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Teach English in the Philippines

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A unique experience!

I first volunteered with Volunteer for the Visayans in 2005 in an orphanage for six months. As a side-project, I found myself teaching English and Mathematics in a rural primary school for a couple of months. Teaching in the Philippines is a unique experience and teaching in the countryside opens you up to the daily life, struggles and dreams of most kids in South-East Asia.

My school was located in a village named Cangumbang, about 40 minutes away from Tacloban. The teacher was handling two grades at the same time, with about twenty pupils per class, so volunteers were of great help to her and we were usually given an entire class to teach.

After taking a jeepney out of the city, every morning began for me with a 15 minute motorcycle ride in the middle of rice fields, which obviously was one of the many reasons why I liked this program so much. I could sometimes pick up some of my pupils on their way to school and have a chat with them. They came mostly by foot, sometimes walking for more than half an hour to go to class. To be honest, some of them ended up becoming regulars on my motorcycle (did you know that filipino motorcycles can carry up to two people and 4 kids all at once?)

Working with 6th-grade kids in a rural school is absolutely amazing. If you love kids, come volunteer as a teacher. What will you get? A full class of adorable little ones in uniform standing up to greet you and together repeating each word you say. An awesome classroom with real tiny kids benches and wood tables. You can even get yourself one of those sticks to point at the blackboard as you spell the words. During the day, the windows were open so I had the rice field landscape as a background at all times. Absolutely lovely.

I have to add, I had a very cool American volunteer with me the whole time. Every once in a while, he would bring boxes of pencils, rulers and notebooks along with us AND chocolates, and guess what, there would be enough to share. Just imagine how happy I was with all this.

If I shall be completely realistic, I would say that you cannot do a proper work if you are handling a class of twenty on your own. Having two volunteers allowed us to split the class into two groups, with one of us tutoring the kids with difficulties while the other one would go ahead with the lesson with the others.

I also learned that, unlike in our countries, most kids in the rural areas of the Philippines don’t get any homework support or time with their families after school. So it might be more effective for them if you can take some time before the end of the day to do it with them. You can always give extra exercises for the most motivated ones.

In rural areas, school can also be nothing more than an option for the parents, after their kids have helped out with a number of tasks at home. You may indeed have a number of your pupils regularly missing school. The best thing you can do is help them make up for the lost periods. You will probably realize that there is a difference in educational level between them. The most challenging part for me was essentially to design a teaching program that would benefit each of them, without leaving some behind or stopping others from learning more and making progress.

Teaching English in the Philippines can be a different adventure if you are volunteering in the city, with street kids or in a community center. However, no matter what you first came to do in the Philippines, there is always an opportunity to find candidates for school tutorials if the idea appeals to you. Filipino kids love learning, and they are not all given the same chances in terms of educational support. Volunteering with a local NGO can help you reach the most needy ones and give them the chance (and motivation) to get to the next level.

My tip for teaching in the Philippines:
- Teach something you like! And take time to talk with your pupils and put them first. Every kid needs self-confidence and you can be of great help with that. Take pictures, and keep their drawings.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    8

Sprucing up baranguy BLISS after Yolanda and teaching english to young learners

This was a vulnerable time for the residents of Leyte as many of them had just suffered through typhoon Yolanda. However, with the guidance of administration and other volunteers, we were able to undertake many tasks to help the community recover from the long-lasting effects. There was a neighborhood clean up, cooking at a local community center, clothing and book drives and teaching at a local primary school. This experience was the second time in Tacloban, and I would gladly go back and help wherever needed.