Just two days left before we hold registration for the 2011-12 school year! These past few days have just passed all too quickly, and I always wished we had more time to get everything ready.
School Visit and Donations
Shally and I were very happy to welcome Yusa Koizumi, and her husband, to BEA for a short visit this past Saturday. Yusa, is one of my close colleagues from Japan, and has been involved with BEA from the very start. In addition to running book-drives in Japan for us, she is also one of the board members of Bayon Japan, a non-profit organization set up in Japan to raise money for BEA, and has generously donated to this foundation over the past two years. She brought with her three big bags of graded readers and reference books for our library, as well as much-needed photo printing paper. We are so lucky to have her as one of our supporters! Thank you so much Yusa for all your time and effort!
This was the first time for Yusa to visit our school, however, not her first visit to Cambodia. She said she was quite surprised that we were able to get BEA up-and-running so quickly and at the progress our students had made in just a year. Afterwards, it was a quick and bumpy tour of Trapeang Sess, the village next to BEA and where our students live, and then off to dinner to finished the evening.
Over the weekend, Shally and I had to revamp our entire system for registration. Since it was our first time last year, we have definitely learnt from our mistakes and thin we've set up a fairly manageable system for this year. One of our biggest difficulties last year was that too many potential students were in the library on the ground floor, so it got pretty crowded (and quite noisy), which made it difficult for Shally to go through the pre-registration questionnaire with each student. Also, there were too many questions, so it took too long to do all the interviews.
This year, we've made up 35 blue cards (for boys) and 35 yellow cards (for girls), and each card is numbered from 1 to 70. When registration opens at 8:00am, our school assistants, Los and Srey Net, will hand them out to students as they come to the school. However, we're anticipating all of these numbers will be gone within the first 30 minutes. The students will then look at their numbered card, and find their interview time on a signboard posted outside, so cards numbered from 1 to 10 will be registered from 8:00 - 9:00am, 11-20 from 9:00 to 10:00am, and so on. In this way, students don't have to wait around all day, and can come back at their designated time. This will help with "crowd control" on the ground floor. Shally then will be able to do the interview with hopefully no interruptions.
Once students have finished their interview with Shally, they'll be sent up to me in our main classroom on the second floor. I'll complete the rest of the interview and then take their photo for their ID badge and our school files. We're keeping our fingers crossed that there'll be less chaos this year.
One of the projects keeping me busy in the past few weeks has been setting up BEA's library program. In July, one of my students from Aoyama Gakuin Univeristy, Rie Shimada, helped set up our initial database of all the graded readers in our library. She trained Srey Net how to use Excel and how to enter all the book information. With these spreadsheets, I've come up with a numbering system so that we can lend books out to students and Srey Net will be able to keep stock of what's in our library. Yesterday, I went into the school to train Srey Net on the classification system, and the method for running the library in about six hours. On Thursday, Srey Net will finish labeling all the books, and placing them in their designated sections. As for graded readers, we now have a total of 302 books! A nice start for our library.
One of the changes I made to the curriculum this year included adding a graded reading program for all of our courses. Students will be required to read two graded readers, and then write a book report on one of them after the "Book Report" workshop in January. I'm really looking forwards to the students' reaction to this new program. More about this later on...
BEA Repairs and "Fancying-up"
Once again, Shally and Los were left with all of BEA's tidying up and repairs before the start of the semester. Shally had to call the plumber again to fix the ground floor sink for the bathroom. It has been "dangling" from the wall these past few months, and will fall of at any minutes, so that was the first repair in need. Shally was also back-and-forth from the locksmith to finalize the installation of our bicycle gates in front of the school. This will make our security guard's job a little easier, and prevent theft of our students bicycles. Finally, Shally had Los and some BEA volunteers take down most of the poster presentation projects in the library to make room for the news ones this year, and had them clean the entire school from top to bottom. I'm simply amazed at Shally's multi-tasking talents at times! We then ended our day with the monthly staff meeting at 7:30. It was a long, hard day.
Back to getting ready for the madness to begin...
The Bayon English Academy (BEA) is an NGO school that provides underprivileged youth with quality English language education in a safe, clean environment in Siem Reap, Cambodia.