TEFL Experiences: Teaching English in Nepal

My name is Kay Allan. I did a TEFL course, last summer, before heading out to live in Nepal. Unfortunately, I could not afford to do the online course, which I think would be a great benefit. One day, should I be able to do so, I will. I was not sure whether I would use it or not, but, thought it a good idea, should I try to do something new. My reason for coming out here was to get married, as I was a nurse and had no local language, decided to have a change of career. Myself and my husband, deciding to set up our own business. In the meantime, so that I could start to meet people, I chose to go along to a local NGO and volunteer my services.

I worked for one month, as a voluntary English teacher. I did tell the NGO, that I had no experience, but that I was interested. I taught the pre-intermediate class. 12 young men who all work in the trekking business. It was very stressful to start with. I did have a local classroom assistant, who was excellent at pointing me in the right direction when I was faltering. After the first two days, I started to enjoy it though, honestly feel that I need more experience. The men I was teaching, were keen and did have reasonable English skills. I had to set my lesson plans on a daily basis, which was quite difficult. There are problems here with power cuts, lack of facilities etc. We had 1 vocabulary book and 1 grammar book, between 3 classes. Most days there was no electricity, which made photocopying lessons difficult. I had a whiteboard and 3 coloured pens. No outline of what I was expected to teach, so it was certainly challenging.

Having said all that, I did go on to thoroughly enjoy working with my class. They were fun, interested and keen. Although shy, after the initial shock of being asked to work in pairs or groups, which they had never done before, they really got into it. Many of them had never been to school, so had taught themselves, not only to speak, but they also tried reading and writing. As a class, they were very supportive of each other. In fact, one member of the class stated he could not read or write. His skills certainly being poor, but by the end of the month, he had overcome his shyness, to actually try writing on the whiteboard, never missing his turn. He would then get peer support with spelling and grammar. He was a delight to watch. He had been orphaned at a young age, came from a very poor mountain village, so having no formal education. His was not an unusual story, in fact, only 3 of my class having had any schooling at all. Homework was another issue, which could be frustrating, but, when I never gave them any, they asked for it! One student never did the homework given out, but every day came to class with a list of words from leaflets, or signboards, that he did not understand. Therefore providing a vocabulary list each day. It was difficult to play games with them, but they enjoyed “hangman”, “charades” and a couple of others. I am not sure how effective I was as a teacher, but I would certainly volunteer again. The next time is better prepared. I have also suggested that posters of flora and fauna, maps of the world and dictionaries be provided for each of the classes. I hope to provide some of these things myself, once I can afford it.

Each year the NGO does two 4 week sessions. Each class lasts for 2 and a half hours, 6 days a week. There are 3 classes, basic, pre-intermediate and intermediate. They are held in the winter and monsoon seasons. Outside the main tourist seasons. I and my husband, are setting up a trekking business and we will certainly, hold classes for our own staff. I will have a better understanding of what is required, which I can use to help us. I will also continue to volunteer, hopefully benefitting the students, who attend the NGO.

I hope this is of interest to you.

For more stories from former students, click here.

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