when I was there but I'm sure they could use more. 

It was exam time when I visited so the children would study in the morning and then go to take the exam. At other times of year I think it's possible to teach some English at the school but I didn't do any of that. 

The food at the orphanage is basic but generally tasty--usually white rice with spicy vegetables. Tea and biscuits in the morning.

The hosts and the children speak only limited English so don't expect to have extended conversations. The children of course speak the universal language of play and laughter. They also enjoyed a daily yoga 'class' each morning.

In general, the days here were long and leisurely. It's a pretty spot but there was a lot of dust in the air when I was there so the view was limited. On clear days it would be spectacular. 

If you love children and enjoy a slow-paced, relaxing spot then this placement would be an excellent choice!