All staff – teachers and management support – are literally ‘volunteers’. Other than a substantial lunch each school day, and the provision of a bicycle (probably the most common mode of transport in Mae Sot) Minmahaw School is unable to offer any other recompense to volunteers. Our volunteer teachers are “found” by the school network and word of mouth, and so they, like the school, are independent of any aid/support agency or group.
Since January 2012, a small grant and many individual donors have been able to offer a small stipend to Minmahaw’s “Teaching Principal.” This position was created with the goal of providing continuity throughout the year to both students and the flow of volunteer teachers, often here for periods of
1 – 4 months. You can imagine the challenges and the creative scheduling that must happen in order to welcome and accommodate the volunteers’ generous offering of their time and skills. The school has enjoyed stability under this leadership and all efforts will be made to continue this one ‘barely compensated’ position.
Seven (7) ‘foreign’ volunteers is optimum to teach a full program and 5 considered a minimum. Burmese teachers who have specialists’ skills complete the teaching team. Most of the Burmese teachers who volunteer at Minmahaw also work – sometimes for small salaries but mostly as volunteers at other Migrant Schools. Hence, their available time at Minmahaw is limited. In 2013/14 Burmese teachers taught a unit of English, and the subjects of: “Burma Issues”, “Music” and “Fine Arts”.
The Management (Administration) team are all Burmese “working” fulltime as volunteers and are appointed by the School Board. There is an effort being made by donors to provide some small amount of “pocket money” for the managers, as they are provided room and board only.
As a general rule volunteer teachers have a ‘face to face’ teaching load between 12 and 15 hours a week. (E.g. a double lesson in one subject, or 1/2 single lesson subjects a day). We can be flexible. We have had volunteers wanting, and able, to teach all day (6 hours) and others that teach only one 80 minute lesson a day.