The Curtain but not The End

July 11

Let’s do some maths. Over two weeks, six Aussie teachers work with fifty Khmer teachers. The work of each Aussie teacher has the impact of reaching around 350 students. At minimum, it would take twelve years to reach this many students in their own classrooms. These six teachers, through giving just two weeks of their time will potentially change the educational experience of over 6000 children in the next three years. Powerful giving, amazing outcome.


Last teaching sessions today. The final matinee, the curtain falls and then the bows. Once again I saw a couple of great lessons by teachers who have everything necessary to be excellent practitioners. Energy, love for the job, enjoyment in what they’re doing and an excellent collegial spirit. Bows and applause well deserved. Great way to finish the week.


My personal highlight came at the very end. I got to teach the class! We did a lesson of a simple origami puppet that I have been making since I was in Year 4 in 1973. It was taught to me by Greg Ferrington who was in my class at the time. Hopefully he will google himself one day and this blog will come up. He might get a thrill to know his design is now available internationally! We did the lesson without Reasmey’s superb translation too. He actually does not even needs words himself – he is so highly expressive that language is redundant! So we did it in mime. Attentive students and only the murmur of occasional comments to one another. You can see some of the results.



Lots of photos at the graduation ceremony. The showbiz analogy holds: all of the teachers are like film stars at a red carpet event.


Working here has been to revisit the essentials of being a teacher. In Australia and indeed in all of the “developed” world we see pedagogy though interrelationships so fine and intricate that they are a kind of fog. Here the view to the essentials of education is without obfuscation. Hard working individuals engaging students with the simplest of resources and an abundance of aspiration.

When teachers look out at the children seated at their desks, every teacher is looking at the same thing. At that moment, chalk or marker or smart pen in hand, there is no difference between Cambodia, Australia or anywhere else in the world. The view is the same. At that moment we all see beyond borders and are looking into the future.



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