How I Taught in Cambodia for Free & without a TEFL Certification
Kali Mason spent 3 months teaching English in Cambodia, she applied with Teaching English with Conversations With Foreigners (CWF) who placed here with Teaching with the CRDT (Cambodian Rural Development Team) charity in Kratie. No TEFL certification was required to join and there was no application fee, here she shares her experiences and you might want to apply too...
Before I started teaching abroad I was getting myself prepared doing training sessions for 2 weeks before leaving. The company I worked for didn’t mean you needed to have a TEFL/TESOL qualification, but I gained my TEFL course qualification before heading out. The school I worked for was called Conversations With Foreigners (CWF) which works with a charity in Kratie called CRDT (Cambodian Rural Development Team) which aims to rid Cambodia of “poverty and environmental degradation”.
As soon as you enter the sweltering heat of the Southeast Asian world you begin to wonder how you are going to survive; as a British person with red hair you can only think of the worst! However, what was waiting for me on the other side was far more interesting than I had ever anticipated. You are welcomed into a world full of deep fried tarantulas, cockroaches and locusts in amongst the partially normal and the impending smell of the dreaded durian, a common delicacy in Southeast Asia, then whisked away to numerous people offering you a tuk tuk ride all at once, or even a ride on a motorbike (or as they call it a moto). But not one person has given you a rude remark; they always smile or laugh at you in a good way and it definitely makes you feel good inside.
We took a visit to Kratie in the second week of our training, east of Phnom Penh that takes around five hours to reach by bus, where we seen the work that CRDT does with the money that CWF has raised through its teaching programmes. We also had an amazing opportunity to join a tour in Cambodia to see the dolphins that make noises incredibly similar to a whale’s!
The Teaching Experience
After the two weeks were over the nerves began to kick in as our first week of teaching was among us. There were 14 of us quaking in our boots of all ages and nationalities, from New Zealand, to Ireland and USA! We made lasting friendships that I’m sure will not be like any other friendship I have made. We managed to get to know each other really well over the last two weeks of training and having fun together varying from clubbing in the grand Cambodian capital to screaming at rats scurrying into our home when we left our door open by accident one time!
After a few days of getting to know your students the real teaching begins. I was given students of levels 1 and 2, meaning they only had the bare basics of English speaking knowledge. This meant I had to speak slow, loud and clear at all times, as well as making every class animated and as fun as possible. This was no problem for me as I’m relatively hyper 90% of the time, but the 5am wake-up call was daunting. Still, you get used to it, and you have plenty of time to catch up with your sleep during the day.
I had a lot of free time during the day so I would go and explore Phnom Penh, go to the gym and/or the swimming pool or feel more extravagant and have a massage or get my nails painted! My students were as good as gold with a huge determination to learn and join in with all of my activities which made me feel like I could definitely teach English in this type of environment again. Varying from ages 16 – 63 in my classes I had to cater for all of my students and I believed I delivered. Teaching English in Cambodia for 3 months flew by, but it was the greatest experience I have ever had in terms of teaching.
By Kali Mason