Just two more days and then we're at the end of our first semester at BEA. We've had a lot of ups and downs this semester as an NGO schools, but I am still in shock at the progress many of our students have made in just six months. When we first had our student registration in September, I had to evaluate the students' speaking and listening ability in a short interview. Many of the basic students could only manage basic information, such as their name and likes. Now, these students can initiate and maintain conversations about their family, homes, everyday activities, and even memories. Shally has done an incredible job at teaching, as well as fostering motivation.
In addition to his teaching obligations, Shally is also in charge of evaluating students on the variety of activities in our speaking and listening program. Over the course of the semester, students have to complete three oral and written tests, four group presentations, weekly journal writing, as well as daily homework tasks. He finished up calculating the grades for the first semester on Wednesday. His last big task for the semester was student conferences.
While I was teaching this afternoon, I sent one student at a time out of the classroom to our office to meet with Shally. He met with half of the students for about 10 minutes to discuss their grade, give advice on improving their English skills, and answer any questions students may have about their studies. The rest of the students will get to talk with Shally during Friday's lessons.
After the last lesson, Shally and I had a short meeting about the student conferences. Most of the students were happy with their results and progress, and expressed such deep gratitude for being able to study at BEA. Some of the students even requested that we don't close for our semester break! However, most of the questions focused on advice about their personal lives. It seems that many of our students need someone to talk with about their problems. Shally does offer office hours during the week on Friday afternoon before his lessons, but I think we need to remind the students about these office hours. Although we don't have the means to solve all of their problems at the moment, we can always make the time to listen.
Shally will finish up student conferences in tomorrow's lessons, and we will have a small awards ceremony at the end of each class for the top three students.
Back to the books,
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.