TEFL Success Stories – Part 50

Lynda – Cambodia

I arrived in Siem Reap three weeks ago with the temperature during the day reaching too close to a humid 40°C for comfort. I, along with all the other volunteers here, thought I would be assisting local teachers and monks to teach English to orphans and vulnerable children.

In reality, there are no local teachers or monks, and the volunteers (some of whom have no previous teaching experience) are the teachers. Classrooms are very basic – some in bamboo huts with no electricity, some without basic desks or benches to sit on. To maximize the number of children who have access to English lessons, 40–60 minute sessions are repeated several times a day, Monday to Friday. The routine is interrupted occasionally by tropical rain storms which flood the mud roads and make it impossible for some of the children to travel from surrounding villages to reach class. The resources available are white boards, exercise books and pencils.


Study a TEFL course with TEFL Zorritos in Peru, South America and travel the world, live abroad and enrich people’s lives by teaching them English. A TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Certificate is an internationally accredited and accepted qualification to teach English to people from non-English speaking countries. More questions? Head to our What is TEFL? page


Much is left to the initiative of the volunteers, and several of my colleagues have been involved in delousing sessions and transporting children to the opticians, as it doesn’t take any teacher training to recognize when a child can’t see the board! The eye tests, the spectacles when required and transport via a tuk-tuk (a two-wheeled carriage attached to a motorbike) were paid for by volunteers. It’s difficult to even attempt to describe the enthusiasm and determination these children have to study even though they live in such poverty. The broad smiles of absolute delight when lessons begin would be alien to the majority of harassed teachers in the tougher schools back home.


Our TEFL Certificate course is held at the gorgeous Sunset Club in Zorritos. Sunset Club is a private club and hotel where you will study surrounded by palm trees and overlooking their stunning private beach. Our training site is located within metres of the ocean which provides a lovely breeze and a breathtaking view. The club has various swimming pools, bars, a restaurant, tennis courts, a soccer pitch and a playground.

Included in your TEFL course fee is lunch daily at Sunset Club for the duration of the course, as well as a private taxi twice daily from your accommodation to the club, as it is located approximately 15 minutes from the centre of Zorritos. You can also choose to stay at the club for the duration of course, which we offer in our Course Packages.


As volunteers, we could choose to plod along and work with the disorganization in which we find ourselves. However the children do not deserve anything less than our best and many of the volunteers, who are only here for two weeks, would benefit from a much more structured approach to lesson planning. The standard of the volunteers is very high and there is no lack of enthusiasm but when one person moves on, no official handover takes place with the new person coming in. The result is that the children are either being taught the same thing over and over again or there is a huge gap in the level of English taught from one volunteer to the next. Also the local teachers who should be learning how to teach English alongside the volunteers, are feeling isolated because of the lack of continuity.

As part of my contribution while I am here I have decided to put together teaching folders with lesson plans and resource references which will be available for the local teachers and the volunteers to use. Each class has five English language lessons per week. In primary school, this is 40–50 minutes per lesson and in secondary school (to 16 years old) it’s 60 minutes.

I would welcome suggestions for any websites or books which could speed up the production of this resource. Although the book shop in Bangkok is very good, many of the books have the CDs missing. This type of resource would be of enormous benefit to Khmer teachers who are learning the language while teaching it. Any suggestions for how to access audio teaching materials without me having to spend the whole of my savings at the start of my trip would also be appreciated.


TEFL Zorritos: What could be better?  Study in a beautiful Peruvian beach town at our beach-front outdoor training centre with great accommodations available, including delicious local food.  Fully accredited 120 Hour TEFL course with a practical approach that provides you with 10 advanced certifications at absolutely no extra cost!  And guaranteed job waiting for you when you complete the course.

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