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Volunteers' Stories




Teaching Children in Schools in Malaysia


I am gaining teaching experience and also the experience of having to make new Malaysian friends fast. The best way to do this is to be confident and pro-active, sometimes this is out of your comfort zone. Another thing is being confident to ask questions - if you don't ask you'll never know!

Living with a Malaysian family is quite intense and sometimes I feel a little guilty they are going out of their way to make things perfect for me, I'm pretty laid back so sometimes this can be too much; it has taken a while to really convince my family I'll just do as they do...not sure I'm all the way there yet, I consider washing my own plate a personal victory!!

The best thing is working with the kids. In the primary school they are so smiley and happy to try and converse in English without inhibitions. The extra tuition at the secondary school has been rewarding as I made progress in eventually getting the shy ones to some out of their shells.

This placement would suit someone outgoing, confident, comfortable with their own company, open to new foods, happy to get involved with everything that's offered, open minded, don't have any preconceptions, even if you get into a comfortable routine things are liable to change without warning! Willing to get involved in church activities regardless of faith.

Can you describe a typical day?

Get up around 6:15am, it seems to take my family a lot longer to get ready than me! Eat breakfast prepared by host mother around 6:45, then head to school for 7am.

Normally I'll have 2-3 hours lessons a day, normally the teachers gives you relevant material but I would say always plan extra as there is a lot of disparity between the fastest and slowest. The rest of the time sit in the staff room either marking or reading. Get picked up at 1:30pm, often all the other teachers have gone home by now so patience and good book are pretty essential.

Have lunch around 2pm then head to the secondary school for 2:30pm. Teach for an hour then find the head teachers or wait for here, sometimes chat to students but often they have places to be so the book comes out again. Head home at 4:30pm and relish sitting down and cooling off.

Evening activities range from TV, jogging, badminton, choir practice or on Wednesdays mid week worship at the church. Normally we have a light dinner, a bread roll or cake etc, having had larger meals at breakfast and lunch. Sometimes I play badminton very tired and very hungry but you get used to it. I head to bed quite early maybe half nine to have some me time and write my journal. They are not ones for telling me plans well in advance so sometime badminton is sprung on me after I have showered...you just have to take it in your stride and enjoy every opportunity you're given!

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