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Supporting a Teacher's Dedication to Education

Ms. Phally in her classroom.
There is no doubt that Ms. Chhoeng Phally of Cambodia's Kamong Cham province is a dedicated teacher. Ms. Phally arrives at the local primary school before 7:00 AM to lead her sixth-grade students in outdoor exercises, cleaning the school grounds, and preparing for the flag salutation. She also brings educational toys and teaching aids for each lesson. In her 17 years of teaching, she knows how these objects encourage students' critical and creative thinking.

In addition to her teaching job, Ms. Phally is also a farmer, a wife, and a mother. She and her husband maintain a farm on their land that generates enough income to support their family. They have one child, a son, who is in second grade at the same school where she teaches. Ms. Phally's days are long and tiring, but she still finds time for professional development. "It's not easy being a teacher with many responsibilities and a low salary, but I have never been discouraged by these difficulties," she says. "I have to overcome all obstacles so that the children in my community can learn and thrive."

During her free time, Ms. Phally researches teaching methodology and strategies, in addition to preparing her regular lesson plans and teaching materials. Because of her dedication, Ms. Phally was selected to join a training conducted by World Education's Improved Basic Education project (IBEC). This foundational training gave her an understanding of child-friendly school concepts, specific teaching methodologies, basic pedagogy, child development psychology, learning styles, and child rights. She and her colleagues also learned how to use different student assessment tools to monitor individual student performance on a regular basis.

Ms. Phally's involvement with IBEC led her to receive recognition from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports as an outstanding teacher. Recently, she was invited by the NGO Education Partnership to speak at the World Teacher Day event in Phnom Penh. These honors are a testament to her outstanding performance as a teacher, her strong sense of responsibility, and her professional willingness to improve.

Despite her many accolades, Ms. Phally remains modest. "Working hard does not mean that I have fully succeeded," she says. "Sometimes my teaching strategies fail. But I'll keep going until I've done everything I can for my students."

It is because of this dedication that Ms. Phally now has more responsibilities than most teachers at her school. She is in charge of leading the student council, facilitating a child-to-child learning network, and teaching cooking as a life-skills class for girls. Ms. Phally believes that every effort she makes will be significant to Cambodian children and that when society is abundant with educated citizens, the nation will advance.