Teaching kids some lessons for life

Emily with her class at Cangumbang Primary School

Volunteers with VFV help to improve the education of students by teaching in and around Tacloban.

Volunteers are appointed to government schools where they conduct lessons alongside Filipino teachers.

The children have a curriculum to follow however volunteer teachers generally have the freedom to decide on what to cover in their lessons.

Australian Emily Tweddell, 25, has been teaching Grade 3 and 4 and Cangumbang Primary School. She usually takes either the morning or afternoon session and Filipino teacher Harold M Chiquillo leads the other session.

Emily said: “The hardest thing is thinking of relevant topics to teach. I’ve thought of what is most useful for the children. I did some geography lessons – world geography and Philippines geography. Some of them didn’t even know where The Philippines was in the world.”

She also focussed on English and sentence structure and as she has a background in arts and crafts she did a number of creative lessons where the youngsters could make masks and draw pictures of their hands.

Emily said that for the teaching placement volunteers need to be fully prepared and plan their lessons in advance. “My biggest bit of advice to new volunteers is that you have to go with the flow. It is not as strict here as in the Western world. Standing on desks or being rowdy is part of the norm. The main thing is getting kids to school and getting them interested in the lessons so they hopefully take something away at the end of the day,” she said.

And the kids certainly seem to be enjoying the lessons. Jelliane, nine, said: “We like maam Emily because she speaks waray waray. She teaches us lots of things. I really liked making masks and drawing our hands.”

All volunteers are given basic lessons in the local language waray waray during their placement by VFV staff.

Emily marks a student's work

Sir Harold said: “The teachers are a great help for us. Some of them are also very generous and conduct feeding programmes and give us school supplies. The work they do is very good for the school.”

To find out more about volunteering visit http://www.visayans.org/volunteer

*Written by volunteer Michelle Curran, journalist and editor from the UK

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