I have always respected teachers. Many of the people who impacted my life the most were teachers. But no matter how much reverence I have shown over the years for the educators of the world, it was not enough. I know this after only one day teaching English to refugee children in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Kelly and I each taught 4 different classes of children from age 5 to age 15. The kids don't have much and many live with multiple other refugee families in 700 square foot flats like the ones below as seen from the street.
But the kids were all in uniform today and for the most part were eager to learn. The school is run entirely on donations and volunteers and is pretty bare boned.
I had assumed, wrongly, that we would be acting as assistants and helping others teach the class. Instead, we were told by the principal that some of the teachers did not show up, and were asked if each of us could teach English alone to different classes.
In the spirit of acceptance, we went ahead without any real lesson plan. I tried nouns, verbs, some American English slang. I read a story or two. And then I opened it up for questions.
"Are mermaids real?"
"Where did humans come from?"
"Is Area 51 real?"
These were just a few I received from the children, but as has been the case for much of my life, I should have expected the unexpected. We go back tomorrow for Day 2, and I am going to try to put together some semblance of a plan before then.
And I will open it up for questions again.