Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Teaching in a Khmer language school

I've taken a job 2 hours per day teaching in a language school in Phnom Penh. The name of the school is ELT. Here's a quote from their introductory information for teachers:
ELT popularly stands for English Language Training. It, however, can be interpreted as Enriching Life for Tomorrow as its Motto. We also attempt to translate ELT as Excellent Learning Torch...

Ouch. Yes, it's that bad. OK so the school is crap, but Khmer students are outgoing and eager to speak (compared with my experiences teaching in Thailand and Japan). The level of English in Phnom Penh is, on average, higher than in Bangkok or Tokyo.

My schedule leaves something to be desired: one hour from 6:30 AM to 7:30 AM and another hour in the evening, 5:30 to 6:30. I did this to force myself to wake up early. Teaching 2 or 3 hours per day is about right, really. One has time to adequeately prepare for classes and not feel like a zombie at the end of the day. Mostly I've taken the job for a laugh and to see what it's like in a Cambodian language school, and also to cover most of my expenses during my stay here. It is cheap, I tell ya. One strange thing in Cambodia: The U.S. dollar is the de-facto currency here. They do have riel, the local currency, but it is used interchangably with the dollar at a rate of 4000 riel to one dollar. This means riel are used for small amounts(there's no US coins) and dollars for larger ones.

What's it like in Cambodia? HOT!!! Now is the peak of summer and the new year is this weekend. I'm planning to get out of town for the holiday and see a bit of the Cambodian countryside.

Stay tuned in the next week or two for some videos from India, new photos from Cambodia, and of course my continuing impressions of Phnom Penh.

1 comment:

Jon Hoff said...

Hey Seth.
It's summer over here in HCMC as well. HOT. Not as HOT as Hanoi. WE don't have the humidity that they have up there - they have a Korean summer...(disgusting!). PP is an interesting place. Are you planning on coming to HCMC at any time? Here's an idea. For years and years there have been rumors abounding that the border with cambodia down at Ha Tien will open for foreigners. Now it seems that this will happen after the holiday at the end of the month. Could be an interesting way to get into Vietnam if you are coming. The border is on the south coast. Follow the road from Sianoukville to Kampot and Kep. The border is 40kms beyond Kep. You can see Phu Quoc island from this area and take a boat over there as well....