Cambodia is beautiful, and different from what I expected. Liger Learning Center is about thirty minutes away from the airport by car along roads filled with motos where the lanes are merely suggestions. The campus is a rectangle about 5 minutes by 10 minutes walking, with one main school building, a science building, four small houses for the kids, and a few apartments for foreign teachers.
My partner, Corey Salzer, and I are staying in a two bedroom apartment on the school’s campus. The architecture here is extremely open, so you never feel far from the outdoors, which is a necessity to keep air moving in temperatures that stay above 90 degrees for the entire year.
Corey’s and my class meets for two hours each weekday, and has 17 exceptional students. All 50 students at Liger were chosen for their intelligence and overall leadership abilities. They know that education is a privilege and that makes them the most motivated students I have ever met. They are curious and insightful, and their ability to stay focused is extraordinarily helpful to me as a new teacher. Over the first two classes we went over theory related to how computers make decisions, and then yesterday we gave the kids code for the first time. It was amazing to watch them explore the program and figure out which parts they needed to change. The students are unfazed by the unfamiliar and thrive when given problems they can dive into themselves rather than learning through structured directions.
After school, the kids each have a chosen activity – depending on the day, there are soccer, Frisbee, study hall, music, and video editing available to choose from. Yesterday, Corey and I tagged along on a special trip to the ice skating rink in the local mall. The rink is the first of its kind in the entire county, and many people crowd the rink just to watch the absurdity of such a strange and new activity. I am not a good skater in the US, but here I was one of a few people that had ever been skating before! We also had ice cream (a new treat from Korea) and dinner in the mall before returning to school.
This weekend we are looking forward to a bike trip with the students and going to their ultimate Frisbee tournament/clinic! We also plan to go into Phnom Penh to eat dinner.