My alarm greets me at 7.00 a.m. Pressing the snooze button at least two times is part of my daily routine. Then I get up, take a shower, brush my teeth, and get dressed. When I reach the breakfast table at around 7.40 a.m., it has already been set up by our lovely hosts, and it features different cereals, a choice of bread and spreads like honey, marmalade and Nutella, as well as coffee, tea, or the popular Ovaltine. After the strengthening breakfast, I feel ready for a day of teaching. At 8.00 a.m. I start work with training my two lovely Lao English teachers, Mit and Noy.
I teach them new vocabulary, help them to improve their pronunciation and grammar, with special regard to the sentence structure. Also, we have many interesting conversations about life in Laos or Germany, intercultural differences, English learning and so forth. After one hour of teacher training there is some time to prepare my daily English lesson for pre-schoolers with “Mister Mopsy”, the dog hand puppet. Afterwards, at 9.30 a.m. sharp, the ritualized gymnastics and tooth brushing ritual takes place, followed by tidying the school yard, where every student has to participate.
Then it is Mister Mopsy’s and my turn at 10.30 a.m. I pick up one of the four groups of pre-schoolers in their classroom and together we go to the library. After 30-40 minutes of English learning, fun, and encouragement, I have enough time to dry my shirt that usually becomes sweaty from the constant moving and jumping around, before heading back to the “Trio” canteen for lunch (learn more about Mopsy here).
“Trio” is only a stone’s throw away from the school. On the way, we pass many small shops and food stalls. In the canteen, a scrumptious three course meal awaits us: delicious soup, rice, one plate with curry, another one with laab, stir fry or fish, and savoury fruits like water melon, mango, papaya, bananas, apples or pears. Back at school, there is time to let the food settle and to relax or have an ice coffee (for coffee love click here). School continues at 1.30 p.m. The afternoons are reserved for observations in the classrooms. I join one of my cooperation teachers for their class 3 English lessons and observe their teachings. Alongside, I make notes on what goes well or what could be improved. After the lesson, we sit together for a feedback round based on these notes and the knowledge I have gained throughout my studies at University of Education Karlsruhe.
Every day from 3 to 4 p.m. we have activity time which is a time after school where every child is free to join an activity according to their liking: dancing, hula hoop, football, volleyball, Sepak takraw, or the English activity. Usually standing in a circle we sing songs and play clapping games on the basis of the Singlish workshop (for more details: check our Singlish workshop article here).
The rest of the day is free for everyone, at least theoretically. Very often, we have other things to do, for example:
- visiting the speaking zone of the University of Laos in Vientiane (to check out the report click here),
- choir rehearsals (to find out more click here),
- preparing workshops for teaching the English teachers or
- managing our special tasks (read more about those here).
However, we still find enough time for recreation. Find out more about the things we do in our free time in the article “Things to do in Laos (click here).
Text and photos by T. Mayer