Fellow Reflection: Small Actions Everyday for A Big Change

Meet Dany Chhe, a Teach For Cambodia Fellow teaching Khmer Literature at Toul Prasat Sen Sok High School. She is a graduate of Royal University of Phnom Penh and majored in Khmer Literature. She shares her experience so far teaching and leading 80 grade 7 students every day.

What inspired you to become a Teach For Cambodia Fellow?

The first time I visited Teach For Cambodia’s website, I was touched by this eye-catching phrase, “One day, all children in Cambodia will have the opportunity to unleash their potential.” Then, I closed my eyes and imagined how much brighter their future and our country’s future could be if all children had equal opportunities to access an education that nourishes their innate talents.

Education inequity is an issue that I have thought a lot about since high school and since I was young, I have always enjoyed teaching and sharing knowledge with others. So, I decided to take action by becoming a TFC Fellow. The first day I walked into my class, I could see hope in my students’ eyes as they stared back at me. I hope they thought that they were going to have a good, professional teacher who could understand them from the bottom of her heart.

What keeps you motivated during the Fellowship?

I never get tired of seeing my students’ faces; they are my daily inspiration. Equipped with different activities in my classrooms, including teamwork, class presentations, storytelling, and acting out Khmer literature stories, the class participation definitely has improved! I want my students to not just learn from the textbooks, but also to be up to date on current knowledge and learn relevant skills for their future.

Day by day, I can see small changes in my students. It is a sign that I have a real opportunity to make an impact on their future. When I first met Bora, he was a shy student and not engaged in class. He always came in late and never raised his hand to ask questions. However, he gradually became more comfortable sharing his story after I approached him and shared my story with him. It brought us closer. He told me all about his concerns and we looked for solutions together. When I asked Bora for an answer in class, he was nervous, but I was confident that he was capable of answering it. In this particular situation, I encouraged him to speak up and not be afraid to make mistakes. I was excited to see his classmates always clapping their hands when Bora raised his hand for an answer. Knowing he had support from me and his friends made him feel even more comfortable. After experiencing this small change, I am content to teach my students every day knowing that small actions matter.

What have you gained from the Fellowship so far?

I have gained many experiences from Teach For Cambodia that have boosted my self-esteem and makes me no longer afraid to try new things. I have improved skills related to teaching, but also to my personal learning and development such as the ability to reflect. I am also enrolled in the Master of Education at RUPP through TFC which supports my future career. The Fellowship is a promising opportunity for anyone looking to make an impact.