March 2018 I returned to International TEFL Academy (Chicago Campus) after living abroad to share my experience teaching in Thailand with the newest graduates of the certification program.
We are now on the third week of class. Each week there is a predetermined topic to base lessons around. The first week was “orientation,” the second week was “school,” and the third week is “body parts.” In addition to teaching them English, I also teach English math and English science. When I am not teaching, they are either in Thai class, Thai science class, at the playground, eating lunch or taking a nap. I also teach an art period and a “movement” period (which is basically PE but mostly dancing along to English songs for kids).
Each week I prepare worksheets, phonics flashcards (for both the letter of the week and for the topic of the week vocabulary), at least one game/activity, several videos to show and an art project. The best part of lesson planning by far is when I get to color a worksheet/picture for an example for the students. I am grateful for the freedom I have within the curriculum to choose what worksheets and other resources I use especially now that I have accessed their English skills. There are actually big differences in knowledge between classes of the same grade here- possibly due to the frequent turnover in teachers at this school.
As the semester moves forward the students are not only improving their English but also becoming more comfortable with me as their teacher and in turn becoming more confident in their speaking. Last week a student was able to communicate to me exactly something that happened between two other students in the class (one pushed the other) and that was a great feeling to share that understanding. There have been a few moments so far where things didn’t go as I planned such as a certain activity not working out as well as I had hoped but the students are so funny and always immediately raising my spirits with their positive energy.
I am learning a lot from the students and hopefully they are learning a lot from me and we’re all having fun doing it so far!
I arrived in Thailand on April 11 and spent the day picking an apartment and shopping for some supplies that weren’t possible to pack such as laundry detergent, pillows, clothes hangers, etc. The next day I flew out to Phuket and then took a cab down to Khao Lak to meet up with some of my coworkers. April 12 was spent settling in at the hostel, exploring the town and having dinner by the water with a beautiful sunset. The next day, April 13, was Songkran which is the Thai New Year. In some areas of Thailand Songkran is celebrated April 14-15 as well since it is still the holiday period but where we were there was only one day of the water festival. We were really relieved about this because even though it was an incredibly fun experience by the end of the day we just really wanted to be dry.
We bought cheap water guns at little shops and all along the streets establishments placed out large buckets of water for people to fill their guns or buckets with. It was just one gigantic water fight. We went to a bar that had the large gallons of water on the sidewalk and then there was a median in the street which is where we stayed for most of the day because the bar was playing music and trucks would drive by with people shooting and throwing water from the back. We were also aiming at the people on motorbikes.
During this fest, if a Thai person likes you they will put a white or colored clay/paste on your face which you can see in some of these photos. It was just honestly such an amazing experience to get to have fun and feel like a little kid again. It is definitely an experience I’d recommend to everyone who comes to Thailand.