Published: June 30th 2006May 14th 2006
I really feel at home here now. This place is familiar, especially the faces. When I walk around town, people know me, and I know them - it feels good.
Another of my volunteer duties involves teaching English. I tutor a number of Tibetan students one-on-one, and teach a beginner-level English class 4 days a week. The class itself is a blast! When I started, I thought it would be intimidating, since I have never taught Ingles before. But really, it's so easy (most days...) The room I teach in is about the size of a closet, and on any given day I have between 15 and 35 students crammed into that little room. Sometimes I'm standing on heads just to reach the whiteboard...
My students are awesome! All Tibetan exiles, I have both men and women (and boys and girls) ranging from age 13 to age 56. Some days, a few of the students bring their children, and so I have 8 and 9 year olds correcting the older students on their grammar. Ha! About half the students are monks/nuns, and the other half just regular people. My class is so laid back, we have a good time together, even
Me and Sunny, one of my students. I have taught him well in the ways of eating chow mein...
when some of the concepts I'm trying to teach are difficult to grasp (like: "MONK is not the same as MONKEY...") Many of them are very shy, especially the girls, but I'm trying to break them out of their shells with gradual success. Games help. They smile and laugh alot, especially at each other when they make mistakes. My students especially like it when I draw on the board to illustrate a point... "dance, funny artist boy! dance!" I have a captive audience for all my bad jokes, which is GREAT! ;) I feel like Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam...
I know that this will be good practice for when I go to Japan later this year. I only hope that I'm helping them out as much as they are helping me. When I see my students on the street it's good to shake their hands and talk small talk, and see that they actually learned a bit of the last class's lesson. Now if only I could learn to speak a little Tibetan...
There are more photos below