Not much different from last year, the 14th National Storytelling Contest, organized by Shanti Volunteer Association (SVA) with financial support from JICA and in cooperation with Ministry of Education Youth and Sport, was held from 24-27 February 2009 at Phnom Penh Teacher Training College. This year 66 teachers and librarians were selected from 10 provinces and Phnom Penh city to take part in the contest.
This year’s champion was Ms. Tim Theary (23), a teacher from Koh Thkauv Primary School, a relatively big one with more than 400 students and 8 teachers in Choul Kiri district of Kampong Chhnang Province. She started her teaching career in 2007 soon after graduating from Teacher Training College of the same province where she is teaching. Theary has never been received training to be storyteller neither from SVA nor any organization or institute; however with her inborn talents and passion of role play, she teaches herself to a great storyteller. About one a week, Theary takes her students to school library and read them stories.
Tim Theary, the Champion, with her original storytelling apron.
Theary picked up the Three Billy Goats Gruff, a famous Norwegian fairy tale, to contest for the championship, as she thought that she can use materials available at school to design her original storytelling apron for the story. That is much more intersecting than using the traditional picture books. With the combination of her ability to impeccably fluctuate her tones of voice and facial expression accordingly to story situation, Theary was nominated the best storyteller of 2009.
Even though being a champion, Theary modestly said that she wanted to improve her ability and knowledge about storytelling. “When I do something, I want to do it perfectly,” Theary talked after winning the trophy. “I have a dream of seeing other libraries either in Cambodian or outside to learn more about their activities that I do not know. As at my school’s library is very limited in term of books and materials, I am sure there are many more things I can learn.”
Tim Theary with her trophy.