Fellow Reflection: Empowered to Help Shape the Future

Meet Sovannarith Horn, a Teach For Cambodia Fellow teaching grade 10 math at Russey Keo High School in Phnom Penh. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics. Sovannarith shares what he’s learning so far from the Fellowship and how his past experience has empowered his choice to work in education today.

Why Teach For Cambodia?

I joined Teach For Cambodia because I was looking for the opportunity to develop my personal leadership. During TFC’s intensive training, I gained necessary teaching skills and developed a mindset of taking action to create change. From teaching in a public school and the master’s program at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, I am starting to understand the root causes of problems better, and it has challenged and motivated me to help solve those problems in the classroom as well as in the community.  

Why do you want to work in education?

My early childhood education was painful due to dyslexia. I had to repeat the first and second grade, which took me five years longer. But the disorder was not the only reason, it was also the fear I had of my teachers. They still practiced physical punishments in the classroom, thus creating a discouraging learning environment. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to study with a great teacher who changed my life. From this experience alone, I believe that teachers have a long-lasting effect on students’ lives; teachers are leaders in classrooms who can empower and shape our children’s future.

What have you learned so far from being in the Fellowship?

According to the Ministry of Education’s reports, well-trained teachers are highly sought after. The lack of qualified teachers, support and engagement are among the major issues that set back Cambodian children. It makes me reflect on my role as a teacher now and what my role will be after the Fellowship. As a Teach For Cambodia Fellow, I get to be part of the solution and I have the opportunity to combat those issues and make positive impacts on students directly.

My commitment to the Fellowship program is a commitment to my own personal transformation and taking collective action with others to address this complex challenge of educational inequity. Together with other ambitious Fellows who deeply care and work hard to fight for this vision, I believe that we can gradually change the lives of all children.