I got my first experience in teaching English just this morning when I went to Tu Xuong to meet my class of 8 students. Together with Danielle from the Netherlands, we taught them some vocabulary and phrases that can be used in conversations related to traveling. Some were advanced, while some students don't understand a thing that you're saying.
You need to have a heart for these kids if you really want them to learn. I think it shows when you just teach for the sake of getting the topics in their mind, as opposed to inspiring them to learn the language. It's teaching with the mind and heart. You need to have what the Jesuits usually refer to as cura personalis (care for the person) and probably loads of patience.
It especially helps when you know the background of these students because you can empathize with them.
I was talking to a local Vietnamese and she told me that some of these kids don't have parents, especially when I went to Anh Linh. Some of the children are so poor that their family can't afford to pay for school that's why they just send them to the orphanage to learn.
Well as you can see from the pictures, their orphanages are well equipped relative to the status of orphanages in the Philippines. But fancy classrooms and sleeping quarters does not numb them from the longing of love from their moms and dads.
I'd like to imagine that someday, these students will grow up to be good parents who will do their best to provide for their children - financially and emotionally. I hope they'll be adopted by a decent family, will have the opportunity to study in a prestigious school and work for a job that they really love.
Even though they were very naughty earlier (someone even brought a fake knife), I have many aspirations for them, as early as now. I saw this sign "Believe in yourself, anything is possible" hanging in their classroom and I trust that it will be the case when they go out of the safety of their orphanages.
I hope I can give more than my teaching skills, but right now, maybe the best thing that I can be is a brother to them who can make them believe that it's possible to learn English and it's possible to reach for their dreams!