John Stanlake

John has taught in Prague, Rwanda and now currently Bangladesh

I teach at the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh. It’s a newly formed liberal arts university specifically for women from various backgrounds across South Asia. Most students are awarded full scholarships and therefore girls are not excluded because of wealth. Our students come from a range of countries including Bangladesh, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Cambodia, Burma, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, etc.

I have taught grammar and will also teach reading and writing. It’s a fantastic place to teach largely due to the students as their attitude to education is remarkable and truly inspiring. There have been many funny moments since I started here but one which sticks out is one day during ‘School Spirit Week’. It was ‘gender bender day’. I’d kept quiet about whether I was going to participate but on the day I turned up in a sari, to the complete shock of my students. They all sat there in male dress and basically looked like a bunch of Sean Pauls with various styles of facial hair. I remember just thinking at that moment that a couple of years ago I would never had envisaged being in such a situation. It was a little bizarre but really satisfying in many ways as it dawned on me that my TEFL education had really opened so many doors and given me the opportunity to experience so much.