Volunteer Teaching

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Making a differenceIn 2011 when I went to Bali to teach English and computer (primarily) to the children at Widya Sari Yayasan in Tianyar, I had no idea the impact THEY would have on my life.  It’s all very well saying “I’m going to Bali to teach kids English” but having no formal training in teaching, the reality of the task at hand hit me like a sledgehammer the moment I realised they couldn’t understand me!


OMG what do I do now?  HOW am I going to do this?  HELP!!  But there was no help, I had to nut it out for myself with the help of Sir Google and a couple of teaching books that were left behind by someone else – thank God!

I remember those days vividly…half an hour before class was due to start and I still had no idea what I was going to teach – it was pretty stressful…others would take it in their stride but I couldn’t…I had kids that were depending on me to teach them something and I hated the thought I was letting them down because I had no idea what I was doing!

Teaching English

My saving grace came when I realised they couldn’t string a sentence together (in English)…and so my mission began – to teach them how to make a sentence make sense…”Every sentence begins with a Capital letter”…”An asking sentence ends with a question mark”…”A telling sentence ends with a full stop”…and on we progressed – day by day, week by week.

At the end of five months I sat down with my class and had a conversation with each and every one of them…and they understood me!  The ‘mixed up sentence’ lesson I gave them regularly that used to take two hours to complete, now took 20 minutes!  How proud I was of them (they worked damn hard), and of me (I worked damn hard too!).

Computer Class

“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – Christopher Robin to Pooh

During that five months I taught them English, computer (Word and Excel), about health, about the environment and even sex education!  They were ‘my kids’ and I wanted  to help them on their way in life as much as I could.

And so, returning in July 2013, I was a bit daunted by the teaching mountain once again…I felt totally out of practise and still had no idea what I was going to teach. Unfortunately the group I had in 2011 were away doing job training for three months so Brent and I joined forces and taught group A and B (12-14 year olds) together – some days there were nearly 40 kids in the class!

Volunteer Teaching

What to teach?  They’d learnt songs till the cows came home from every other volunteer that had been before.  They knew colours, vegetables, fruit, parts of the body…all the basics…time for a new challenge, and we had just the thing.

Yogi had just returned from Super Green Camp with a workbook full of fantastic information.  And so for the next five weeks we taught them the “8 Keys of Excellence” – Integrity, Ownership, Commitment, Flexibility, Balance, Speak with good purpose,  This is it,  Failure leads to success…

This was a very big challenge for them.  It stretched them completely.  Trying to understand the concept of each key, their meaning, how to apply them.  And it was a big challenge for us, trying to explain it to them so they would understand and give examples from their everyday lives that they could relate to.

But we did it, and by the end of those five weeks they got it!  They know that without commitment they will not have success, and for most of them, that’s the one thing they do want – success.


If you are not from a teaching background, putting your hand up to be a volunteer teacher can be very challenging (well, I found it that way, others may not)…BUT it’s hugely rewarding!  I learnt more about myself and what I’m capable of, plus the joy of seeing the children learning and growing (they are eager and grateful), coming away with knowledge you have helped create in them is hugely fulfilling. 


Depending on the organisation, you can generally volunteer for as long as you want – a day or two, a week or two, a month or two, or longer. The longer you spend with the kids, the closer your bond, the harder it is to leave. 

The children at Widya Sari Yayasan in Tianyar, Bali are part of my life now and I look forward to going back next year to teach again. To keep sowing seeds for bright futures and to help make a difference in these beautiful children’s lives.  We love them and they love us. It’s magic.

“You have not lived until you have done something for someone else who can never repay you” – Anonomyous

Widya Sari Yayasan  Tianyar, Bali

If you would like to know more about volunteering at Widya Sari Yayasan in Tianyar, Bali please visit their website…they would LOVE to see you!

“The purpose of life is not to be happy – but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference what you have lived at all” – Leo Rosten


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  1. Bali Volunteer program at Yayasan Widya Sari foundation welcome new volunteers to teach English, Sports, and other creative learning activities. Volunteer work in Bali can both challenging and but rewarding so join our team.

  2. The non-profit organisation is called Yayasan Widya Sari.
    We are looking for volunteers to help us teach English, computer skills and music and sports activities to the children of a small village in northeast of Bali. To view more details on our volunteering programs at http://www.volunteerinbali.org

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