We are Jule Reissig, Jana Brecht, and Isabella Stryj from the University of Education Karlsruhe, Germany. At the moment, we are preparing for volunteering in Laos in February and March 2016. Since their intriguing info session about the project „Teaching English in Laos“, Prof. Dr. Isabel Martin (University of Education Karlsruhe), Johannes Zeck (Angels for Children Foundation), and the first team of University of Education Karlsruhe English graduate volunteers Tobias, Alessandro, Julia, Franziska, and Laura have been patiently answering our questions about working at the schools and staying in Laos.
As all project partner and participants agreed at the beginning of January that the good work at the Ban Sikeud and Ban Phang Heng schools needs to be continued without too much of a gap, the decision to send more volunteers as early as February/March 2016 was quickly made. Prof. Martin and Johannes Zeck advertised and organised a new application process as soon as they got back to Germany, and the good news that the three of us were granted the opportunity to teach in Laos reached us two weeks later, right after our interviews on 28 and 29 January.
Over the last two weeks, Prof. Martin organised several preparatory meetings and workshops for us and gave us lots of material, amongst other things to help us prepare a hand puppet and a picture book workshop for the English teachers in Laos – something new that our team can try out and contribute to the development of the project.
We discussed many other things with Prof. Martin and the prior volunteers regarding organisation and special tasks, e.g. our teaching time at the schools (what should we focus on when teaching there, what material do we have on site), who will continue developing the Lending Library (Jana), the Blog (Jule), and the audio- and video-documentation (Isabella), how can we help the teachers to prepare for their stay in England this summer, and what special events are going to come our way, e.g. Richard Martin’s Storytelling Workshop and the festivities around the Award for Ban Sikeud as “Model School” – next week!
We also participated in a “Singlish” workshop led by Heike Müller, lead singer of Prof. Martin’s Singlish band (more information about Singlish: click here), and co-led by Julia Bauer, Prof. Martin, and Sandro Pola (piano). Also, another workshop and visit by the hand puppet dog “Mister Mopsy” and his author Leonora Fröhlich-Ward was part of our preparation and an inspiring surprise for the three of us (more info about working with Mister Mopsy in Laos: click here). The icing on the cake: We are now the proud owners of Mr Mopsy’s twin brother puppet, who will make his first appearance in Ban Phang Heng shortly!
After finishing all the paperwork and organizing the essentials (new teaching and reading material, donations, presents, mosquito spray, ear plugs, and of course walking sandals as the previous volunteers highly recommend wearing that kind in Laos), we feel well prepared, super excited, and ready to start our adventure of contributing to the project „Teaching English in Laos“!
We are looking forward to meeting our prospective cooperation teachers and the AfC team – and of course to teaching at the schools in Ban Sikeud and Ban Phang Heng and making new experiences. We’ll keep you posted!
Your new Blog Mistress,
Text by: J. Reissig
Photos by: I. Stryj