The Journey from a Student to a Teacher

By Soeun Khema Vatey, ACE Teacher

As a child, I was always interested in learning English. I can still remember some of the songs we used to sing in class, in fact, I still use some of them in class when I teach.  Although we had regular English classes at my school when I was growing up, I was desperate to learn even more. I decided to look for a well-known and prestigious English school to study at (or rather, my parents did because I was only 10-years old).  Of course, you can guess which school I enrolled in, as I’m still here now. 

 My first course was in the Young Learner Programme in 2008.  Yes, I’ve been at ACE for a decade! - Both as a student and now as a teacher. 

YL Graduation

That’s almost half of my lifetime, which, when you say it like that, seems an awfully long time.  Over the years, I have noticed a lot of changes in the school regarding the buildings, for example, but the focus on quality teaching has always remained the same.  My English skills of grammar, writing, listening, and reading have been enhanced noticeably over the years, with constant assistance from experienced native English speakers and Khmer teachers from distinguished educational and teaching backgrounds, and of course my classmates. Teachers here are clearly encouraging, resourceful creative, and professional.  However, to be successful, students still need to take responsibility for their studies, including reading English books, as much as possible.

With this in mind, ACE offers a reading club called ACE Book Club in which a wide range of books can be borrowed. When I was a young student I had an insatiable appetite for these books, borrowing at least one a week - starting with horror stories then moving on to romances, and over time even becoming fascinated by crime (but only for reading purposes, I promise!). As well as being entertaining and utilizing my imagination, reading quickly expanded my general knowledge, increased my reading speed, expanding my vocabulary, and grammar proficiency.  As a result, I was awarded countless distinguished Star Reader certificates. I would recommend the book club as a great resource to any student serious about improving their English skills.

As I moved up the levels and into the general English programme (GEP), I made a lot of use of the Guided Individual Learning Centre (GILC), which is easily accessible and convenient for students to practise all their skills and further extend their reading opportunities.  Particularly useful are the IELTS materials which help prepare candidates for the test. The centre also has scheduled GILC Talks, Student Support Workshops and Public Speaking and Debate competitions which give students fun opportunities to further enhance their skills.

GEP Graduation

At ACE students also get the chance to take part in voluntary activities. As a student, I often participated in events organized by the school and I was also ACE Student Ambassador (2015-2016). At that time, I was very fortunate and enthusiastic to both learn and deliver skills in event planning for charitable purposes with other socially concerned and selfless individuals.

Student Ambassador Photo

Student Ambassador Group Photo

Now I am a teacher here, which can seem strange, especially as some of my teachers are now my colleagues.  Actually, old habits die hard, as I still find myself addressing some colleagues as “teacher”, which can draw some funny looks in the staffroom.

ACE Teacher

For over 25 years, ACE has continued to provide high-quality and welcoming study and work environment.  Personally speaking, I am very grateful to have been a student, ACE Student Ambassador and look forward to a rewarding career as a teacher at this illustrious educational establishment.

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