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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - A day in the life of a private kindergarten teacher

A day in the life of a private kindergarten teacher

Do you have little kids at home? Do you ever get even a little annoyed at them? If so, imagine having to deal with  50 small children every day!

This is just part of the job for Men Ponleu, 25, who has been working as a pre-school teacher at Sovannaphumi School and Newtown Thilay School for more than  six  years.

“Kids are innocent and cute,” Ponleu says, “but being their teacher is not such an easy task.”

Ponleu has to work seven hours a day, most of which she spends speaking, lecturing and reprimanding.  Her classes go from morning till evening, and Ponleu says she used to get a serious sore throat for days at a time.

Despite this, she said in an interview that she loved her work and had never thought of giving it up.  

“Even though the kids never sit still and the job made me tired every day and sick from time to time, it has become part of my life,” Ponleu says.

“Sometimes I feel bored when I have a long break over New Year or the Pchom Ben ceremony because I miss my tiny students so much.”

Ponleu also says: “Working in this field my was father’s wish for me. He always wanted one of his children to become a teacher.”

From Ponleu’s point of view, the job provides a lot of pressure and many challenges.  None the less, she is obliged to be very patient, caring, and creative.

For instance, students will often make a noise in class, so she has to use all her energy and creativity to keep them engaged   in what she is teaching.

Sometimes she will create a funny rule, like when a child is being noisy they have put a hand on their shoulder and close their mouth.  But those techniques are usually effective for only five  to 10 minutes.

Moreover, most of the kids love to play and run around as fast as they can.  Accidents are bound to happen, but they’re usually not  serious.  Still, Ponleu must take responsibility for the children and sometimes deal with complaints from their parents.

Care and patience are necessary to smooth over the challenges of her profession.

Since my experience volunteering as a temporary kindergarten teacher in Sweden, a northern   European country, I’ve understood how difficult, but how rewarding, being a teacher can be.

From my observations, it seems the pre-schoool education system in our country is getting better and better, as all teachers are trained in theory and practice    before being allowed to teach.

Also, students increasingly have all the necessary school supplies and foreign teachers are brought in to teach pre-school kids.

Ponleu concluded with a smile, saying: “I strongly believe our country will develop more and more because of the emphasis on educating young children like my students.  And I keep doing my part to help that process along.”



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