If you are looking for somewhere to volunteer or a way to give back to the community, teaching at the Kachin Refugee school is a perfect way to do so. This school needs several teachers for a wide variety of subjects. Any help they can get would be greatly appreciated.
A couple of months ago I was talking with a friend and she mentioned she was going to start volunteering at a school for Myanmar refugees. I was intrigued because my brother had taught English in an orphanage in Thailand several summers ago and I’d wanted to do that while I was here in Malaysia, but had not had much luck searching the internet or asking around about orphanages. When Ginnie mentioned the refugee school and that they needed teachers, I jumped at the chance to learn more about the school and how I could help.
This school is called Kachin School Bukit Bintang. It is for children who are refugees from the violence in Myanmar. Many of these children have a strong desire to learn and want to know all you have to teach them. One of the girls I teach wants to be a doctor, another wants to be a scientist and the boy in one of my classes wants to be an engineer. These kids are smart and learn fast. They just need someone to guide them and help them to understand different subjects in English.
The school is mostly run by volunteers and teaches a wide range of school subjects that are important for the children to learn in order to attend higher-learning facilities in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. The kids need to learn math, science, social studies, and English. Textbooks for each subject are provided.
The refugee school is located inside the KL Baptist Church in Bukit Bintang. The physical address is:
70 Changkat Bukit Bintang
50200 Kuala Lumpur
If you take public transit, take the monorail to Bukit Bintang, walk around the corner by the police tent, pass Bukit Bintang Plaza and cross at the first street on your right. Walk down that street and at the first intersection the church will be on your right. It takes less than 5 minutes to walk from the monorail to the church.
Most of the classes take place on the second floor in a large meeting room.
Here is the 2013 schedule of classes for each subject and grade. This is when I taught with them. As far as I know, they are sticking to this, or a similar, schedule.
These children are in Malaysia as refugees and because of politics here in Malaysia, they do not have access to education. Without the help of volunteers willing to teach these classes, the refugee children will not have the education they need to succeed in improving their lives. Even if you only have time for one class, that one class will greatly benefit from the time you offer them.
If you wish to take advantage of this opportunity to help refugee children better themselves and be more prepared for their futures in foreign countries, you can email a school official HERE or go to the school and speak to a teacher.
The best option is to go to the school and speak with a teacher since they are all usually pretty busy because of the shortage of teachers, so emails do not get responded to very quickly.
If you are like me and teaching makes you nervous, do not worry. These classes are mostly very small. My first class has five students and my second class has four. The kids sit at a table facing a white board and you can either stand and teach or sit and teach. I alternate, depending on how I’ve set up the lesson for that day.
If you have classes back-to-back, all you do is just walk over to another table when your first class is over and there is your next class. The kids just stay together in their groups at whichever table they’ve been assigned and the teachers rotate. I think this is easier for the kids since teachers come on go fairly regularly.
Another benefit is that textbooks are provided for every subject. The teacher gets the same textbook as the students, so you can read along with them and have an easier time referencing teaching material. Since I’m no biology major, I find it very helpful that the answers are in the back of the book, so I don’t ever have to worry about giving the kids the wrong answer. If I’m unsure, I just pop to the back of the book and make sure the kids have the correct information. I also make worksheets for them from the information in the chapter to fill out in their own words as they read and then go over the answers together as a class to make sure everyone understands the correct answers. I have found this helps pinpoint which pieces of information the kids are understanding and which items need a bit more explaining.
One of the things I was worried about was that the kids would be like typical teenagers who don’t want to be there and don’t listen. These kids are anything but that. These kids are very polite, respectful and follow direction. I was super nervous when I first started, but I really enjoy teaching every week and how nice the kids are. The people who run the school and the kids are all so thankful to have people teaching the classes and they let you know on a regular basis how happy they are to have you. It has been a really great experience that I am very thankful to have had. I wish I was going to be here longer because I already feel sad about leaving, even though I’ll be here another 3-4 months. These kids are really great and you will be very glad that you took the time to teach them.