Support for Nepal

The earthquake was felt by some of our teachers across the country but gratefully there was no damage or casualties in Bhutan. Our condolences go out to the people of Nepal, as well as the visitors to the country and their families. A few of our BCF teachers have been lighting butter lamps for the victims of, and those still suffering from, the earthquake in Nepal.

Photo Credit: Lynne Maher - Lighting butter lamps at Gom Kora for the victims of, and those still suffering from, the Nepal earthquake.
Photo Credit: Lynne Maher – “Lighting butter lamps at Gom Kora for the victims of, and those still suffering from, the Nepal earthquake.”
Photo Credit: Megan Haskin
Photo Credit: Megan Haskin – “Visited the Monastery today to light butter lamps for the victims in the Nepal tragedy.”

All donations made to Unicef Canada towards relief efforts in Nepal, until May 25th, will be matched by the Government of Canada. And thanks to a match from their generous corporate partners, donations will now go three times further. Donate now and triple your impact.

Blog of the Week – The Year of the Reader

Reese Ishmael currently teaches English at Mongar Lower Secondary School, and this past week he and two other teachers were chosen to coordinate Reading Day, along with 5 other local schools. This event included a 5-hour reading program, student readings and performances, prizes and refreshments, all to celebrate the “Year of the Reader”. Here is what Reese had to say after being asked to coordinate the event:

“I’ve never been asked to do anything remotely on this scale. Thousands of students would be in attendance! The stakes were also high because reading holds special significance in Bhutan this year. The secretary to the minister of education emphasized that we as foreign teachers should work diligently to improve students’ readership. The minister of education echoed these statements when he visited my school.  I myself had chosen the school’s theme for the year as “building life-long readers” in response to the national designation of 2015 as the “Year of the Reader”.”

Reese, along with his two counterparts, dedicated weeks to research, organise and schedule the day’s activities and programs, not to mention figuring out how to tailor each to the reading abilities of each age group. There were three main competitions that took place: the buddy reading for grades 1-6, a reader’s theatre for grades 7-10 and a read and retell exercise for grades 11-12. Prior to the event, students volunteered to help prepare for the day as well, by cleaning the town’s central park, as well as making and setting up literary decorations.

Reading Day took place on a clear Saturday. The day was a huge success, not only attracting several students and teachers, but also many people from nearby communities who came together to watch the performances. Here is how Reese described the competitions:

Photo Credit: Reese Ishmael - Reading Day in Mongar
Photo Credit: Reese Ishmael – Reading Day in Mongar

“Student speakers who had practiced for weeks finally gave their speeches. The mic was working—a miracle given its track record, and the students were audible. Next the district education officer delivered a speech on the importance of reading, followed by one by the governor. All was going according to plan, but my mind was still focused upon damage control. The poetry reenactment by our class 5 was a bit robotic, but there were no striking errors, falls, or slip-ups.”

Congratulations Reese on all of your success! Reading Day was clearly an incredible experience for students and teachers alike, and such a fantastic way to promote reading throughout the community.

You can find out more about Reading Day and more of Reese’s adventures on his blog Chillies and Dragons!

Dantak Open Mountain Bike Race – Congratulations to BCF teacher Holly

Congratulations to BCF teacher Holly Krasniuk who came third in the Dantak Open Mountain Bike Race in Bhutan. With her prize money she purchased a book for each child in her school from class PP to class 6, as well as extra resources for the school and supplies for the staff. Way to go Holly!

Photo Credit: Vicky Chartres - BCF teacher Holly
Photo Credit: Vicky Chartres – BCF teacher Holly

Check out more photos from the race taken by BCF teacher Megan Haskin’s husband Dylan Haskin!

-> Dantak Open MTB Race Summary.

Blog of the Week – Picasso in Bhutan

Megan Haskin is teaching English at Rangjung LSS in succession of BCF teacher Travis. Last year Travis started an Art Club and Megan has gladly stepped in to continue the clubs success!

I now have over 40 children in my club and although I thought it would be total chaos it is the total opposite. They listen to my every word and focus all of their attention when creating their art works. The first words that left my mouth on the first day was a reminder that in art there is no right or wrong, everyone is good at art and everyone is different. The more different your art is, the better. – Megan Haskin, Picasso in Bhutan

Photo credit: Megan Haskin - Students
Photo credit: Megan Haskin – Students
Photo Credit: Megan Haskin - Finished Picasso Portraits
Photo Credit: Megan Haskin – Finished Picasso Portraits

For more stories of her teaching adventures follow Megan’s blog thehaskinjournal!

Blog of the Week – Cat in Bhutan

Continuing with our introduction to new teacher blogs, we bring you BCF teacher Catherine’s blog Cat in BhutanCatherine is teaching English at Dechentsemo MSS in Punakha, and shares insights and photos from her time spent teaching and enjoying local holidays in Bhutan so far!

Photo Credit: Catherine O'Brien - BCF teachers Catherine and Sebastian, and friend.
Photo Credit: Catherine O’Brien – BCF teachers Catherine and Sebastian, and friend.
Photo Credit: Catherine O'Brien - Class 4A Students
Photo Credit: Catherine O’Brien – Class 4A Students

Although I’ve found my much-anticipated routine, small things continue to change. I wonder when, or if, I’ll ever feel totally settled. But then this is a process too, isn’t it? Patience, and finding peace in the process, will help me to continue to feel happy here. That, and the occasional glass of whisky with fellow teachers after school to take the edge off. – Catherine O’Brien: School

Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition

The Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition is an annual flower exhibition held at the Ugyen Pelri Palace gardens in Paro during Paro Tshechu. Her Majesty Gyalyum Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck is the Royal Patron of the exhibition which is dedicated to the 60th birth anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. The exhibition is open to the public and runs through to April 6th!

Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition

Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition 2

Also, don’t forget that 2015 has been declared Visit Bhutan Year so stay tuned for more exciting events!