ค่ายครูอาสาขอนแก่น หน้าหนาว 59
Hello! My name is Elle from Chiang Mai, Thailand. Now I am 21 years old. I have to tell that this is my first volunteer camp. I have never done something like this before. The first time I saw the information about this camp I thought that this might be a good opportunity for me to give something back to society, especially young people. This is because I always believe that students or children both are future of our nation. I do believe that when they have an opportunity to improve themselves, they, in the future, will build a better society, a better country. Anyway, traveling from Chiang Mai to Khon Kaen was not easy for me. I went to Khon Kaen by bus. It took almost 10 hours and I had a problem with sleeping on the bus. So, I really needed to have a cup of coffee that morning. In the afternoon, I met all volunteers at the meeting point, the train station. It was amazing and everyone was so nice. That time I started to feel really excited.
SCHOOL AND ACCOMODATION
After our meeting at the train station, we went to our destination -- Rajaprachanugroh 50
School. The school was bigger than I expected. Each part of the school was managed systemically and effectively though there were more than 800 students living here. Moreover, most of the students came from poor family. That was the first thing I knew about the school. In the evening, a group of students took us a tour around the school. At that moment, I felt surprised that many students could do a lot of things by themselves such as farming, cooking and they did it very well. It was amazing. Furthermore, the teachers here welcomed me and all volunteers warmly. I really appreciated that. After that we had dinner together and everything was so delicious. When everything was getting dark we went back to our house, and then we took a rest. The house we stayed was better than I expected. There were two bedrooms, one meeting room and one bathroom. We separated bedrooms for men and women. I could say that our house was great. I did like it. However, we later had a problem with the bathroom. It was flood. Then the last three days of our living they fixed it. Anyway, we all volunteers felt thankful to all teachers and students for welcoming and taking care of us.
BEING A VOLUNTEERING TEACHER
I had to confess that at first I had no idea about how to teach, but later with kindness of all volunteers and teachers I could understand the students and the way of teaching. Our main duty was to teach English here for 2 weeks. Our volunteer group decided to rotate teaching classes, so all volunteers could teach in every level started from primary school, secondary school and high school. The first day of teaching was not hard but joyful. This was because we all went to every level to meet students and to get to know them. I could say that many students were enthusiastic about our coming. That made me glad. The next day was the real teaching day. We decided to teach in pairs. For the second day, I and Nafisa taught the secondary students, Mattayom 1 – 3. We got 4 classes for this day and we prepared some basic lessons. However, we prepared not only some basic lessons but also some games such as guessing, spelling word. All was perfect today. We did it great. At night, we had a meeting about our teaching plan for tomorrow. For the next day, I was going to teach high school students with Taufik. I hoped that everything would be fine. And yes, it was. Till the last three days of the camp, we all agreed that we should take the students out of class and did outdoor activities. We felt so thankful for their participation. I could see their improvement -- no more shyness, no more hesitation -- when they took part in each game. That was very glad for me to see them this way.
I could say that Rajaprachanugroh 50 students could stand on their own feet after graduated from this school. Although some students still needed to improve their academic skills, but I could guarantee that their life skills were more than many students of the same age. They were amazing. They learnt how to live by themselves, so that was why they could do a lot of things. On very first day, most of students were still shy to speak English. I knew that it was normal. Therefore, later, they had their confidence to speak English. And that was a good improvement. Another thing was that the students here were taught to call the school teachers as ‘mom’ and ‘dad.’ For the first time, when I was called ‘mom’, I felt strange. But later, I became familiar with being called this way.
After school all volunteers had free time to join student activities such as playing football, gardening, playing with children. I had so much fun with students and all volunteers. Moreover, we got a chance to join the local government festival in the evening. We watched many shows from our school students and enjoyed the meal there. On the weekend, we went to the city with some teachers and students. I felt so excited because it was my first time being in Khon Kaen and traveling with my new friends. We went to many places such as King Cobra village, Ubol Ratana dam. Then in the next couple of days after school we went to the local market nearby the school and also Kham Kaen temple. The last place we visited was Ton Tann market. I impressed everywhere we visited. I had a great time here. I could say that I would never forget it and I would keep these memories in my mind forever.
Finally, I would like to say that, at first, I thought 12 days for this camp were enough. In contrast, when the time came, I felt like 2 weeks were not enough. It was not because the students did not understand our lessons, but because they were so nice and friendly. I do love them. I do love the school. I do love all the teachers. I do love all volunteers. I do love everything about this camp. Thank you for making this December the best month of the year.
And I would not deny to come back again.