Teach Enrich Empower
Daniel Griffin - Teaching in Ethiopia
The decision to enroll on the TEFL Academy course has helped facilitate two of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I spent two months teaching in Addis Ababa, followed by two months in Xiaolan (a province 20 minutes south of Guangzhou).
A typical day of my time in Ethiopia would involve watching the kids line up to sing the Ethiopian National Anthem in the morning. I would then start my day by teaching KG songs such as Old Macdonald and how to play hangman. At lunch I was immediately surrounded by Grade 3 kids demanding a football. After attempting to organize a chaotic and competitive game of football, I would introduce a game such as the ‘drawing hat’ to Upper KG. Everyday offered something new but I would always end it by heading to a famous juice bar in Addis Ababa.
My next adventure took me to the very different country of China. I was made to feel very welcome by the staff at my school from day one. I was allocated the perfect school for me in Jiao Kou – founded 107 years ago it is the oldest school in Xiaolan. Being one of the most famous schools in the area, I felt responsible to uphold its high standards and reputation. This pressure however, was immediately alleviated when I discovered how humble and enthusiastic the students were. They were extremely interested in where I was from and would volunteer to speak and take part at every opportunity. The teachers at Jiao Kou would regularly introduce me to new and exciting Chinese cuisine and educate me on Chinese culture. The Dragon Boat festival in particular was a highlight, I learned about the commemorations of the poet Qu Yuan and fell in love with rice wrapped in bamboo leaves. I was made to feel like a celebrity at the school by the students who would form a human barricade outside the staff room so I wouldn’t leave.
“I was making a difference to the lives & happiness of the students…”
In addition to the public school, I also taught weekend classes. This really gave me an opportunity to make a meaningful difference to the English ability of a smaller group of children. Knowing I was making an actual difference to the lives and happiness of the students was a particularly rewarding experience which will stay with me forever.
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