BEA welcomed 53 new students to our school on Thursday, September 1. We now have 93 BEA kids who are early waiting to start classes from this Monday. It was a 5:30am start on Thursday to do a final check of all our documents before I set out to BEA to meet Shally and our staff at 7:30am. When I arrived at BEA, there were already over 150 students who had been waiting well before 7 o'clock to get one of the interview time slot cards. I had expect quite a few students to be waiting before the opening of registration, but I definitely didn't expect such a crowd.
The Registration Numbering System
Overall, our registration process went according to plan, and it was without any of the chaos that we encountered last year. The main reason for this is because we developed a interview numbering system so that we wouldn't have our library overflowing with potential BEA students.
Once registration opened, Shally explained the procedure to all of those waiting. First of all, they had to line-up into two groups: one line for girls and the other for boys. Srey Net, our school librarian and my assistant for the day, handed out evenly-numbered blue cards to the girl. Los, our school's assistant, gave oddly-numbered yellow cards to the boys. In this way, both the boys and girls would have a fair chance at getting a place at BEA.
One of the problems we had last year for registration was that we didn't have an equal ration of boys to girls in our courses. The boys slightly outnumbered the girls. In order to balance this out, we reserved places for girls in each course. For example, in our Intermediate course, we had 10 boys and 6 girls continuing from last year. Therefore, we kept 6 spots for girls and only 2 for the boys, which would give us a gender-balanced classroom of 12 boys and 12 girls.
Once potential students got their cards, they had to check the notice board for their interview time. Cards 1 through 10 would come from 8:00-9:00, cards 11-23 would come from 9:00-10:00, and so on. Students could then return for their interview time later in the day rather than waiting around for hours. Because of this, our security guard, Net, had a much easier job monitoring the 10 students in the library and the bicycles outside the school.
Registration with Shally
After the potential student arrived for his/her interview time, Shally called each one for an interview. First, he gave a short explanation about BEA to the student and then assessed his/her English level. Once he determined the level, either Basic, Pre-Intermediate or Intermediate, he asked the student if he/she could come at the designated course time. Once this was finalized, he completed the first part of our school's data base, which included questions about date of birth, education and reasons for study. Shally then gave them a colored-coded course card and sent upstairs to complete the second part of the registration with me.
Registration with Nicole
The reason we divided the interview process into two parts was to decrease the interview time with Shally. Last year, some interviews took as long as 20 minutes, which meant students had to wait even longer for their interview. Both Shally and I were working on the same data base spreadsheets, so at the end of the day, all we had to do was merge them together.
For the second part of the interview, I asked students for their place of birth, the address, and information about their parents. The reason why I got the place of birth and address questions is that they take the longest to answer because students in most cases don't know how to spell Cambodian place names in English. Giving me these questions allowed Shally to process the students much more quickly this year. I also had Deny working with me during the day to help with interpreting for the basic level students. Students then got their photo taken for their ID badges and for school projects. Finally, they were give a "reminder card" telling them when to come to their first class on September 5.
Library Program Training
Between student interviews, I was also training Srey Net, our school's librarian, on our library program. She spent the entire day processing all of our graded readers, which consisted of placing pockets and cards in the back of each card, and making book column labels. We'll have our library up and running by the first day of class. Students will also receive a "library program orientation" lesson during the first week of classes.
By the time four o'clock rolled around, we had registered 53 new students to BEA. We now have a total of 93 students for the 2011-12 school year, with 43 of those continuing from last year. Both Shally and I are so very forward to our second year at BEA. We definitely met some "superstars" during registration, and can't wait to help them learn.
Now, the hard work begins...
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.