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The Gap Year Blog

When the Student Becomes the Teacher...

11 Nov 2019 17:05 PM

My time spent in Madagascar has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience as it was my first time travelling on my own and my first volunteer project.

I have never taught before in my life, and never thought I would until this day. As a student, my whole life I’ve ever been on the receiving end of education in the classroom. I always knew that being a teacher was a hard job, but I would have never seen myself in that position. Yet, thanks to coming here, I now understand all the hard work that goes into preparing a lesson and keeping the class interested, as well as just keeping order and structure!

This experience was unforgettable and extremely valuable to my personal development. Shaping, teaching and understanding children seemed daunting and too much of a responsibility for a seventeen-year-old like me, but I eventually became comfortable and gained confidence in standing at the front of the class with children eager to learn. I learned to speak slowly and to articulate myself clearly so that the children could understand what I was saying. Teaching children takes more patience than adults, but we managed to keep their attention.

One of the more difficult classes for me was Youth Club where students ranged in age from 15 to 25+. I found it harder because I could really feel how much these people wanted to learn and improve their English. Some of them travelled long distances and I felt more pressure because I didn’t have any teaching experience. I was younger than most of them and didn’t feel like I was in a position to teach them anything. I had to plan my lessons much more thoroughly, ensuring I was familiar with the subject myself before teaching it to others. I decided to start with topics that interested me because I would find it easier to make the lesson more engaging and dynamic. When I started to somewhat get the hang of it, I actually felt like I was teaching them new and exciting things - that really put a smile on my face.

Despite the challenges I faced, the outcome was definitely positive. I made friends with other volunteers and some of the locals, gained a valuable learning experience and got to see a part of the world that I have never seen before!

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By Emmanuelle Norre - Frontier Madagascar volunteer

Frontier runs terrestrial & marine conservationcommunityteaching and adventure projects in over 50 countries - join us and explore the world!