Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ready or not, here they come!

In Cambodia, because there are so many children and not enough schools, at most schools, school days are split into two shifts. Students attend either morning or afternoon school. Teachers usually only teach for one shift. At Wat Bo, this is no different.

When the teachers heard I was at the school this morning to hook up the Internet, several could hardly wait to learn. They approached me and immediately began working out a plan for when they could learn and how many could come.

It took a couple of hours to determine what was going on with the computers, the Internet, and what our priorities were. By their nature, Cambodians are very big planners and quickly get so bogged into minutia that nothing ever gets done. A planner myself, I recognize (and appreciate) this trait, but Cambodians really do take planning to the next level! We had to sit around and discuss, through only a rough interpreter, what had been done, what was to be done, and what we needed to do. I am confident that by the time our planning meeting was over, nobody had an earthly clue what was going on--myself included!

Another aspect of Cambodian culture I am getting used to is a siesta-like midday break. From 11-2 it is hard to get anyone to do anything. School breaks from 11-1, and so we left for lunch at 11:30, not very much farther than where we had been to start the day. To my surprise, after lunch there were four teachers waiting in the computer lab. I had said at the planning meeting we would not be ready to train until Monday! The computer was set up in a makeshift place, arranged in such a way that we could test the Internet cable’s function. The teachers did not care. Neither should I, I thought. There will be plenty of time to get this all hooked up.

We spent four hours covering Google, Yahoo!, and YouTube. YouTube is a fantastic resource for learn-to-speak English videos for kids, it turns out. They were riveted. Next, I showed them how to sign up for email at Yahoo! They had no idea, so I showed them first, and then let them do it themselves. In the photo (thanks, Laurie!) I am explaining how to use Yahoo! to search for things. Later, I turned the mouse over and let them explore a bit on their own.

3 comments:

Ruth said...

Do the teachers speak English? In the photo, it looks like they are understanding you.

Tom said...

Yes, they do speak English, to some degree. There was lots of rephrasing and repeating. I found it easier to explain and point, which is why I am pointing and using the mouse in the photo (wish I had your computer pointer, Ruth!)

Anonymous said...

Tom that is great! I am sure they are soaking this information up, but will they have a computer to use once you are gone?