“I sense this may be and will be a life-altering experience- but I’m not yet sure in what ways….”
Mary Ann Pruyser, one of BCF’s volunteer teachers this summer, has given us a look into her pre-departure thoughts. This month marks the take off of our Summer Reading Program. We’re sending 16 amazing teachers, including Mary Ann, to embark on a trip of a lifetime, acting as reading mentors to students in Bhutan. Understandably, these teachers have a lot on their minds. Here’s what she had to say:
“I feel confident, but know I will have to train myself out of the western way of thinking and make that inevitable adjustment to ‘traditional society’ lifestyle – letting go of a focus on materialism and the need to be comfortable at all times.
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
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!
Front Row (left to right): Sonam Choki (Ministry of Education), Valerie Ball, Meena Subba (Bhutan Canada), Laura Jenkins, Madame Secretary Aum Sangay Zam (Ministry of Education), Nancy Strickland (Bhutan Canada)
Back Row: (Left to Right): Sean Cafferty, James Dove, Tim McFarland, Josh Cook
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!
“My students are motivated, kind and hilarious. The belief in Bhutan is that education is the only way to improve one’s circumstance. My students’ kindness, respect and gratitude make my work worthwhile. Replicating their positive attitude helps me to notice the incredible beauty around me…If nothing else; my students have taught me the power of positive thinking and the need for great teachers in every school on Earth…” – Mackenzie Walton Tsebar LSS, Pemagatshel
This year the Bhutan Canada Foundation celebrated its 5 th Anniversary in partnership with the people of Bhutan to cultivate English literacy and bring critical thinking and innovation to the forefront of educational practice. Since the launch of the Bhutan Canada Foundation in 2009, we have worked with the Ministry of Education in Bhutan to transform the standards of public education by sending 69 teachers to 39 distinct communities across the country.
Our teachers work alongside their local colleagues to improve literacy and encourage learning; working diligently with a team of educators that have provided 10,800 Bhutanese youth with the opportunity to achieve an education that might otherwise have been unattainable. Your donation will make an immediate difference in the lives of Bhutanese students!
In a few short weeks we will send a new group of teachers to Bhutan. This includes 17 new teachers, 1 returning alumni teacher and 4 teachers already in the field who are staying on for a second, third, or fourth year. We are excited to keep you updated on their progress as they get adjusted to their new schools and communities!
“I have never been more awed than when I first took in the daily assembly at my school. Students were reporting for the first time that morning, and they lined up in perfectly straight rows by class and section with seemingly no instruction. As the assembly began, they fell silent. Student captains led the student body in their morning chanting. Perfectly in unison, the deep baritone of the older boys and the soft, melodic tones of the girls blended together in perfect harmony and filled the space between us and the mountains….It was a deeply spiritual, perfectly beautiful moment that has become one of my favourite parts of each day.” – Ashley Lenzen
Applications for the 2015 Bhutanese teaching season will be ending in 3 days on July 31st, 2014 – Apply Today!
Have you always had an interest in living and teaching in Bhutan – a country with an enriching culture, welcoming people, a transformative education system, and Gross National Happiness? Join us in learning how you can be a part of the Bhutanese education system for the 2015 school year!
BCF will be hosting an online webinar on Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM Eastern Time
This is the perfect opportunity for us to answer all of your questions about the process! From finances to the application process, from accommodations to curriculum, this interactive information session will allow participants to ask their questions and get all the details needed to prepare for this unique opportunity!
We are excited to share with you some of the amazing school development projects our teachers have been working on within their schools! For 2014, the School Development Program is funded by the EuroCan Foundation, which focuses on conservation issues, particularly as they relate to renewable energies, climate change and sustainability.
Kevin Kilkuskie’s waste management project at the Bidung Lower Secondary School, “Clean Today, Cleaner Tomorrow”, hopes to implement awareness raising and education campaigns surrounding waste management practices. Waste bins, and information on recyclying will be used to teach students and the community about the importance of keeping the environment clean and how recycling and reusing materials can be sustainable and beneficial for future generations!
Travis Dewanhas focused his efforts on developing an Environmental Conservation project with the goal of protecting the environment by using sustainable waste management practices among the students and community. Travis’ project hopes to engage students in waste management by integrating visual art and creativity!At the Rangjung Lower Secondary School, art will be incorporated by creating garbage bins with bright colours, environmental proverbs, slogans and visual images. Travis hopes art will attract students to use these bins to safely dispose of waste, and create a sense of responsibility and interest in environmental conservation!
Warren Tanner a teacher at the Gonthung Middle Secondary Schoolhas developed a Greenhouse project that aims to cultivate fruits and vegetables and serve as an interactive classroom where students can learn and grow, while also contributing to the well-being of the school and surrounding community!
Sara Diamond is working on a WASH projectthat aims to minimize the occurrence of water-borne diseases from unsanitary drinking water by implementing a water filtration system. Currently, at theTshangkha Lower Secondary School, students do not have access to a sustainable clean water source, relying on boiled water supplied from the school kitchen. The water filtration system will provide students, staff, and the greater community with a clean supply of water, leaving students happy and healthy while reducing illness!
Sharon Gan Chi Ching’s project is a Botanical Garden at the Pemagatshel Middle Secondary School. This garden will be an area where students can learn about different plant life and species, complimenting what they learn in the classroom. In addition to the garden, washing stations and water taps will be constructed in order to provide students with alternative sanitation areas to keep clean before and after meals, teaching the importance of personal hygiene!
Ashley Lenzen is committed to developing a deer rehabilitation park for the injured wildlife nearby the Nangkor Higher Secondary School by creating a Nature Park . Multiple deer have already been rescued and the current enclosure is insufficient to properly rehabilitate the injured animals. The park would provide a safe place for the deer to recover, while also encouraging students to take initiative in caring for the environment!
All of these eager teachers are getting ready to launch their projects! Stay tuned for more updates as the school year progresses! For Previous School Development Projects, visit Stories from the Field.
Bajo is a newly planned town, located in Wangdiphodrang and serves as a meeting spot (and an urban setting) for our western-situated BCF teachers to connect, access internet, and purchase supplies and groceries.
Bajo is the urban town for the surrounding communities and schools of Dechentsemo, Bjibjokha, Samtengang, and Gaselo.
We had the pleasure of arranging a lunch and social visit with several of the teachers in the region and also the Chairman and Founder of The Bhutan Canada Foundation, Sam Blyth. This allowed for an informal and enjoyable time for our teachers and staff to connect, share stories, discuss the positives and difficulties of teaching in Bhutan, and to just relax and process the incredible opportunity to be welcomed to live and teach in Bhutan.
The remaining BCF teachers who live in communities too far away to attend were sorely missed!!
BCF Alumni Sabrina Soares spent a year teaching in Bhutan with us in 2012. Throughout her year in Bhutan, Sabrina regularly entertained her readership on her blog Sabrina in Bhutan with fantastic stories, mesmerising photos, and engaging experiences. In the 2014 spring edition of Himalaya Magazine, Sabrina continues to share her journey to Bhutan and her first impression of the magical kingdom in a five page spread!
“I believe I made it to Bhutan despite the odds because of the power of love for a dream; when you feel a calling to do something or when you feel that your heart is lit with a burning desire, faith can move you in directions that we can’t always see.” – Sabrina Soares “How did I end up in Bhutan?”.
BCF teacher Matt Stretton recently wrote an article for Druk Air’s Tashi Delek in-flight magazine! In his article he ponders the reason behind the popularity of WWE wrestling amongst some of his students and takes a thoughtful look on the impacts of cultural diffusion in Bhutan.
Here is a quick snippet:
“Whoa! John Cena!” “Smack Down! Yeah!” Sticking my head around the door, I found four boys from the boarding hostel sitting on a makeshift wooden bench, eyes glued to the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) blaring from the TV in the corner of the room.
“And although like most teenagers in the world my students will still face significant challenges in negotiating their multiple cultural worlds, I feel more confident that at least they will have plausible alternatives to an angry, steroid-ridden world where over-sized men wear gimp-masks, yellow mankinis and spend all day stomping on each other’s heads.”