Meet PEPY Volunteer Tommy: Bringing New Techniques and Ideas to the Learning Center

Posted on: June 20, 2022 Posted by: Kathryn McDaniel Comments: 0

Meet PEPY Volunteer Tommy: Bringing New Techniques and Ideas to the Learning Center

Since May 3rd the PEPY team, especially our English Learning Project (ELP) Teacher, Soury, has had the pleasure of working with Tommy. Tommy is PEPY’s first long-term volunteer since the pandemic, arriving in Cambodia after working as a teacher in Myanmar.

He is originally from New York and has over 20 years of teaching experience. He spent 13 years in Thailand, 6 years in Myanmar, and now over 6 months in Cambodia.

He applies his extensive experience as an English Teacher by supporting our project’s curriculum, scoring quizzes, identifying textbooks for the class, and any other related tasks that fit our students and the teacher’s needs. As a foreign volunteer, he provides a lot of added value and learning opportunities to the students. The ELP Teacher shared that he helps the students and staff learn about cultures outside of Cambodia, gives our youth the opportunity to learn under different teaching styles, and works hard to use a lot of energy in the class.

Having a native English speaker in the ELP allows the students to familiarize themselves with a different accent and increase their English listening and conversation skills. In addition, our ELP Teacher has shared that Tommy has helped improve her teaching skills by showing her how to incorporate more humor into the class. She believes that more volunteers like Tommy will help advance the ELP, whether they join us in person or online!

Tommy initially learned about PEPY through PEPY partner Bill Taylor (from SE Asia Foundation). When he first joined PEPY, he took the time to adapt and observe our practices as an organization and learn about Cambodian culture. PEPY students come from a financially disadvantaged background, which is similar to the students he taught in Myanmar. He found in both cases that students were very eager to learn English and committed to the sessions.

After a month at PEPY, he found that he really enjoys the enthusiasm of the students and the gratitude they have when receiving each lesson.

We love the mottos that he has taught to the students:

“Mistakes are okay, we learn from our mistakes”

“Use it or lose it”

Going forward, we hope to have more volunteers like Tommy join the ELP and other PEPY projects in the future, helping us increase our skills and providing more unique learning opportunities to the students.

We thank Tommy so much for his time and energy, ensuring that our youth will be prepared for numerous job opportunities after leaving the Learning Center.


If you are experienced as a teacher and would like to learn about volunteering for PEPY, we invite you to reach out to us via email at: contact@pepyempoweringyouth.org