Reflection of Nepal placement opportunity

Reflection of Nepal placement opportunity

In getting chosen for the opportunity to teach English in a Nepalese school I felt extremely lucky, upon return I felt luckier still. The opportunity I was given was the best possible professional experience I could be granted, it was challenging but it also made me aware of all aspects involved in a schools functioning, as well as the aspects of teaching in great detail. To have the chance to be immersed in another culture and country on top of everything else is icing on top of an already awesome cake!

I justify my belief that this experience was the best professional experience possible by acknowledging the fact that we, the group of pre-service teachers, went into this trip with very little knowledge of what to expect and how we would be received. Furthermore what few expectations we did have were proven incorrect in very little time! We had false assumptions about the ages of the students we were to teach, that the Nepali teachers would begrudge us and be extremely cautious of letting us control their classrooms, the students level of achievement and learning, were among some of our expectations. However these incorrect assumptions were, I found, actually of benefit to me as it made me assess for myself the capabilities of my students, something that is always done for you by the time you enter an Australian classroom for your placement. I also had to break down my lessons and know exactly why I was doing something, the benefits of that and how it would work. Never had it felt so important to assess the achievements of the students I was teaching because in seeing the lives of the Nepali people and the jobs on offer to them, as well as the state the school is in, I knew my students needed the absolute best chance to succeed and learn. In my experience there isn’t quite the same urgency in Australian schools.

 

Erin Schultz

 

I think the greatest shock of the experience came in the form of the teacher’s behavior – they were so willing to hand over the reins of their classrooms, their productivity and their teaching methods. We expected resistance but we received the polar opposite. On my first day I taught half a day of classes without any supervision because teachers didn’t turn up to their classes. I wasn’t completely prepare for this but I would also say it was one of my greatest successes with the students because they were so engaged, enthusiastic and attentive. After this I felt ten feet tall and invincible, better still I thought to myself ‘I am in the right place!’

My observation of the Nepali culture is that they share an amazing sense of community and family that would be envied by many Australians, however it is impossible to look past the signs underdevelopment. Nepal itself was a contrast, between the unimaginable and indescribable beauty of the landscape and picturesque mountains. I was inspired by this country, by its people and my students, by the experience I had. I am beyond grateful from both personal and professional standing points for the opportunity I was given. What have gained and learnt is immeasurable and any account I give of my experience will not do it justice.

 

Erin Schulz

 

Erin Schultz

 

Erin was part of a group of six pre-service teaching students from RMIT University’s School of Education that spend three-weeks at Logged On’s project site at the Shree Bhumeshwor Lower Secondary School (Astam, Nepal) in December 2013.