From the corporate boardroom to teaching with KG

By Paul Currigan 4 years ago
Categories Phang Nga

Paul joins us as a two week volunteer on the teaching children program all the way from sunny England.  Paul has taken a break from his high pressured corporate job to volunteer and travel around South East Asia.  During his time on the program he has taught children aged from KG to middle school. Definitely a change from the corporate setting!

Having taken some much needed unpaid leave from my high pressure corporate job it seemed apt that my first job should be to sing ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ to a group of 5-year olds. We were teaching body parts to a handful of Kindergarten children and the song proved a good method of distracting them from clambering over each other and generally bickering. They came for the ride as I added more and more pace to the routine and they struggled to keep up. Later however, the Hokey Pokey seemed to baffle them and they watched motionless. A few seconds in, after I’d put my right arm in and shaken it all about, I knew it was going to be a solo performance and there are photos to prove it.

But these were just brief exercises to keep the children entertained. By the end of the class they could recognise, say and point to around 12 body parts. Everyone’s favourite as Bell who is so smart he practically acts as interpreter between us and the other children. He did go off topic towards the end and pursue his favourite hobby of drawing Angry Birds but we could overlook that.

Some (including me) wondered whether kindergarten is too young to start these children learning English. However, once you begin to teach the older children in the school you can see that they would have benefited from earlier exposure. GVI has been in Ban Nam Khem for under a year and it will take a while until we create a major shift in English standards. At the moment there is not a wide difference between the 4 year olds and the 15 year olds when it comes to speaking. But I’m confident that Bell and many of his friends will have a much better grasp of English than his elders currently do and that they will benefit immensely from this in their later life.


Paul Currigan – Teaching Children Project Volunteer