10 January 2010

Awful Orphanage Organisation

Sunday teaching at the French-run orphange begins at 8.00 in the morning. I arrive a few minutes early and the place is deserted. Finally, Chit, an older boy with solid English skills appears. Many of the students have gone to church today, he tells me. And some are cleaning, he says.

That's typical of the orphanage's organisation; while they initially welcomed the appearance of an English teacher they now take it  for granted and are proving incapable of having their charges ready for study. They should know better; the chance to have a native-English speaking teacher is rare for most Cambodians.

"I'm going home," I said to Chit and his face dropped.
" I come here every week and every week I have to wait," I told him.
He understands but wants to continue his English study, as do a number of the other kids. And of course it's not their fault that the Cambodian adults there can't get their act together.

We talk some more and I make it clear to him that I want students who are really keen to study. That's because I am not here to teach a lot of students a little English; rather I want to teach a smaller number of motivated kids to a level of proficiency that truly helps them get decent jobs.

He's excited about that and so are some of the others. They are going to talk to the director of the orphanage and try to sort something out. It's a little unfair that they have to do so but the director speaks little English and dithers around so much that I'd likely lose my temper.

We'll see what happens next week. It's their last chance and while that may be hard on some of the kids we are not here to waste our time.


  1. Don't you think it is good to help that one kid who showed up and go from there. As they say, good things take time.

  2. Tchansan, thanks for the comment. There is more than child there who wants to learn but without the help of the orphanage to organise them I just end up wasting time. A lot of time. And my time is precious to me.

    Yes, I could teach the one, but why do that when with a bit of help I could teach a dozen. That's what I'm working on