Read our regularly updated Featured Teacher page for information about the people that make The Giving Tree such a special place to be!
Teacher Alexis is both Head and Owls Teacher at our Main Branch and has been living in Cambodia for five years now. We caught up with her during her busy day to ask some important questions to learn more about her.
What is your favourite thing about being a teacher?
The children! They make me laugh, they make me cry, the impress me, they surprise me, they teach me, they challenge me, they give great hugs and they give me hope that the future will be in good hands.
When you're not teaching, what do you like to do? Tell us about something you are passionate about outside of your teaching job!
I love traveling. I try to visit a different place in Cambodia or another country every holiday.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
The power to heal for obvious reasons. Also, I majored in biology and had planned on a career in health sciences before settling in Phnom Penh.
If you had a pet pig, what would you name it?
Cleofatra. A childhood friend had named her pig that and it stuck with me.
What is your favourite children's book?
Corduroy by Don Freeman
Teacher Marie-Aude's favorite thing about being a teacher is witnessing the evolution of each child. She explains, “They are so dynamic and curious. Everything is new for them, every story is real.” Marie-Aude appreciates each child’s desire to be independent but still needing help and hugs. She says, “I love the fact that they can still be whatever they want to be.” This year Teacher Marie-Aude is studying for her early childhood Diploma to continue growing professionally.
When not teaching, her friends and family know her as a highly talented photographer. Marie-Aude. She tells us, “Traveling and taking portraits are my passion.” Marie-Aude started taking photos with her first camera at age 8. She especially likes black and white photography’s and has studied two years towards a photography certificate in France. She has been traveling and living abroad since 2010. Visit her blog at: http://map-phototrotter.blogsp...
Teacher Linda loves being a teacher and watching kids learn new things. She says, “I consider it a privilege to be part of their beautiful lives.” Linda’s students enjoy the benefits of her exceptional skills in early literacy, and they all excel at reading in her classroom.
When she’s not enjoying her students, Linda keeps busy with growing her very own mini-band! With a combination of Linda’s joy of singing, her husband’s guitar skills, and her two kids musical abilities. Linda’s love of music started when she was 7, when she started singing in church choirs. Now she directs her own musical entourage at home. No wonder her students learn and play in perfect harmony!
As Toka embarks on her third year of teaching with The Giving Tree, she tells us, “I love being a part of celebrating their successes.” She adds that the best thing about being a teacher is seeing students learn, seeing them “get it”.
The staff at The Giving Tree know that Toka is a team player, but can you guess where she learned some of the leadership and collaboration skills she is so well known for? Volleyball! She explains, “It’s a team sport; you really have to know your teammates. It is also a collective effort towards a common goal.” You’ll have to look hard to see her hitting a volleyball these days, since moving to Cambodia she’s only played with the university’s students during a sports day, but not competitively. However, we have no doubt that this former team captain can really smash a volleyball! Go Teacher Toka!
“Being a teacher ensures I continue to be a lifelong learner.” Teacher Wilna explains that everyday is a new day to learn and that she enjoys her daily encounters with students who push her to improve herself. Even with a degree in education and nearly 10 years teaching, Wilna says, "there are always moments of fulfillment when I see my student’s blossom and moments of happiness whenever I get their funny compliments."
Teacher Wilna does many other things when she’s not at The Giving Tree. Though she doesn’t have as much time as she used to, she loves to sew and has a real eye and appreciation for fashion. Collecting pictures of dresses and shoes for inspiration, she explains that her Grandmother helped to motivate this love in her. “I was raised by my grandmother and she loves sewing, cooking and gardening. She used to make us dresses and dolls and I would always sit and help us make our own. She is a very independent and versatile woman.” I guess we know where Teacher Wilna gets some of her talent!
Principal Heather has been in education over 12 years! She tells us, “My favorite part about working in a school community with teachers and students are the relationships built within that community. There is nothing more rewarding than watching a student blossom in a supportive and inclusive environment. I also love having a job where I laugh every single day!”
But Heather has a secret passion aside from the love she has for education. Heather is an enthusiastic springboard diver! She began diving competitively at 14, and spent 8 years diving in high school and university. She explains, “Through diving I also discovered my passion for coaching, which surpassed my love of competing.” Heather has been involved in the diving community for over 20 years now, and hopes to learn how to judge competitions in the future, as well as continue to coach young athletes.
Teacher Thel joins us this year with loads of experience in education. Her calm presence and friendly smile are just two of her outstanding attributes. She clearly loves kids and is a great addition to our team!
You might wonder how Teacher Thel stays so calm and collected with such a busy schedule full of lively little learners! When Thel was a student herself, she read a study about the stress-reducing effects of music. So, she picked up a guitar and began to make music! She reports, “It makes me feel relaxed when I’m singing and playing guitar.” What kind of music does she like? Country! You’ll have to ask her yourself to find out her favorite song!
Our gentle and soft-spoken Baby Bunnies teacher, Makara is such a natural fit for our littlest community members. Her years of experience in education along with her natural ability to nurture and love little fingers and small sweet cheeks is such a gift!
But her loving nature extends beyond the gates of our nursery branch on street 370. Makara loves to design and create her own clothing! Learning from her own mother, she specializes in girls dresses. Next time you see her, ask her about her latest creation!
Teacher Jennifer explains her passion for teaching by saying, “I love the chance to make learning fun for students!.” She goes on the brag about the supportive and creative school community at the Giving Tree, stating, “I love being a part of it!”
Jennifer’s desire to make learning fun extends into her own life and hobbies. She is a passionate writer, traveler and photographer, which she combines into her own very successful travel blog. She explains, “I've been actively running my blog for the past year and a half. It seemed like a natural progression from writing to friends and family about our travels to sharing more information with people eager to pursue a similar lifestyle” Teacher Jennifer also writes for other publications and websites. Check out her blog at: http://twocantravel.com/
Teacher Kim loves to make connections with students, and if you know her – it’s obvious that she does! She tells us “I love when my kids get so excited about the little things that happen to them either at home or at school. I hear all kinds of stories about their little lives, and it brightens mine!” She reports that it's a pleasure to be her students' guide as they explore and learn about themselves and about the world.
Teacher Kim’s smile is magic, and its no surprise when you see the twinkle in her eye, that she can bust a move on the dance floor! She explains that dance and music are a big part of her African Culture. Most of her childhood games were centered around dancing. “Dancing played a huge role in both informal social gatherings and formal ones such as weddings, dowry giving ceremonies etc.” Teacher Kim was also a proud member of the drama team at school and loved that most of the plays they performed had singing and dancing. So how does she make sure she doesn’t loose her groove? Teacher Kim joins a Zumba class once a week to make sure she can still shake it! Have you ever danced with Teacher Kim?