In Early March Faye Finished her Placement at the BBBB Programme

Building Bridges Beyond Borders (Malaysia), Volunteers' Stories 14 Apr 2020

She thought it could be useful for new volunteers if she described the average day at the refugee school……..

A typical day teaching at the Myanmar Refugee School

Every day of teaching is different and will come with its own set of challenges but also the moments of excitement. Here is an example of what a typical day may look like…


The School day did not begin until 10am, however, I used thehour before to print resources and get my classrooms ready for the first lesson. During this time the children began to arrive to school and some even had breakfast there! At 9:30 the children were welcomed to a Devotion in which they prayed and sung songs. By the time class started the children were awake and energised!


For the first lesson, I taught Maths to Year 5, who were the oldest class in the school and the students ranged from 13-16 years old. They loved to be challenged and pushed during Maths. I set a quick warm up activity which recapped what was taught in their previouslesson, and would often be a game of bingo or a couple of questions on the board. On the board, I would demonstrate how to tackle questions in the topic such as algebra. We then moved onto the main activity which may be a worksheet to test their knowledge. Before you know it, the hour is up, and it is time for the second lesson of the day…


For the second lesson, I taught science to Year 4. An example of a topic we would cover in a lesson would be Solids, liquids and gases.  Year 4 were at the age (10-13 years old) were they loved to participate in activities rather than copying from the board. I would begin by telling them the learning objectives of the lesson and askthem if they know anything about the topic. I would then show them a video explaining the topic.  As a class we would then categorise different objects into the classifications- solids, liquids or gases. We would then conduct an experiment; identify the properties of the three states of matter by feeling different balloons; each balloon filled with ice, water or air. After a messy half an hour of playing around with the balloons, the students would then write up their findings. 


Now it is lunchtime! The students went for lunch at 12:00. The teachers would then go to lunch at 12:30 after the students had finished. For the first half of lunchtime, we would usually take this time to have a break, chat with the other teachers and relax. You could also use this time to catch up with printing or lesson planning. We would then go to lunch, which was always a feast! There was plenty of delicious food to dig into. You could add extra spice to your food or have none at all if you struggle with spice, like me! Each day the food is different, but you would normally be served rice with either a meat curry or soup. There may also be fried vegetables or egg.


After lunch, I taughtYear 3 maths. As Year 3 is much younger than Year 5, they are taught different topics in Maths. For example, when I taught long division to them, I would first go through their basic division skills and remind them of how they can use their times tables to help them. I would then write up a step by step of how to use the long division method. The students would ask me questions as they went and could copy the step by step guide into their book for future help. We would then complete division questions on the board as a class. To make sure they all understand and feel supported I would not ask them to complete questions independently.


This was the last lesson of the day, and I would have taught Geography to Year 4. To begin I would write up the learning objective onto the board and ensure that everyone in the class understood what we would be doing. I would then introduce the topic,for example Volcanoes. We would then brainstorm on the board what the students already knew about the topic. I would then hand out a worksheet which required them to fill in the blanks. These activities meant that they could have all the information in the books and learn without realising it! The next activity would be drawing and labelling a volcano! The students loved art and any activity in which they could draw. As a plenary activity, I would show videos and photographs of real volcanoes. Before the school day finished, the children tidied up the classroom.

After the school day finished, you had the whole evening to do anything you wanted. You could explore Kuala Lumpur, try a new restaurant, or get ahead of lesson planning!

(NOTE FROM EDITOR: On some days the volunteers only teach a few hours at the school and spend their afternoons at homes for local children.)

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Building Bridges Beyond Borders (BBBB)

A collaboration between Soroptimist International Damansara  and Just Volunteers! Sponsored by Yayasan Azman Hashim. MALAYSIA