More Election Updates!

As mentioned in our Elections are Happening in Bhutan blog, the Election Commission of Bhutan officially announced the schedule of the National Assembly Elections. As outlined in the Constitution, the election will be in two stages which in the first stage, two of the four parties who poll the maximum in the round of elections to be held today will be chosen for the second stage held on July 13th.

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Bhutan women showing their voter cards for the National Assembly Election (Source: Daily Maverick)

Besides the ruling party DPT and the opposition PDP, the two other parties include the DCT (Druk Chiwang Tshogpa) and the DNT ( Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa). One other party BKP (Bhutan Kuen-Nigam Party), though accepted as a political party, did not receive enough votes in the preliminary stage as it could not put up representatives for all the 47 constituencies. These four parties will contend in today’s vote for the 2013 National Assembly elections. According to a report in Kuensel, dzongkhags with the smallest voting population had the highest voter turnout, in terms of percentage, while it was just the opposite for dzongkhags with a high number of voters.

Stay tuned for ongoing updates as the Bhutanese exercise their democratic right to vote in this 2013 election period.

The Bhutanese Guide to Happiness

Today we have decided to feature a little book about a concept close to our heart called Gross National Happiness. Simply stated in the book’s synopsis, “What we can learn from a country where Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross Domestic Product?” The book offers 15 keys to happiness amongst its chapters of inspirational quotations reflecting the unique and colourful country of Bhutan, a country that embraces “compassion, understanding and kindness”. Here are 15 keys to happiness, and if you happen to think of any more  be sure to share them on our Facebook and Twitter!

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The Bhutanese Guide to Happiness, from Penguin India

1) If you search for happiness, you will not find it. If happiness searches for you, it will always find you.

2) A flea springs up from a cozy blanket; a hero springs up from a rocky ledge.

3) A yak herder takes the credit, but it is the poor yak which carries the heavy load.

4) If you have not experienced great suffering and great happiness, you will find it hard to tell them apart.

5) Suffering always ends, and so does happiness.

6) Anger is a golden opportunity to practice patience.

7) We are all shepherds, so learn how to tend kindly to your flock.

8) Angrily rebuking a quiet and thoughtful person is like trampling on the petals of a rose.

9) It is better to plant flowers than to build monuments.

10) If your leader turns into a dog, be sure to ask why he is wagging his tail.

11) Even the Sun can be eclipsed, so be aware of your own limitations.

12) Even while it sleeps, the cat dreams of the mouse.

13) Real intelligence is not about what you say, but how you behave towards others.

14) You can choose not to speak, but it is impossible to silence idle chatter in the streets.

15) Live simply. Leave only footprints and carry only your shadow. This is the way.

To read more purchase the book here and be sure to read up on past blog posts about amazing Bhutanese literature!

Photo of the Week – Spring in Trashiyangtse

Spring has sprung in Trashiyangtse, as evidenced by this greener than green shot posted by Tim Grossman this week in his blog “Spotlight on Trashiyangtse Picture Walk.”

Spring in Trashiyangtse
Photo credit: Tim Grossman

 

To see more photos from Tim’s walk visit his blog – Tiger in a Trance.

We’d love to feature your photos of Bhutan on our blog! Send your best snaps and photo credit information to info@bhutancanada.org

Blog of the Week – “Loving Learning English”

Learning English Activities
Photo Credit: Andrea Chisholm

We wanted to end this week on an inspirational note,  and what better way than to feature a blog from one of our inspiring teachers, Andrea Chisholm! In her blog post “Loving Learning English” Andrea talks about working with her Class 2 students to improve their English comprehension, speaking and writing skills! For most of Andrea’s Class 2 students English is a third or fourth language!

Not only does Andrea talk about how she approaches the Bhutanese national curriculum, she also provides great photos of students taking part in a number of different activities that she uses in the classroom. Take note teacher candidates!

“What I don’t do very much of is ‘chalk and talk’ copying off the blackboard. I try to think of more creative and engaging ways for the students to learn. I do not have access to photocopying so there are no worksheets at all. I have been very fortunate to gradually put together an astonishing range of stationery that has been sent from all over the world by kind friends who read the wish list I posted earlier in the year and exceeded any expectations I had of what might actually arrive. It is with great excitement that I can now incorporate coloured paper, colouring, cutting and glueing into my lessons!” 

To read Andrea’s full post and see all of her pictures see her post “Loving Learning English.” 

See  yourself in Andrea’s shoes? Applications to teach in Bhutan in 2014 are now open. Apply online today at www.teachinbhutan.org/apply.

Spotlight on the Districts Series – Trashiyangtse Dzongkhag

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Sunrise is Trashiyangtse, Photo Credit: Tim Grossman

Returning to our Spotlight on the District Series, we bring to you the youngest Dzongkhag of Bhutan created in 1992, the Trashiyangtse District, previously a district of Trashigang and part of Eastern Bhutan. Trashiyangtse’s literal translation means “Fortress of Auspicious Fortune” as the inhabitants of the area are blessed with continued peace and harmony in the valley. Trashiyangtse includes eight Gewogs, with a total of only eight percent of its land being under cultivation. Similar to other Dzongkhags, Trashiyangtse is known for its Wildlife Sanctuary at Bomdeling. Trashiyangtse is renowned for its finely made wooden cups, bowls and containers made from avocado and maple word using water-driven and treadle lathes.

The first school in the district is Trashiyangtse Lower Secondary School, located on a gentle slope of the Baychen village. At present, the day school has 780 students and 22 teachers with grades from pre-primary to eight. Past teachers in the field include Kendra Matheson, who became very immersed in Bhutanese culture, embracing Bhutanese food, and enrolling in Bhutanese painting classes. Kendra had this to say on living in Trashiyangtse: “It was pretty amazing to wake up this morning to monks chanting a deep, long song accompanied by something like a didgeridoo. The curtains and bed frame came with the room. We brought the mattress and bedding from Thimphu. Our mattress was too large for the bedroom so within a couple of hours a cheery pair of carpenters came by and built an extension on the bed frame. We are so well taken care of!” – From Home Sweet Home

Currently, Leland Crawford is teaching at Trashiyangtse LSS for 2013!

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Morning Assembly at Tshenkherla, Photo Credit: Tim Grossman

Our second school in Trashiyangtse is Tshenkherla Middle Secondary School, first established in 1978. Our current teacher in the field, Tim Grossman, talks about his experience teaching in Trashiyangtse: “The kids are acomical in their gho and kiras, boisterously speaking and laughing. I feel close to them and it’s a more genuine closeness. I am still adjusting, as each day one must adapt to their niche to contribute to the good of the community. I am endlessly fascinated by the students and their inner realities and dynamics. They treat each other well for the most part as community at a boarding school is a necessity.” – From May Day Muzing

 

Keep an eye out for more Districts, and don’t forget to Apply Today to teach in Bhutan!

Photo of the Week – Punakha Dzong

Today’s photo of the week comes from Matthew Stretton, and features a beautiful landscape in Punakha! Matthew recently travelled to the area, quoting  “stranded as we were in beautiful Punakha, the neighbouring valley to the east, where we had travelled trying to catch a glimpse of the fabled Punakha Domchoe – a religious festival held in the jaw-droppingly beautiful Punakha Dzong”. -From School has begun

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We’d love to see your photos of Bhutan! Send your best snaps and photo credit information to info@bhutancanada.org.

Recruitment Tips: Qualities of Bhutan Teachers

Photo Credit: Natalie Chhetri
Photo Credit: Natalie Chhetri

With our application to teach in the 2014 season and recruitment well on its way, we thought we’d share some helpful tips for our appliqués during the interview process and offer some more information for those of you on the fence. A question we are asked a lot here at Bhutan Canada is what are the essential qualities you look for in a successful teacher?  Well we are here to answer!

Here are some of the most important qualities we look for in our candidates:

  • Resourcefulness: this is an important quality for teachers in that Bhutan is much different from your home-town. You must be able to cope with the day to day living in Bhutan as well as being resourceful in your new position!
  • Patience: Everything comes in baby steps; just remember that it will take time to become comfortable in your new surroundings.
  • Independence: Our teachers are very independent in their new living and teacher positions! You will have to develop lesson plans for your students so independence is key!
  • Adaptability: In Bhutan everything, whether it be the altitude, cold/heat extremes, limited food options, simple accommodation, power, internet and water outages, superstition, complacency, or six day work weeks, will be new and you will have to adapt to your surroundings.
  • A positive attitude: Living and teaching in Bhutan is an amazing and unique experience! If you keep a positive attitude you will be sure to succeed.
  • A sense of humour: Be able to laugh at yourself! This will be a learning process, not all lesson plans will go “according to plan”.
  • Flexibility: Be able to “go with the flow”. Day to day life and teaching in Bhutan is never the same each day. Along with adaptability you must be flexible with occurrences at school or at home.

Keep these qualities in mind when applying or even during your interviews to really wow us. If you have the required recommendations but show us that you have what it takes to teach in the beautiful Kingdom of Bhutan you will be sure to succeed in the recruitment process!

Click here to apply today!

We will be accepting applications until July 31st so start yours before it’s too late.

Rigsum Sherig Collection Visits Bhutan!

Our executive director and a Canadian teacher had the opportunity to meet with the Sherig Collection staff in Bhutan, where a book fair in Bajothang was recently held.

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The fair displayed the Rigsum Sherig Collection and attracted many educators from nine dzongkhags (Chhukha, Dagana, Gasa, Paro, Punakha, Thimphu, Trongsa, Tsirang, and Wangdue). We are pleased to spread the word on the contribution that this organisation has made, allowing for easier access to quality offline learning  resources in many schools throughout Bhutan.

“For teachers and students in such schools, the Sherig Collection was perceived as a life-changer.”

A huge amount of educators visited the Sherig Collection tent, where they were able to copy content for use as teaching materials within their respective schools.

Officers from the Ministry of Education in Bhutan also visited the Sherig Collection tent and now have access to the same collection and will further distribute the learning resources.

For more on this article from Thimphu Tech: http://www.thimphutech.com/2013/05/rigsum-sherigcollection-visits.html

Applications to teach in Bhutan are now open!

Apply today at  http://teachinbhutan.org/apply/

Blog of the Week – Come Thee Hence to Bhutan…

This week offers a throwback to BCF Teacher David Green, who taught physics to grade 9 and 10 students at Pakshikha Middle Secondary School in Chukha.

Dave Green - Studens

The Bhutan Canada Foundation are currently recruiting for next years cohort of volunteer teachers.

  • Do you want to experience life in a culture that values happiness over cash?
  • Do you want to escape the flimsy stack of crumbling economic cards that is Europe?
  • How about working in a classroom where chairs are used for sitting on instead of as projectiles? In a school where everybody says ‘Happy Morning, Sir’, and means it?
  • Do you want to give more than you’ve probably ever given in work and get more back than you can imagine?
  • Do you want to shake things up and remind yourself that YES!… life really can still have bonkers twists and turns in it?
  • Did you answer YES to any of these questions, but don’t know who to call…?

Call the BCF Team!

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Interested?

Some words of advice to the willing… you’re coming here to be an exemplar, sharing your experience of more developed education systems and sharing skills, not just in teaching but in IT, language and other aspects. The teachers here are professional and well-trained – the teacher training here is a significantly longer affair than the perfunctory ’10 months and throw you in a classroom’ UK approach, so…

  1. It helps to be secure in your teaching practice before you come. I say it helps… I think you should feel an obligation in this respect (to yourself and to the schools here) and rack up a few years before applying.
  2. It really helps if [you’re] not coming here to repair some gaping chasm in your existence. Bhutan is not a self-help group and, contrary to some opinions, being here doesn’t automatically facilitate life-changing enlightenments. You’ll grow and develop in all manner of ways by being in this very special place, but your motive should be to give in the first instance.
  3. As usual with teaching, bring your sense of humour. I can’t imagine how any teacher gets by in a classroom without this, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
  4. And finally…. this isn’t a holiday. be prepared to work hard. I’m working harder than I have at any time previous, but the rewards, as you’d expect, are also bigger. And you do get opportunities to go explore, though not as frequently as you might expect.

Read the whole blog post here at The Bhutanical Adventures of Dave Green and make sure to Apply to Teach in Bhutan today!

www.TeachInBhutan.org/Apply

Interested in teaching in Bhutan? Have questions? Join our informational online webinar on Thursday May 16 at 6:00pm EST. RSVP to jenna@bhutancanada.org

Photo of the Week – Blyth March Break Trip to Bhutan

Last month we featured stories from Blyth’s March Break trip to Bhutan, sharing some amazing experiences our march breakers had the pleasure of encountering on their journey, along with some great quotes from the students! Now we have the pictures to back up their amazing trip! Enjoy a few snaps from the trip, maybe it will inspire you to make your own journey.

 

Blyth Student Trip
Students at Taktsang Monastery
Buddha Point
Buddha Point in Thimphu
Bhutanese boys
Bhutanese boys catching a ride
Tsochasa Primary School
Anna in English class at Tsochasa Primary
Bhutanese archery
Taking archery lessons

We’d love to see your photos of Bhutan! Send your best snaps and photo credit information to info@bhutancanada.org.