Not just a teacher

By Jayshri Patel
“I won’t let them leave class until they finish their bottles of water,” said Claire, a young Australian teacher at Chres Village School and Orphanage (Chres) just five miles outside of Siem Reap. A handful of students groan and laugh at each other in the classroom behind her.
Three weeks ago,  Claire reacted to her students’ complaints of headaches and tiredness by mandating that each student drinks a full bottle of water during class. She realized that several of them were dehydrated when they confessed to drinking less than two cups of water a day.
But even after lessons on dehydration, a young and defiant boy runs out of class after pouring his water into a nearby plant pot.Claire shakes her head and smiles at me as I wait for her reaction.
“They know why to drink the water,” she explains, “they’re just lazy!”
Volunteering as a teacher, it seems Claire plays two roles. Primarily, she teaches the highest level of English offered at the school, and then she teaches her students whatever they need to know in life, much like a parent.

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