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Introduction of volunteers: Team III

Most of the members of Team III have been here for a good while now, but our Team was only completed a month ago with the arrival of the last of the 11 volunteers, Sara, who had had to wait for her final oral state examinations until the end of October and left for Laos three days later.

Before we started our exciting journey halfway around the globe to experience an entirely new culture, each one of us had had different thoughts about our stay in Laos. Today, we want to share these thoughts and expectations with you and tell you a little bit about ourselves in the following introduction of our team. Accompany and follow us through our pre-expectations to our first impressions, some of which we already published here, and then on our way to a whole new mindset!

 

Hello! I’m Pauline Kern, I’m 25 years old and I have lived in Karlsruhe since the beginning of my studies at the PH. I studied French and home economics in the primary education degree. As I love languages and cultures I’m looking forward to spending some time in Laos.

In my free time I like to do creative things, to meet friends, and to dance.

My task in Laos is to be the “stand-in” or “flexi” teacher. This means that I do the “Mopsy” classes with the preschoolers and that I teach English to the “Non- English” teachers – the total beginners. For the preschoolers, I went through the Mopsy course book and the weekly reports of Team I & II to get an idea of what had already been done and how to prepare. I exchanged experiences with the previous teams and by this I could write lesson plans for the preschoolers. With Silja I worked together to write a course plan for the Straightforward Beginners English book, with which the “Non-English” teachers will work. Moreover, for the first lesson I prepared a PowerPoint presentation with information and photos of my family, my town, my country, typical German food and drinks, etc.
I’m looking forward to sharing some of the cultural experiences I made on several trips and long-term stays with the people in Laos!

The special task I volunteered for is housekeeping. As I lived in a students’ residence for a long time I am familiar with planning how to organize the cleaning and the cooking for many people. Following the idea of Jule (Team II) I made a Cleaning Clock with photos of each volunteer to have a better organization as soon as we arrive in Laos. This means that everybody has his/her special task in housekeeping for one week which changes every week. I read a little bit about culture and food in Laos (to get an idea of what could be cooked) and in my travel guide I found some recipes to cook with typical Lao food (e.g. amok = coconut curry with fish). When I arrive I still have to get an idea of the situation and plan exactly how to use the Cleaning Clock and how to write the shopping list for 9 people but I think we are prepared very well so far!

 

Hello, I’m Kerstin.

I finished my studies in the field of “European Teacher Course for Primary Schools” at the University of Education Karlsruhe in July 2016. I am very pleased to work in Ban Sikeud Primary School and am looking forward to meeting the Lao teachers Mittaphone (Mit) and Phovang (Noy). In addition to that, I will continue establishing Ban Sikeud’s “English Lending Library”.

This will be my first stay in Laos and I am very excited about what awaits me.

 

Hi, I’m David 

I’m 25 years old and live in the beautiful village of Königsbach, about 30 minutes away from Karlsruhe. I just finished my studies and now call myself a teacher for secondary schools (Werkreal-, Haupt- und Realschulen) for English, Catholic religion and physical education. I like to go fishing, diving, travelling, and to do sports. I’ve never been to Laos before, so I’m pretty excited about what’s coming up to me.

As the teacher traineeship period (Referendariat) following university education only starts once a year, i.e. in February, I was wondering about how to use this half year off (after my graduation in the summer) meaningfully. During this time I met Prof. Martin, who told me about the project, so I applied. For my preparation I worked together with Anika and Silja. We searched for appropriate books, games and teaching material that can be used in Ban Phang Heng Secondary School, where we are about to set up a new “English Lending Library” for the Lao teachers. For this, aided by Prof. Martin, we first set up a small library of didactic reference books for ourselves, to guide us along the way.

 

Hello, I am Anika Broghammer,

I am 24 years old and in my 5th semester at the PH Karlsruhe. My major is secondary education with the subjects physical education, English, and Catholic religion. As from October 2016, I will be teaching English at the Ban Phang Heng Secondary School in Ban Sikeud. I am looking forward to implementing modern teaching techniques including various media as well as preparing workshops for the right use of media in a language-learning classroom.

One of the goals of my stay in Laos is to set up an “English Lending Library” at the Ban Phang Heng Secondary School. For this reason my pre-attendant responsibility was to do some research on English secondary didactics literature, schoolbooks, games and other English-learning material which we deem useful and usable for teaching English in Laos, and then to archive them in the new Lending Library. In cooperation with David and Silja, I categorized the books according to publishers and subject area. At the end of July we completed our work by sorting appropriate books into a wish list, which Prof. Martin then edited and passed on to Johannes Zeck for the final order.

In Laos, we will archive the books and also introduce a new learning tool, the “Talking Pen”, for use in five different English language classrooms.

Furthermore, my special task will be the organization and management of  the registration of school holidays (not as easy at it may seem to Western readers) and the creation of a clear schedule for our work, which has to be fitted around the normal school routine.

I look forward to working in a dedicated and professional team, to accomplishing my tasks in the teaching project in Laos.

 

Hello,

my name is Lena Wink and I’m 26 years old. Like most of the team members I finished my first state exam in July 2016. Soon, I’m going to teach at the Lao German Technical College (LGTC) in Vientiane from 27th September 2016 until 15th January 2017. My special task and that of Denise involved doing research to find an appropriate course book for the college. The main focus was basic technical English. With the great help of Prof. Martin and Mr Fuerst we were able to find suitable books for the different groups. The books will be used for the teachers’ lessons and for the teaching of students.

At the college I will be responsible for the team of the English teachers. It will be my task to teach them with the new book and also to support the teachers in the field of didactics and methodology. I am sure that the task will be challenging, however, I am really glad that I am a member of the new team. I’m looking forward to the new experiences that I am going to gain at the college and in an Asian country.

 

Sabai dii and hello,

I am Denise and part of Team III in the project “Teaching English in Laos”. I took interest in this project when I attended the information session on 27th January 2016. This project is a chance to teach English to teachers and students without the possibility of switching to my mother tongue when difficulties arise, which in turn helps to build up my pedagogical repertoire and expertise.

During my studies at the University of Education Karlsruhe, which I completed in October this year with the first state exam, I had the chance to gain knowledge in the didactics and methodology of early foreign language education. The project now offers me the great opportunity to put all the theory of motivating and fun opportunities to support language-learning into practice before I start with my teacher traineeship in February 2017, which finishes with the second state exam after 18 months. As I love to travel and the best way to really get to know another culture is to stay there for a good while, this internship also offers a way for me to get an insight into a different way of life.

I am really looking forward to spending the next few months in Laos as I have heard many fantastic things about the Lao people and culture. I am sure that Lena and I will have a great time teaching English to the teachers and students at the Lao-German Technical College Vientiane.

 

Hello,

My name is Thorsten Feldmann and for the last 4 years I studied at the PH Karlsruhe to become a primary teacher. My majors are English and mathematics. When I graduated in the summer, the question arose as to how I could spend the fall and winter of 2016 until the teacher traineeship period begins in February 2017.

Before I decided to become a teacher, I graduated as a chemical-technical assistant and worked as a CTO (chief technical officer) in a big science laboratory at the KIT (Karlruhe Institute of Technology) for 9 years. Beside the scientific work, I also managed the technical and environmental keep-up of the laboratory. After work, I used to be on stage as part of an ensemble in a cozy theatre in Karlsruhe.

As Prof. Martin knew about both my history in the laboratory and my theatrical work, she stopped me in my tracks on a cold winter’s day in Germany at the PH, to update me on her work in Laos, because the recent acquisition of a new laboratory in the secondary school had made her think of me. She asked pointblank if I could imagine working there, to breathe life into the laboratory with chemistry lessons. That took about 30 seconds before she had to run off to her lecture. Startled, I started thinking about it and remembered that my friend Tobi (Team I) had told me about the project, too. At home I opened the “Laos Experience Blog” and started to read. Immediately I was overwhelmed and wanted to join this experience.

Several months and auditions later, I was finally chosen to be a member of Team III and am now very excited in anticipation of what the stay will bring. I will teach English to the natural sciences teachers in Phan Heng Secondary School and will also introduce them to the practical work with students in a laboratory. As far as I know, they do not speak or understand English, so this is going to become really exciting.

My special task is the maintenance of this blog. Tobi already told me that this will be a lot of work, but we’ll see what it brings with it.

 

My name is Silja Schäfer and I am one of the lucky ones who are going to be part of this great project. I am 25 years old and from the picture you can see what I look like.

MY LIFE BEFORE LAOS: I studied to become a primary school teacher at the PH Karlsruhe. My subjects are German and English, music and arts. After a long time of studying, I finally got my first state exam degree this summer. Alongside my studies, I used to do sports such as yoga or swimming. I worked and spent some quality time with my friends. Besides, I travelled a lot, but I have never been to southeast Asia before, which raises my curiosity even more. The project caught my attention because I think working mainly with the teachers is very sustainable. Moreover, I can be sure that other well-educated students will pick up and continue my work when I leave.

MY LIFE IN LAOS: From mid-September on, I will be working in Laos together with the other members of Team III. There I am going to have different tasks. During the first weeks I am going to work with two lovely teachers in Primary School Bang Phang Heng until Sara arrives who will continue. From then on I will give special support to Thorsten, who is going to work with the physics and chemistry teachers in Secondary School Ban Phang Heng. My “Special Task” is to set up a new “English Lending Library” for the secondary school. Together with Anika and David I already collected a lot of useful books which will help us to create suitable material for the library. To get prepared for this journey in a more mental way I read a lot about the country, the Laotians and their way of life. In general I think the most important thing is to have an open mind to all the new exciting but doubtlessly also sometimes difficult experiences which are awaiting us. I am really looking forward to this journey and I am curious about what I will experience and how these experiences will influence me as a person, how my life will be after Laos.

 

Hi everybody!

My name is Sara Stöhrer and I’ll be going to Laos at the very end of October. Right now I am in the middle of my oral state exams, which is also why I’ll be leaving so late. I’m already very excited to be serving and working at the primary school of Phang Heng as it’ll be my first time in Asia. My special task will be “documentation and archive”, which means I’ll be in charge of collecting all the handouts, files and documents that Team III is going to produce, as well as the photos and videos that all the team members took, to sort and store them on one external hard drive. And of course I’ll be taking photos and videos as well for you all to see on the blog.

 

Hello,

my name is Julia Keßner and I am 23 years old. I have wanted to become a primary school teacher ever since I was little, so I started my studies at the “Pädagogische Hochschule Karlsruhe” in 2011. My main subjects there were English and history and I also studied one semester abroad at the University of Birmingham in England. In my free time I love to ride my horse Nanuk (in the photo), singing, dancing, and meeting friends.

Now that I have finished my studies, I am looking forward to bringing my knowledge, methods, and material … to the Sunshine School in Laos and to gauge it all against the lessons and teaching methods there. Juliana and I were invited via Prof. Martin to join the Sunshine School team in Vientiane by “Didi” (which means “Sister”) – the head of the school, for an internship for approximately three months, and I am sure that this is going to be a great time for us!

 

Sabai dee!

My name is Juliana, I studied primary school education with the main subjects German and English at the ”Pädagogische Hochschule Karlsruhe”, where I graduated in spring 2016. I always planned to go abroad for some time after my graduation, so I took the great opportunity which presented itself to me through Prof. Martin to volunteer for three months at the Sunshine School in Vientiane, Laos.

Laos is one of the least known countries in southeast Asia, which makes it all the more attractive for me to live and work there for a few months to get to know the country and its people. I am really curious about how the school system works in this Communist state and I cannot wait to face some challenges and gain great experiences which will bring me further in my life, not only with respect to my teaching profession, but also for my personality.

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