Forward-thinking, status-quo defying world-changers – that’s what Sunrise Cambodia teachers are made of this World Teacher’s Day (and every other day of the year!).
“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela.
We may overuse this quote (ok, we’ve used it to DEATH), but there’s a reason we do: It’s what gets Sunrise Cambodia teachers up and changing the world every single morning.
The Sunrise education team are forward-thinking, status-quo defying world-changers who are taking teaching in Cambodia up a notch (or 20). This World Teacher’s Day, we’re celebrating 7 amazing things that Sunrise teachers are doing to turn education on its head and build the future of Cambodia.
Learning from the best
When it comes to implementing a curriculum for Sunrise schools, Sunrise teachers look straight to the best in the biz: Singapore.
Remember when the whole world was stumped over the date of Cheryl’s birthday? That tricky math puzzle came from a Singapore high school and is a perfect example of why Singaporean students consistently lead the world in math and problem solving. Sunrise teachers have adopted Singapore’s math curriculum for their own students. It focuses on mastering equations and practical problem solving rather than rote learning – and the children are thriving. This kind of enquiry-based learning is everywhere at Sunrise. Classes at every level have a huge emphasis on drawing, creating, touching and solving real-life problems. These skills will give Sunrise kids a massive jump-start, particular as the STEM industries grows in Cambodia.
Widening their reach
Sunrise kids are ahead of the game thanks to the education team, but the whole country would benefit if every single child in Cambodia had this kind of education. That’s why our teachers are taking things further by partnering up with local public schools to reach more and more young minds. Kids at local partner schools such as Iroha and Kampong Speu get the benefit of a Sunrise education without having to change schools or pay more money. They get extra English classes, Khmer classes, computer classes and a world-class sports program to keep them engaged and learning from the second the walk through the gate to well into the day. That’s thousands of extra kids getting the education they need and deserve.
Fighting for gender equality
Keeping girls in school is the best economic decision a developing country can make. With an education she will make money and pay it on to her family, community, and country. An educated girl will grow up to be an amazing woman who knows her rights, and knows her potential. Sadly, in Cambodia, many girls are pulled out of school early to look after younger siblings, get a low-paying job, or even to get married.
Sunrise teachers are fighting the good fight to find all the reasons girls stop coming to school – and fixing them. It might be as simple as building a bathroom just for them so they feel comfortable every day, like at Kampong Speu. More often than not, it involves workshops and mentorships with the local communities to teach parents the long-term importance of keeping their daughters in school and to teach the girls family planning, independence and their right to live up to their potential.
Staying ahead of the game
Sunrise embrace computers, tablets and tech like nothing you’ve ever seen. Whether it’s researching, writing, or playing games, Sunrise teachers are tech first. The only drawback is the lack of resources – It makes it a bit hard to learn when you’re typing on these dinosaurs, but we’re confident that the fundraising team in Sydney will find a donor company who can provide us with a few dozen modern computers sometime soon! (If you have any leads on this, please let us know by emailing email@example.com).
Taking English to the next level
If Sunrise kids want to go on to university or work in the tourism industry, mastering English is a must. Grappling with English from Sunrise teachers isn’t about reading words off a blackboard – it’s about fun, playing, thriving and taking in functional English in every aspect of their learning. Education manager, Sopphouen Puttra describes it best when he talks about the changes in the students over the last year or so:
“Before we began this program I would approach a child and ask them what their dream is. They couldn’t answer, all the could say is “hello”, “goodbye”, “how are you?”. Now, they tell us they want to be a doctor, a scientist, a teacher. They say it in full sentences and with big smiles on their faces.”
Opening doors to big futures
Teaching a child the skills they need to get through 13 years of school is one thing, but instilling them with the independence and drive it takes to make it in life after school could well be the best thing Sunrise teachers do.
Every year, Sunrise teachers are blown away by the way their students are grabbing life with both hands and going for it. Panha was a total star in school. When he graduated, he took the initiative to apply for a scholarship to study abroad – and got it! The whole family turned up to wave Panha off when he headed off to begin a year abroad in Israel.
The most incredible thing about Sunrise Cambodia teachers is that they never stop learning. They never say “that’s as good as we can do.” In fact, their motto is, “We are different, we are better” and they sure stick to that! The education team at Sunrise are always looking for ways to teach better, stronger, smarter. That’s the best thing a teacher can do – never stop being a student.
On International Day of the Teacher, we want to say a big, fat, “ORKUN” to every single Sunrise teacher – you are changing the world!
Want to help out the Sunrise teachers? Make a donation here and fund education.