Shally and I are now back from our conference, and now getting ready for BEA's second semester, which starts next week on Monday, March 14. There's still a million things to do! However, let's me sum up our time at the conference in Phnom Penh.
The CamTESOL conference was quite busy for the both of us since we both had presentations and had to do a bit of networking. Shally was a bit nervous before his first conference presentation, but all his nerves went away once his presentation started. He did a fantastic job, and even got high praise from one of the directors from the National ELT Accreditation Scheme (NEAS) in Australia. In the next few years, BEA will start the process of getting accreditation from both the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth (MOEYS) and NEAS so that we can issue official certificates to our students, which will make it easier for them to get jobs in the future.
As for my presentation, there were about 60 people in the audience and I was definitely not as nervous as I was for my first CamTESOL presentation back in 2009. However, I still have my bad habit of talking a bit too fast due to nerves. At the end of my presentation, there were quite a few questions mostly dealing with how to give effective feedback on student writing. In addition, much frustration was expressed at the lack of resources available in Cambodia for teaching writing. Hopefully, the materials from my presentation will be of some help to teachers here. If you would like to know more about what Shally and I discussed during our presentations, you can view our powerpoint slides in the "Professional Development" section of our website.
Now that the conference is behind us, we can now focus on getting ready for the second semester. Today was an incredibly busy and productive day. There are times when I can have just one single thing to do on my "To Do" list here in Cambodia, but I can't get that one single thing done because of some unexpected obstacle that comes up at the last minute. I can have a schedule worked out for the day in the morning, but by noon hour, there is often an entire new plan! I was therefore quite shocked at how smoothly things went throughout the day.
As I mentioned before, we've decided to get an air conditioner for one of our classrooms. The heat this year is already unbearable, and it's not even April yet, which is usually the hottest month of the year. We were quite fortunate because my husband offered to donate the $380 needed to purchase the air conditioner. It will be installed tomorrow, and up-and-running for our first day of our second semester.
We also got more furniture for the school. We got 16 more chairs, a large center table, and a smaller table for the library so that students have a place to study (or rest) before or after their lessons. I also popped into the Siem Reap Book Store and got another whiteboard. We'll put this one in the library. The reason we're focusing on the library is because we're going to introduce our extensive reading program and volunteer program in the next few months. The extensive reading program will be in place by the end of July while we're hoping for the volunteer program to be up-and-running by the start of September. In the next few months, there'll be more information available about our volunteer program.
Shally and I will be at the school for most of the morning waiting for deliveries. Shally will also be working with the electrician to improve the lighting in our classroom. Many of the students in our evening pre-intermediate class have trouble seeing the whiteboard because there isn't enough light in the classroom. Hopefully, we'll be able to solve that problem by tomorrow's end.
For the next few days, I'll be finalizing the second semester syllabus and schedule. Shally will also have the task of photocopying all of his lesson plans and materials from the first semester so that I can bring everything back to Japan to start revising our curriculum for the next school year, as well as to start writing journal articles for publication on BEA's programs.
Both of us will be busy as bees for the next few days.
Onwards to our second semester,
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.