With Architect Karma Wangchuk and Dasho Tashi Wangyal both products of Canada’s Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific. Accompanying us is Dr. Robert Waldinger, Professor at the Harvard Medical School and Director of The Longitudinal Study.
This blog was written by Joy Vardy – Reading Program 2017 – who coordinated a large shipment of books to Lobesa.
I have to share this little anecdote. It illustrates how precious books are in Bhutan.
I had donated a 4000 book library to Lobesa school in central Phunakha and shipped it to Bhutan from Australia. I was back in the country for a month to set it up. Children had been sent from class throughout the day to help me in the library. They arrive in hoard proportions at lunch break and after school. When the room suddenly grows dark I know there is a new gang of children outside the window and door craning in.
The kids here show amazing initiative. They pick up the task at hand instantly and quickly organise new comers or younger students to do what needs to be done. They display great responsibility. I’ve had them fixing spine labels, alphabetically ordering by author surname, matching printed borrowing cards to books among a dozen other jobs. They are so keen!
One young girl – she is perhaps 11 years of age, helped me all afternoon in the library. She was a fast worker and learned quickly. She deftly organised new comers to tasks. At lunch she wanted to stay on but before I shooed her out to eat she picked up a book I had put aside. I was going to remove it from the collection; it was a girlie princess cartoon book. She was the last child to leave. It obviously appealed so I said she could have it.
Her face was ecstatic. ‘Really? I can have this? For me? ‘
“Yes, but Shh !,” I said winking, finger to my lips. “Have you many books at home?” I asked.
“No,” she said. “I have an old reader and a book of stories.” The reader once belonged to her adult sister and she knew the text of the story book by heart.
The princess cartoon book stayed on her lap all afternoon. When she moved around the library it went with her. I wish now that I had given her a decent piece of literature instead of a trashy cartoon novel; such a simple thing, to double her library with the giving of a reject book.
I would cull much of the existing collection in Lobesa. The books are tattered, dated – often with torn pages and missing front covers. I would let the kids take these books home. For many that book may become one of 3 or 4 titles they own and read until it is known by heart. For them, it would be gold.
I was finishing up for the day at 4:00pm with Phunstho, the Library assigned teacher when 20 or so kids turned up at the door offering to help. These were ‘town kids’ who lived locally and did not face a bus ride or a long walk home to a farm. They finished their after school chores in the classroom and came up to help in library.
“Can we come back before school tomorrow?” they ask. “That would be wonderful!”
By the time we begin library classes next week these kids will already be skilled in alphabetical order, know the difference between all the sections of a library as well as recognise the first three letters of an author’s name. Most importantly, they will know that books are placed on a shelf vertically, with the spine facing out, replacing the current habit of tossing a book onto a haphazard stack on a shelf.
I will not have been able to organise the library without the help of these children and when it is set up will be a gift of quality literature they and their teachers have never seen before in their lives. For this one young girl, the gift of a single book is a third of a library and it is probably memorised already.
I’m very excited about the prospect of exploring this unique culture which I’ve been fascinated with for many years. I feel very privileged to be part of a Canadian excursion to Bhutan – a once in a life time experience. Looking forward to observing the culture from a western perspective and then upon return to Canada, observing my culture from an eastern more traditional perspective.
I’m curious about exploring ways that will assist young Bhutanese to improve their English skills in a short time.
I’m expecting to gain friendships, connections for future volunteer teaching experiences, challenging myself through the harder times which will inevitably be part of such a trip, gaining a deep appreciation about how locals live their lives, viewing the breathtaking landscape.”
Looking for an experience to bring perspective and adventure into your life like Mary Ann? Check out our programs and upcoming trips at www.bhutancanada.org
Have you ever wondered what the day to day life is like in Bhutan? One of our current teachers Josh Cook writes a great blog post on his walk to the bakery. Through this post he is able to paint a picture of life in Bhutan. A must read for anyone interested in our Teach In Bhutan Program or our Summer Reading Program. Let Josh’s writing take you to the hills of the Bhutanese countryside.
Check out the post here: http://jcook-onthemove.blogspot.ca/2016/03/a-walk-to-bakery.html
Remember: Applications for our Teach In Bhutan Program are due MARCH 31 2017. Learn more and apply here
Looking for another reason to Teach in Bhutan? We are loving this article by Intrepid Travel about reasons why Bhutan might be the most liveable country in the world! If you are interested in experiencing Bhutan, apply to Teach in Bhutan by March 31st!
What is your favourite part of living in Bhutan? Let us know below!
Teach In Bhutan’s Class of 2016 arrived in Bhutan in January, and they are just settling into their new homes and classrooms. We would love to tell you about how wonderful they are, but we are going to let them introduce themselves!
My name is James and I am a 25 years old. I am tall and skinny with brown hair and brown eyes. I live in Vancouver, Canada and teach grade 5 and 6 French. I enjoy traveling to new places and exploring the outdoors. My favorite outdoor activities are hiking, biking and swimming in the ocean. When I’m not outside I like listening to music and watching movies with my friends. I am a linguist who speaks French, German and some basic Spanish. I am excited to learn about the Bhutanese culture and I hope to learn some words in Sharchop.
Born and raised in the southeastern United States, I am anything but a typical Georgia Peach. I consider my greatest accomplishment to be my two children, who have grown into fine young adults. I was a classroom teacher for 11 years, a school counselor for 7 years, an assistant principal for 1, and a principal for 9 years. Now, after a lifetime of service to the public school system in the state of Georgia, I am ready for the next phase of service. I have always loved to travel, and have always wanted to teach overseas after retiring from the school system. I am so excited and so very passionate about helping children on their life’s journey.
I grew up in Colorado, U.S.A. I am a teacher who is passionate about developing culturally responsive and progressive pedagogy that serves all students. I am also an avid rock climber that loves spending time in the mountains. I have an M.A. in English Education, and has taught in Peru, Japan, and most recently in my home city of Denver. I am very excited to continue my international adventures in Bhutan, a country I have dreamed of living in for many years now.
We hope to share with you more stories from the class of 2016! Stay tuned!
BCF is looking for qualified teachers to teach in Bhutan starting in January 2017.
The Bhutan Canada Foundation works in partnership with the Ministry of Education in Bhutan to send highly qualified English-speaking teachers to teach in public schools across the country. BCF teachers support the further improvement of the Bhutanese education system by modelling innovative teaching techniques, providing professional development to colleagues and encouraging the development of spoken and written English.
Since January 2010, BCF has sent a total of 89 teachers to 39 different communities across Bhutan. These teachers have had a direct impact on the lives of over 20,800 Bhutanese students.
In order to qualify to participate in the Teach in Bhutan program you need to be a native English speaker (one’s first language – “mother tongue” – must be English). In addition, individuals need to:
- possess a degree in either Education or in the subject you wish to teach (eg., English, Maths)
- have at least three years of relevant classroom experience.
The deadline to apply is March 31, 2016. Apply today at http://www.teachinbhutan.org/apply-2/
Events like the annual marathon, school Rimdro, sport tournaments, school picnic and more bring the MLSS, (Mongar Lower Secondary School) community together. See the full video here, Slideshow.
We are currently recruiting for our Spring Bhutan Reading Program and the application deadline is January 31st 2016!
This is a unique experience for Teachers to spend their time in a meaningful way. This program allows Canadian teachers to travel to Bhutan for 4-weeks and act as reading mentors/teachers to children in Bhutan. The dates for the 2016 Spring Reading Program is April 7 – May 7 2016
In order to qualify to participate in the Bhutan Reading Program individuals need to meet the following criteria:
- Experienced and qualified Canadian Teachers (with a B.Ed and/or teaching license and five years of experience).
- Teaching subjects should be at the elementary level or English at any level; additional qualifications in reading, literacy, English
specialization, and ESL are highly sought.
- English-speaking Canadians who hold a valid Canadian passport.
- Spouses/family are not permitted to accompany Reading Program teachers unless both are teachers who fit the above criteria and participate in the Program.
- Teachers must complete a BCF medical evaluation form with their general physician and be in excellent health.
For more information look at our check out our website
Questions about any aspect of the program, or about Bhutan, can also be addressed to Andrea Geddes Poole, the Executive Director in BCF’s Toronto office, 647-233-6607.