Goodbye Cambodia

Empty word document is staring at me and I don’t know what to write. I am going back to Turkey on 2nd of July 20:25 and I am full of emotions. However, it is hard to express it with my poor vocabulary. I wish we could upload our emotions but, unless someone really intelligent finds a solution (winks to himself) you are stuck with my poor English. I will leave the drama behind and talk about the good things that I remember. I will write it at once so don’t expect structure, grammar or any sense at all. Anyway here it goes…

These eight years were a great adventure for me. I have met wonderful students who are good both inside and outside. I have learned how to teach. I am sorry for my former students because in my first couple of months I had no idea what I was doing. Anyway I see that they don’t have permanent mental issues, it seems I was not that bad. I had a great time in high school. I was a homeroom teacher of 10B when I first came to Zaman International High School (ZIS). Students were respectful and kind. I felt being loved and respected in that classroom. We were wonderful. (I won’t tell how noisy and naughty we were. No sir, I won’t). We were champion in football and basketball tournaments. We had a record to give highest donation to solidary event. Oh boy, we were something. We had amazing trips. Especially our last KPS trip was so much fun. Of course we had some accidents too. I remember vividly how Sakal burned his hand for the sake of science. Notice for everybody, exploding a balloon full of hydrogen is not a good idea.

After 3 years, I was assigned as a homeroom teacher again. I guess compared to previous one I was better homeroom teacher. At least nobody burned his hand. I saw finest people bloom their personalities during my time with them. I remember the first time Davin released his music video, recorded in wait for it…, wait for it… in the bathroom. He rocked the music charts for a long time. No need to mention the countless love letters he received. I am kidding maybe countable love letters. Some students were so much fun. I had a hard time not to laugh most of the time in the classroom. Viseth and Vutthy were amazing. They were cracking the classroom every time they open their mouth. I remember the silliest dance they did. Every student in that classroom was amazing. I am not going to write all names otherwise this post will be much longer that it should be. Some people were funny, some of them were noisy, some of them were shy. And some of them (including me) were just weird. But this hectic chaos was just wonderful.

Besides my homeroom classes I had other students as well. I have seen such remarkable students. I was really amazed by the intelligence level. When I compared myself to those ones, I felt really dumb. I won’t name those guys/gals so that they can’t brag about it. I am kind a hard on the outside but soft inside. I am like M&M 🙂 I am sorry if you were intimidated by my hard thick walls. This kind of walls helped to have good laugh in couple of occasions too. Let me tell you two examples.
I am big fan of Fenerbahce, local football team in Turkey. The day after we lost a match, some girls made fun of my team. End of the world! Apocalypse! What did I do? I did what a responsible, wonderful, amazing teacher will do. I gave them a quiz or homework every week. I guess I had so much enemies at that time. I am sure if some students hate me from that class, it is because of this. Sorry girls, Fenerbahce is no man’s land.

Another time I caught students cheating in my exam. Some of them cheated so naively. They copied all grammar mistakes, punctuations even the font size and style. I guess no photocopy machine can do that with our current technology. I again worn my serious face mask and I asked them to write a letter and confess what they did. If they don’t, they would fail. O M G! O M G indeed. They were so afraid. They were running like a chicken. Hilarious part was, they even copied each other when they were writing that letter.

I had so much fun during the exams. I always had one tricky question at the end of exam. My first question was “How many stairs are there from ground floor to your classroom?” Next exam, everybody was counting the windows. Some of the students solved most of the bonus questions. There were some boys and girls who didn’t miss a single bonus question. Mad props to those students. I pranked my students during their presentation. I even played Gangnam Style song during exam in the whole school. Nobody noticed it but it is another story that you can read from here. Another time one boy class was testing my patience, whenever I ask “How are you?” All of them were saying “Not fine!” I warned them couple of time, but still they were “Not Fine!” I prepared different exam papers for every student. I even put their picture on the first page and printed with color. I arranged the hardness of questions according to how “naughty” they were. They couldn’t cheat and most of them failed from this exam. But they became “fine” after that. We didn’t have any hard feeling against each other. They still remember their special exam 🙂

Not all exams were funny. Some of them were heartbreaking and full of sorrow. I gave one special exam as a final exam. I wrote something emotional and asked them to write whatever they feel. In my class, only couple of students cried. Other classes? They cried like babies. Especially 12A. I never saw boys crying like that before. Most of the students cried their heart out and wrote whatever they felt. That exam was something very special for me. I have learned how much I was being loved and the mistakes that I made. Those papers were pure innocence and emotions. That is why I still keep them and will keep them. You guys were fantastic. Thanks for those letters.

I also want to thank you for all the gifts that you gave. The red Ferrari was amazing. I am keeping most of them. However I can’t keep all those key chains guys since I have only couple of keys. I keep all the notes you wrote. I also thank two students who prepared special storybook for me. I felt blessed when I read it first time. I guess I read it around ten or more times and it is special part of my collection. Thanks million times. It means a lot to me.

I guess I should stop it now. Because I am starting to become emotional. I am sorry but I won’t be able to point every student in this small post. So don’t feel upset if I didn’t mention your name. If you know me close enough to have my contact details, you are one of the important people. I hope you keep me posted about what you are doing and your progress. I hope we can see each other someday somewhere. Who knows?


16 thoughts on “Goodbye Cambodia

  1. Tino Chhay : I am totally Fine 🙂 , Teacher … 12B (2008)

    Good Luck, Take Care .. All the best Teacher.

  2. hahaha….i still remember that special exam, which is attached photo with color printing and 29 different exam papers. After this exam we said how crazy you are spent much time to make 29 different exam papers…….now, i’m totally fine teacher….hahahah…by the way Good Luck sir….12B (2008) still remember you!!

  3. Not sure what brings me here, but you know this student misses you?! I hope everything is going well with you. I hope to see you again some day whether it is in Istanbul or Phnom Penh.

    • Sorry I just broke my crystal ball so can’t guess. I just sense that you are either in UK(80%) or USA(10%) or in Cambodia(10%) also due to the way you write I guess you are a girl. I can be probably wrong. Never been so intelligent to guess those things 😀

  4. It is what you believe, doesn’t mean that it is true HAHA. Also, you cannot track lottery result from your website statistic so be careful 😛

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