A large portion of the population in Nepal lives below the poverty line and there is widespread unemployment. With great trekking and adventure sports, there is a living to be made from the tourist industry, and so learning the English language is one way in which people can improve their chances of building better futures by securing a good job.
Dedicating your time, energy, and skills as a volunteer teacher in Nepal is a great way to spend your gap year, career break, or extended vacation. You can gain valuable work experience without any previous teaching experience, and you are not required to have a TEFL or TESOL qualification. Your English speaking abilities and enthusiasm are all that is needed to make a difference in schools where there is a lack of conversational English language teaching.
The impact you have on your students will be obvious as they start to develop their language abilities, but you will also be part of a much larger network of volunteers, which is making a positive and ongoing contribution to the wider community.
Volunteering as a Teacher in Nepal
WIN NEPAL works with a variety of schools in Kathmandu,Chitwan, Pokhara, Bhaktapur and many other areas. You can choose between teaching in elementary schools, with children between the ages of 4 and 12, or in secondary schools with children from the ages of 13 to 18. The schools have very basic facilities and the main resources you will have in your classroom are a blackboard and a piece of chalk. Despite this, the enthusiasm of the children and the appreciation of your colleagues are sure to make volunteer teaching in Nepal a highly rewarding experience!
On average, a class has around 20-30 pupils, and a volunteer will normally be in charge of half a class (the other half being taken either by another volunteer or a local teacher). It may be the case that you are placed in charge of the whole class, so you need to be prepared for that challenge. Most of our Teaching placements require you to work between four to six hours per day from Monday to Friday.
The children will often have some English language skills but there is always lots of room for improvement. Your most important resource is yourself – your knowledge and your interests – so be sure to draw on them whenever possible. To do so will greatly enhance both your students’ and your own experience.
Local teachers are often very capable at providing their students with a good structural knowledge of English, including grammar and vocabulary, but having had little conversational English practice themselves, they often lack the confidence to get the children speaking English. Once you are able to break down this barrier, you are likely to find that students and teachers alike will be able to make rapid progress.
DID YOU KNOW?
For many years, school in Nepal consisted of home schooling or a ‘gurukula’, a residential school where pupils learned from a local Guru. A Guru is an expert or master in a certain field of knowledge.Although your main role will be to teach English, you will also teach additional subjects such as math, general hygiene practices, and life skills. Local staff will also be eager for you to organize extra-curricular activities such as art, drama, music, and sports. Participating in these activities will give your students a creative outlet, as well as helping to boost their self-esteem. Your skills and abilities in other areas will make you even more popular within the school, and you will be able to discuss organizing these activities with your supervisor when you arrive.
Volunteering at a Teaching Placement in Nepal with WIN NEPAL
In order to support our Teaching volunteers, the WIN-NEPAL Teaching Coordinator in Nepal organizes regular workshops for our volunteers. The workshops will provide you with tools and tips on how to best prepare for your work at your placement, including advice on planning lessons, information about the education system in Nepal, and suggestions for new activities and ideas that you may use in lessons at your placement. The workshops will also help you solve and discuss any issues or cultural differences you may be experiencing.
Most volunteers in Nepal stay with a local host family or hostel, and those volunteering on a Teaching project are likely to find themselves living close to the school they teach at, possibly even with a teacher or the school principal. Living in such a close-knit community will allow you to learn a great deal about typical Nepali life and will greatly enhance your experience of the country. You will rapidly feel like an integrated part of the local community, although you are sure to stand out from the crowd and may find yourself treated as something of a local celebrity.
You can join the Teaching Project in Nepal for two or three weeks if you don’t have time to join us for four weeks or more. This project has been selected by our local colleagues as being suitable for short term volunteering for both the host community and the volunteer. Although you will gain a valuable cultural insight and work intensely within the local community please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone volunteering for a longer period.