Thursday, September 12, 2013

Where to after Bhutan?

As the end of the year nears,  BCF colleagues are making the decision whether to stay on for another year in their community. I'm so happy for friends who are able to make this decision and look forward to keep in touch with them next year to see how they can go deeper in their schools and community. There's no doubt that making the commitment to stay means they can make a bigger impact in their schools.  For those who are leaving, there is definitely a feeling of 'Where does one go after Bhutan?' - the opportunity to live and work here is truly unique and the path beyond Bhutan for some is onto more exotic and extreme locations around the world.

For us as a family it was unlikely to ever be an option to stay on beyond our year - we have taken one year's leave from work at home, so we're lucky to be returning to our same jobs and picking up our lives where we left them a year ago. Recently I was offerred an opportunity to stay on in Bhutan in a different role in a progressive private school in Thimphu that liked the look of the modern ideas I am bringing to the Bhutanese classroom. If I was young and single I would jump at that opportunity to live another experience of Bhutan. When I merely mentioned the idea to Xavier though he burst into tears as he misses his Australian family so much - and as a family unit we have to work together to meet everyone's needs.

Of course I too am missing home and look forward to Australian life again - all that that entails - our life in the sun by the beach is home. Our friends and family and all the little celebrations of life are home. My work and Bob's too is our community and I look forward to a steep learning curve getting back into it again.

But a year in Bhutan certainly changes you, and I feel murmurings inside of new directions for the future. Before I came here I felt that all my life experiences added up to qualifying me perfectly for my job in Bhutan and as its turned out, I feel that was the case in most respects. Somewhere along the line I could have better developed  the abilities needed to work in such a different professional environment as it hasn't always been easy, but perhaps I could only develop those skills by jumping in the fire here!
Now with all I've learned here I am starting to think about 'What Next?'

I have developed a real passion for teaching English and in particular reading. You may have noticed this from some of my posts. I honestly do tear up nearly everyday when I see my students read and speak and write in English that is improving day by day. I'm contemplating future career paths that will allow me to experience this joy again.

I'm heading towards applying to do a Masters in Education (part-time while still working and being a mum!). I notice that there are courses in Literacy as well as Teaching English as a Second language and I'm sure that all I've learned here will be relevant and I'll be keen to explore the most up to date research in these fields, and perhaps even do some research of my own.

Meanwhile recently I came across an organisation called Room to Read which is an international charity that works with communities in developing countries to provide libraries and importantly reading books in local languages written by local authors in the mother tongue of children. I read that they have noted a need for learn to read books for beginners, with simple and levelled introduction of new vocabulary. My heart started beating fast when I read all this, because these are ideas I've been having for the past few months and feel a real passion in my heart for.

It turns out that Room to Read has many career options available and I think I can see myself in years to come heading in that direction - and I'm sure there are other organisations with a similar focus. Who knows what the future holds, but I am someone who thrives on new ideas, new passions and this is what is getting me going right now. Stay tuned!

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