Every-Day-Life in Cambodia

Dear readers…I’m so sorry for my long absence. First of all the last month were kinda stressful and many things needed to be sorted out and second nothing really spectacular happened. It’s “just” my every day life here in Phnom Penh.

06:00am – wake up time
As I’m not a morning person at all that’s my every day challenge! I snooze one time but around 6:15am I really need to get up. Latest with the cold shower I’m awake šŸ™‚ The temperature of the water depends on the outside temperature…the more it rains and the chillier it gets outside the colder the water is. It might sound a bit strange but generally I enjoy the refreshing cold showers as usually it’s really hot outside.

06:30am – breakfast
My mum always told me – never leave the house without breakfast so that’s what am I doing next. I enjoy the relaxed time in the morning eat some bread and cheese (the german way šŸ™‚ ) and listen to the sounds from outside. As the Cambodians are early birds the whole neighbourhood is awake already. They start washing their cars, listen to the radio and the first people already leave with their motorbikes to work while I’m enjoying the last quiet minutes before the busy life starts. Latest when I hear the cambodian national anthem I have to go, that’s point

07:00am – my journey to work
As my school is around BKK1-area it takes me about 20-45mins to get there. It’s actually just a 7km drive but the traffic in Phnom Penh by that time is a bit special as everyone starts to drive to work around that time. The earlier I leave the house the easier and faster it is. My personal TukTuk driver Sophea waits for me every morning infront of my house to pick me an drive me safely through the crazyness of the Phnom Penh rush hour to my school.

07:20am – at school
Usually around that time I arrive at CIA PP international school and the students welcome me with a friendly “Good morning Teacher Kate” and a biiiiig hug…that actually makes my day already. It’s unbelievable how much love these children show every single day. The first 20-40mins I spend in my classroom preparing my first lesson or the homework and the second time I enjoy the quietness of the morning!

08:00am – morning assembly
All teachers and students start the day together…at 8am the school bell rings and the students line up in our outside playground. The principal welcomes them to school. On Mondays we have the flag ceremony as well which means two students raise the Cambodian flag and we listen to the national anthem. Afterwards class by class goes upstairs to their classroom.

08:15-11:30am – in classroom
During the morning I’m teaching 18 children, 4-6years old, about English (Phonics), Numbers, Social Studies and Science. In between they have 30mins breaktime. Beside of that they have one time per week PE (physical education) and two times they go for swimming. We have a garden in school and teach about farming, plants and life cycle and we have a library to read with the kids or once in a while watch an educational movie. We teach them about good behaviour, which might be the biggest challenge in my job, respect and rules. I’m working together with 2 teaching assistants and they make my life a lot easier…thanks to Vichheka and Maly for that!

11:30-12:30pm – lunch break
Normally I’m staying in school during my lunch break and eat in our Canteen. The food is good and cheap, 1,25$ for rice, stir fry and a big bowl of soup šŸ™‚ Once in a while when I feel like having western food I’m going out to one of the coffee shops in the surroundings or we oder fat boys ( similar to subway) sandwiches to school.

12:30pm – prep time
For one hour every day I have now time for preparations, writing lessonplans and weekly reports about my students. Normally I spend this time in my classroom searching online for worksheets or teaching ideas, preparing homework for the next day or the materials I need during class the next day. It’s a quiet hour while the smaller students nap for an hour and the older ones have cool-down time in our library. In case I’m really well prepared already I use the time sometimes to “supervise” the students in the sleeping room…which means I also have a nap for an hour šŸ™‚

1:30-3:30pm – afternoon class
Our full-time students have another 2hrs class in the afternoon. Mostly we do revision of topics we did in the morning. The biggest groupe of my afternoon students was also enrolled to school during the second half of the school year and they all need to catch up. So we use the afternoons to teach them what they missed during the first half year so hopefully they’ll be able to move on to the next level after summer.

3:30-4:15pm – prep time
Another 45mins to sort my classroom, correct homework and get preared for the next day. I just realized when I started this job how much a teacher actually needs for preparations. That’s actually the “hard” work as a teacher. Even if the internet is full of worksheets and materials and you can find tons of good educational movies and websites sometimes it still takes time to find the right things for the age group or the topic you wanna teach. Sometimes I start doing my own worksheets if I can’t find the right things online.

4:15pm – my journey back home
If it’s stressful in the morning to go to work sometimes it’s even worst to go back home. I really praise sometimes the shiftwork I worked in Munich because you don’t have to be on the road while everyone else does the same! The good thing is I don’t need to drive on my own…I just lean back in my TukTuk and Sophea tries his best to avoid the traffic or squeeze us into the small gaps between hundreds of motorbikes, TukTuks and cars. Usually it takes around 30mins till I finally arrive back home but the worst it can take up to an hour.

5:00pm – home sweet home
During the week normally we don’t schedule a big program anymore. In case I coudn’t finish my prep I need to do that once I’m back home but luckily that doesn’t happen really often. One of us cooks something for dinner, we eat together and have a chat about our days. Afterwards I just relax, read and write Emails, facebook-ing,…it’s time to stay in touch with my old friends and live back in Germany.

10:00pm – Good night
As I get up so early every day I normally go to bed around 10pm. I’m not really a late-night-person anymore…I really need a good night sleep to recover for the next day. That’s maybe the good thing without shift working my body has a good rhythm now. In the evening I’m tired and I don’t have problems to fall asleep anymore. Sometimes even during the weekend I wake up in tze early morning but only to check the time and to be happy to turn around again šŸ™‚ Even if I’m not a late night owl anymore I think I’ll never turn into an early bird!

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