Be the Change Network

aka "Kari's Blog"

Archive for November, 2010

Signs of Changing Attittudes

November 09, 2010 By: karig2 Category: General No Comments →

by Paul Chuk, Charuk Tiek Village, Cambodia

The past year has definitely been a turning point and a significant period of progress at Chrauk Tiek Elementary.  We enjoy the distinction of being not just a good school but the best in the district.  I am pleased to share with you what such a school means to the whole community.  Just look at the many signs of changes in attitude for everyone as our school starts its curriculum for 2010-2011.

  • School officially starts on October 1st but all of our teachers come to work on September 15th to prepare the school for opening. It took them five days just to weed out the large front yard because we don’t have a lawn mower. Unlike before, when I had to ask them to help, now everyone happily looks around for work to do without having to be asked.
  • One of our male teachers, Gheng Sophea, decided to bring his younger brother, Gheng So Yean, a 12-year-old in sixth grade, to live with him here at our school so he can have the chance to attend a good school. He said that the school where he lives in a small village called Phoum Por, Kampong  Speu Province (165 kilometers from our school) is not the same quality as ours.
  • Another female teacher, Seang Vannich does the same; she brought her little sister, Seang Som Nang, 10 years old, to study here.  She is in sixth grade.  Vannich comes from Bor Set, Kampong Speu Province (150 kilometers away).
  • Some villagers showed up to help trim the overgrown tree branches along the entrance a few days before school started.
  • Four families brought 40 poles to complete the dragon fruit project.
  • The principal is working closely with and listening to teachers for new improvement ideas. Before he used to make most of the decisions and tell them what to do.
  • Many parents brought their children from far away to try to register at our school. Unfortunately, we could not accept them because we are running out of room.
  • The Education Department decided to open a preschool here in Chrauk Tiek.  Only two schools in the whole district have preschool.
  • Our new English teacher is excitedly taking more responsibility than just teaching, doing whatever necessary to help out,  preparing breakfast, keeping the area clean, and supporting other teachers in class if needed.
  • Everyone who stays at the teachers’ housing facility, including me, eats together like a big family.  We are having a lot of fun working, eating and enjoying each others company.  Last year everyone had separate meals.
  • Our teaching staff told me at meetings they attend many teachers at different schools make a lot of positive comments about our school. Everyone heard or knew about how well our school is doing.
  • We used the power tiller to transport musical instruments along with the instructor, Em Nuth, and his students while they played music and made a parade encouraging and reminding everyone in the neighborhood to bring their kids to school. There were 125 students who took part in this opening event.

Sustainability program:

The School Supporting Committee (SSC) is trying to save money to purchase a large water tank to mount on top of the power tiller cart, so they can earn some money by pumping water from the river nearby and selling it to the Spean Diek neighborhood. Spean Deik, close to our school, is more populated and serves a small business center. So far we have $50.50  from the power tiller project after spending on some repair work.

Music class:
We all enjoy the traditional Khmer music that our students have been learning.  Now they have mastered 18 different songs. The music teacher, Em Nuth, is working extremely hard to pass his knowledge on to the next generation.  He can make every instrument and play all of them too.  He is the best–I just love this old man.

Secondary School:
I am working very hard with Bonteay Pnak secondary school community,  trying to change the attitude of the principals and the teachers there.  There is a lot of work to do in order to have them see the benefit of being good teachers.  It’s going to take some time but I hope gradually they will come to realize the power behind working together as a team.