BLOG OF THE WEEK: Puja

Have you ever heard of a Puja? Well, a Puja is an expressions of “honour, worship and devotional attention”. Current BCF Teacher Catherine O’Brien describes her time at the annual Puja with members of her community. Sit tight because she tells stories of drinking from human skulls and watching cow skin dry! Catherine ties her Puja experience back to the experience of Thanksgiving. Reminding us all that while cultures are very different we all are human beings and community, celebration and thankfulness are at the roots of all cultures. Read more about her time here: Cat In Bhutan

Blog of the Week – Teacher Abroad: Reese Ishmael

Current BCF teacher Megan Haskin has a series on her fantastic blog Korbay Delay that profiles teachers now teaching abroad. Her most recent feature was of Reese Ishmael, another BCF teacher in Bhutan. Check out the interview at Teacher Abroad: Reese Ishmael.

Mongar LSS, Mongar.
Mongar LSS, Mongar.

“My life here is rather simple, just as I imagined it would be. The community is close and kind, eager to help and compassionate in every sense of the word. People here don’t sweat the small stuff and speak their minds freely. Time works on a completely different scale, too—affectionately referred to by locals as BST (Bhutan Stretchable Time). I spend my free hours writing or taking hikes, eating with friends, or participating in social gatherings. I like to walk into town from time to time to pick up vegetables from the market or just meander and people watch. On the odd holiday I will catch a ride with someone to see neighboring provinces, fulfilling my need for adventure. It certainly took some time to adapt to things, but now that I am familiar with it all, I have really come to appreciate it.”

Bhutan’s Institute of Language and Culture Studies – Vacancy Announcement

Bhutan’s Institute of Language and Culture Studies, a college of the Royal University of Bhutan, welcomes applications for 2 English instructor positions: one begins in July 2015, and the other in February 2016. An MA is required, but there is no age limit for foreign lecturers.

Learn more here:Vacancy-Announcement-2015

BBC News – Bhutan breaks Guinness record for tree planting

A team of 100 volunteers in Bhutan has set a new world record by planting 49,672 trees in one hour. The BBC reports that Bhutan’s planters gathered in the capital of Thimphu for their feat, which Guinness World Records confirmed. Bravo Bhutan and all of the planters, what a great way to show commitment to the environment on social forestry day!

Photo Credit: @wangdibumthap - Tree Planting Volunteers
Photo Credit: @wangdibumthap – Tree Planting Volunteers

Teach in Bhutan – Application closes June 30th. One Month Left to Apply!

Deadline to apply to Teach in Bhutan is only one month away. Please see our website www.teachinbhutan.org or email teach@bhutancanada.org to learn more and apply!

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PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Two-week orientation in the capital city, Thimphu
  • Support from both Toronto office and Bhutan field office
  • Mid-year retreat
  • Paid position, with an English curriculum
  • Local Bhutanese salary (more than enough to comfortably live in Bhutan)
  • Fascinating and unique culture that is extremely welcoming to foreigners
  • Accommodation, visas, work permit, flights are all secured with BCF’s staff
  • Bursaries, fundraising assistance and optional fundraising program to cover associated costs
  • Strong alumni network and pre-departure assistance with other teachers
  • Daily tariff is waived for all teachers
  • National curriculum, created in conjunction with Canadian consultants
  • Entire curriculum is online for access prior to arrival
  • Concept of Gross National Happiness is infused into the curriculum

Apply Today!

Bhutan Photo Campaign

The Tourism Council of Bhutan is dedicating a Photo Campaign to the 4th King His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck for giving the Kingdom of Bhutan the opportunity to pursue their own path to happiness. The Bhutan Photo Campaign is a creative and fun way to allow everyone to define happiness through photographs. Anyone can submit photos taken both inside and outside of Bhutan.

Bhutan Photo Campaign

To take part:

  • You must register with a valid email address
  • The photograph size should not exceed 8 MB and should be at least 800X500 pixel
  • Tagline should not have more than 40 characters
  • The photograph must be free from any text or watermark. The photograph should not include the email address, website address or name of any individual(s)

Learn more about the photo campaign and register to enter! –> Bhutan Photo Campaign.

Apply Today to Teach in Bhutan

Applications to Teach in Bhutan open until June 30th!

Travel a world away. Make a world of difference. Teach in Bhutan.

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Photo Credit: 2015 BCF Teachers

We are specifically looking for Elementary and Secondary Math, Science and English teachers as well as Special Education specialists to fill positions in public schools in rural Bhutan. No other language needed, as English is the language of instruction in Bhutan. Applicants must have a BEd, equivalent teaching certification, or proof of at least three years relevant teaching experience.

These year-long contracts are renewable up to five years and run from January to December. We are currently recruiting for the 2016 school year. Teachers receive a local salary and accommodation is secured prior to arrival. Please see our website www.teachinbhutan.org or email teach@bhutancanada.org to learn more.

This is an incredible opportunity to live and work in one of the most remote and untouched nations in the world as Bhutan moves towards an exciting and innovative transformation to a more interactive, thoughtful and participatory system of education.

Apply Today!

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!