Volunteer Job at Lha: English teacher
by Tony Collier
There’s a saying which goes “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”. Volunteering with Lha offers you just that.
I first volunteered with Lha back in 2010 as an English teacher to the Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced classes and my experience then was one of utmost joy as I relished in the curiosity and wonder of the hustle and bustle of McLeod Ganj (McLo) and the spiritual serenity that only India can offer and provide.
Outside McLo, I frequently enjoyed the wooded beauty of the mountain trails and hiking up to Triund became a regular pastime.
These experiences were just as equally matched in the classroom. The students, who came from a variety of cultures, were eager and attentive. They appreciated you and the time you offered to assist them in their growth. As time went by, I found that I’d developed a genuine bond with them and this fuelled my determination to ensure that they received the best of my time and energy.
I recall standing at the back of the class (in the larger classroom) watching the students completing a regular test, looking out the window to the nearby mountains and wooded hillsides while listening to the noises from Jogiwara Road below that I felt deeply content.
Such feelings are so rare in our western fast paced consumer lifestyles and this treasured memory and feeling has remained with me ever since.
I returned to volunteer in 2017. Although for a shorter period (2.5 months) my experience was no less rewarding. While things had changed in McLo, the vibrancy had remained and Lha happily, had continued unchanged.
My experiences this second time was uniquely different and enjoyable. I saw McLo and teaching through older eyes and this was especially rewarding for me personally. The students were, as ever, eager and attentive and I understood their learning needs from wiser eyes.
This time we, collectively as a class, had a lot more fun in learning. They, in learning English from me and me in learning about myself through both them and their experience.
As a result, I regard this recent time as a volunteer as the most successful and rewarding, both from the students learning point of view and from my own perspective of learning about myself.
So, there’s truth in that saying. Lose yourself in the service of others and you will find yourself.