A dinosaur grapples with technology's place in education

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Few Co-Workers, a Few Students

Just a brief introduction to some of the faces I work with:
This girl wrote and is directing a skit about integrity where a girl returns money a fruit salesman gave her by mistake.

And this is her friend. Together they constantly razz me about my pronunciation of Phnom Penh- which actually should be spelled more paanyom bpeng.

Here are two more characters.

Singing duet to the morning assembly. The boy on the right loves to sing and act. He wrote a short skit about a boy who abuses alcohol and is wasting his life annoying others, until one night he is badly beaten by a neighbor and so turns his life around.
The boy on the left is a day student. They both embrace opportunities to lead.
It will be an ongoing and interesting feature of the center to help this collection of ambitious and competitive children to collaborate and adjust to no longer always easily being top dog. To help in this effort is our Cambodian social worker, and a professional Khmer therapist who is available to work with students one on one.

Then there is Jo, from Australia, fresh off 5 years as the department chair at the prestigious Western Academy of Beijing.
Jo has that unmatchable Aussie wicked sense of humor; we bonded pretty much instantly. She and I apartment hunted in tandem, and I owe the fact that I am not living in a total dump next to continual construction to her discerning eye and experienced sense of living and working abroad. I thought Jo would never find an apartment, but just yesterday she landed a truly terrific deal with a crazy beautiful rooftop pool and gym. It took all my meditative practice not to throw myself off said roof in jealousy after I had pushed her to take a series of other smaller places!

This next photo is from orientation- my 'Team" that went out to gather information on the nearby 'study grid' that will serve as the locus for much of our learning. That is my AMAZING Khmer assistant teacher, Reksmey, to my right. Twenty years old and studying economics and politics at university in PP. She has come from a tough background and credits her Christianity with being a source that kept her going. She has adapted so quickly to my style of teaching and I trust her 100% to convey what I am saying in spirit as well as letter.
To my left is Caroline- from Boston and in charge of writing much of our emergent curriculum. She is a literacy expert and married to another teacher, Jeff. Next to her is Nica- who began as an intern, but with a Masters in Teaching Secondary English has already moved up into a position of responsibility for some teaching. And finally that is Lita, a house parent of Yellow Pumpkin House (which I officially just chose as my mentoring house). Lita is educated and sensitive and I chose YPH knowing that she is going to be someone I want to work with on community projects.
That is just a quick glance, but hopefully it gives a glimmer of the good fortune I have of being here.

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