Do what you really are – Lkhamsuren Erdenedash’s story

Lkhamsuren during one of the TEDx sessions
Lkhamsuren during one of the TEDx sessions
BOOKBRIDGE’s mission is to support people to do what they really are. This is the story of Lkhamsuren Erdenedash and how she found out what she wanted to be.
By Lkhamsuren Erdenedash, English teacher at Mörön Learning Center

Do you agree that one is not too old to learn new things and earn good experiences?

Before being a part of BOOKBRIDGE, I had totally given up all the things in my life. I was already 36 years old, I hadn´t found the job I really enjoyed and also I didn´t earn money at least for myself. I was depressed and disappointed about the things related to my life and I kept asking myself “You are already up to 30ies but you do have nothing except your boy and husband. You have a great family that cares for you but it is not enough to be happy and satisfied about your life. Where is the thing that can give you the thing you want?” Yes, this is the biggest question, maybe you could call it “a problem” for me and I have been searching for the most suitable answer for the question.

I have graduated from the University of Science and Technology as an English translator but I have totally understood that the DIPLOMA is just a PAPER in last few years. Graduating from university does not mean that you are perfect. The thing that makes you PERFECT is the family you have chosen, the job you love and the friends who care about you – I understood. Making a lot of mistakes, thinking critically, searching new exists, meeting new barriers, making a lot of practice and meeting good people have made me to be a part of this wonderful BOOKBRIDGE in my opinion.

After doing many experiments, quitting or loosing jobs, I really understood that I should do something useful and helpful for others based on my knowledge and experience. It is being an English teacher.

Lkhamsuren with students
Lkhamsuren with students
My dream to be an English teacher fell when I found out that my profession does not meet the requirements, the documents to be a teacher are very complicated and also, I needed to be very rich or I needed to have high-positioned friends in the community. These things have really made me to give up my dream but luckily I have met a young lady, Daariimaa, who was looking for an English teacher for her learning center. I am always thankful for Daariimaa because she became the bridge between me and my dream.

Since then I have started to work as an English teacher at the BOOKBRIDGE learning center in Mörön and this is the second trip I have made with BOOKBRIDGE’s great support.

I have never been to any seminars and trainings before, so when we had the training at “Mandal resort”, I was very glad about myself, the training and the members of BOOKBRIDGE. I very appreciated the things you give me. I have learnt many things, shared many opinions and experiences with other teachers and staffs, understood many things to work and help others and the main character of BOOKBRIDGE, too. It was a great opportunity for me to fulfill my dream to be a teacher however I only have few students.

The second chance that I was given by BOOKBRIDGE was to work as a facilitator for learning center Arvaikheer’s TEDx writers’ workshop. I have never been to Arvaikheer and the most important and scary thing for myself was the question “Can I be the one who meets their expectation?”

Finally I arrived in Arvaikheer at the BOOKBRIDGE learning center with huge fear. Uuganaa picking me up from the bus station was my Arvaikheer life’s starting point. When I met Uuganaa and others, my fear totally disappeared! They were the people who helped me to control myself and look ahead full of energy.

We spent seven wonderful, valuable, useful and helpful days in Arvaikheer and there were seven people including Jenni-CEO, Uuganaa –Rock manager, Saikhnaa-Beautiful senior manager, Lhamaa-Facilitator, Ian-Facilitator, Phoebe-Facilitator, Perrin-Rock facilitator.

Preparing TEDx workshop
Preparing TEDx workshop
TEDx Workshop in Arvaikheer
On the first day, I ran to Jenni with millions of questions and she explained all things very clearly. The students who were in our team were waiting for us to start and Perrin did not know how to do the start. So it was my turn to start and break the ice and that’s why I ran to Jenni for help. After 30 minutes, Perrin and me got the class under our control and since that scary period, everything became very comfortable.

TEDx talk is a brand new thing for Mongolians and it became complicated for the students and facilitators, I am sure. So at first, we, the facilitators, should become familiar with the TEDx and that’s the thing I was afraid of.

On the first day, we helped and guided the students in how to find their brand new idea. Jenni had introduced about TED talk and also gave tips on how to be a good speaker. The first day’s facilitating translators were Uugnaa and Saikhnaa. The second and third days were mine and Saikhnaa’s. Those were almost my first translation in front of 38 people.

The students chose big topics including life-related proverbs, metaphors etc. They were not familiar with simple ones, f.e. their past etc. In Mongolia we are accustomed to using big topics, very big things to express our idea in a formal presentation. So TEDx is 100% different from Mongolian-type presentations. It is a way to express an idea in a very simple and easy way to others in comfortable ways, relating to your past life. It is the most interesting, comfortable and open-minded way in my opinion.

So we had guided the students to find their ideas based on their past life, facts, habit or experience and made them specify the ideas with strong examples. The students got our ideas and they worked very hard and beneficial.

On the next day, we gave tips on how to write down our ideas. The most important tip was how to make a conclusion, how to give the messages to others, how your idea might affect lives if it’s implemented. During team breakouts, our team had played and did exercises to get energy.

Proud of her students and herself: Lkhamsuren
Proud of her students and herself: Lkhamsuren (third from right, lower row)
On the very last day, all facilitators were judges. We had divided into two groups because the talks were bilingual. Before judging, Perrin and I had checked our student’s speeches, their conclusions and their public speaking language etc and gave them advice. It was very nice to see that they had prepared perfectly for the talk show and always asked for feedback from other teammates and us. They were not nervous, stressful or afraid because we had prepared and guided them to be like that with simple examples, related with their past life or experience and therefore, they were ready to express their own ideas-not unknown huge things. That is the main focus of this event in my opinion.

In the afternoon of the 3rd day, we had judged and admired all of the students over there. We had presented them participation certificates and chose 6 students to attend into TEDx talk show in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolian Turkish School.

Five of the six winners were my teammates which shows that we were a great team, worked very hard and efficiently together. It made me proud of myself, too. By the way, I want to say that I am very proud of having you as my team students:
1. Renchinbyamba
2. Khaliunaa
3. Munkh-Ujin
4. Munkhchimeg
5. Munkhzul
6. Unurjavkhlan
7. Bolorchimeg
8. Khulan
9. Egiimaa
10. Bodikhuu

Taking a part in this workshop makes me understand:
1. The easiest way to express my idea;
2. The way to make the idea interesting;
3. The way to make the things systematic;
4. The way to make the idea realistic;
5. The way to make the idea arguable;
6. The way to use public speaking language completely;
7. How to organize the things with others;
8. How to cooperate with other teachers and students;
9. How to share your ideas with others;
10. How to help and guide others;
11. How to manage the class and be a good teacher ….etc.

TEDx participants
TEDx participants
There are so many things I have learnt from others and all the facilitators were very helpful, potential, open-minded, easy-going and hard-working in my opinion. My counterpart Perrin was very helpful, experienced, punctual and easy to work with; I appreciated her positive attitude and the hope to make others comfortable very highly. In one word, we are same and thus we had succeeded in due work.

Teaching English is very challenging for me because knowing grammars, words etc things are just knowledge in my head. But I wish I would pass my earned knowledge to the children who really want to learn English, being a little helping or guiding star. I have been improving my knowledge from day to day, teaching, working and helping children on my own and it is the THING I WANTED. I was born to share the knowledge and experience I have earned with others, to give them the opportunity to improve themselves, to help and guide them to find their true ways and to believe in themselves in my opinion.

Therefore, working as a member of BOOKBRIDGE is the EXACT chance and OPPORTUNITY! Since I have been teaching English, my teaching methods and skills are improving however it has been taking a lot of time. I always look for the things, methods and interesting ways to teach and it makes me more satisfied, more challenging, more curious and more hard-working.

Visiting to Arvaikheer learning center, I was so surprised, fascinated and thrilled by its students. They are brilliant at all: they speak fluently in English, they respect each others very well, they behave themselves in most suitable way, they get and follow their teacher’s words/orders well enough, they are very active and the most important thing was they really want to learn and share new things, ideas and experiences in my opinion. I was so astonished because I have never seen that kind of students before even in Universities. I have talked with them, shared my opinions, checked their notebooks and also, I have found their vocabulary notebooks as below:

Vocabulary notebooks of Arvaikheer students
Vocabulary notebooks of Arvaikheer students

They are the leaves from the huge tree named Uuganaa, BOOKBRIDGE Arvaikheer.

About Uuganaa
Now, I want to tell you about Uuganaa who became my lady-hero with so many god examples. In one word, she is the most hard-working, warm-hearted, generous, high educated, high experienced and easygoing lady in my opinion. Sharing her BOOKBRIDGE experience made me proud of her. I want to be a teacher like her. But I don’t know how many years will be required to be a good teacher. In one word, I totally astonished with her hard-working, passionate, well-organized and positive attitude for everything.

It is not very easy to understand person’s posts on Facebook pages and so this trip was the greatest opportunity to share her posts personally. I appreciate the communication personally because I do think that the communication on other Medias or sources seems to me very complicated and fake.

Lkhamsuren also visited Arvaikheer learning center
Lkhamsuren also visited Arvaikheer learning center
The second thing I have understood very well was that her family members always take care of herself to make her achieve success, do her work without any worries, just paying attention into her business. I have heard that there is a real hard-working and reliable person behind the succeeded person. But, when I was in Arvaikheer, I saw it personally. When Uuganaa was very busy with me, with her classes and with TEDx, her husband did all his bests to make her wife’s busy work easy and comfortable. It was wonderful and now, I wish my husband would be like him one day.

Travelling to Arvaikheer and sharing an experience with Uuganaa make me understand:
1. Being hard-working and passionate is the key factor to pass your knowledge to the students you have;
2. Vocabulary is the main thing in learning language;
3. Activities are also important to keep the students close with you;
4. Well-organized and planned lessons would access a valuable process;
5. Being punctual, curious and positive makes your work more efficient / however I am punctual, curious and positive/;
6. Family is the fundamental part of your success.

I will try my best to implement the above-mentioned tips for my classes to be a good teacher. This is my goal.

At very last I would like to say THANK YOU for every body who gave me a great chance to improve myself, open my eyes with – brand new things, share my opinions with others, value my self, get wonderful experiences, learn from great people and see my future brightly.

You are never too old to learn.

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