My Trip to Thailand
ICL camp@RPK24 Phayao, Thailand 1-29 July 2022
My experience in a Thai school was undoubtedly different to my experience in English ones. The children always say “good morning”, “hello”, wave and or every time you go past. There have been a lot of picture requests too, it is very different to England.
At the beginning of every class there is a routine conversation between the teacher and the students:
“Good morning teacher”
“Good morning students. How are you today?”
“I’m fine and you?”
“I’m fine too, please sit down”
“Thank you teacher”.
At the end of every class they follow a similar script:
“Stand up please. Thank you teacher”
Followed by a lot of waves and extra goodbyes as they exit the classroom.
For the majority of my time at school I taught the youngest students here, their ages being 6 years old - 8 years old (though I did volunteer to help the 9 year olds with their maths one day). The students are perfectionists, they were consistently using tip-ex to cover up their mistakes, or furiously rubbing out their mistakes that were made in pencil (they hated when I made corrections for them in red pen). Primary school classes involved a lot of singing, dancing and games. I can not sing or dance at all. The games were very energetic and the children loved them. If it was a competitive game then the losing team would have to do a dance at the front of the classroom (I was often on the losing team).
The students are taught American English, which threw me off to begin with. However, the older students, who I interacted with outside of class time, understood that American English is slightly different to British English. The older ones put in a great effort to speak with a British accent so they could understand the volunteers a little better. Some of the older students can speak English near fluently, their pronunciation was sometimes a little wrong but they could always find the right word. These students were the most confident with interacting with us in the beginning and so we ended up playing sports with them most nights, because of them I’m not terrible at badminton anymore. The ones who were a little apprehensive initially became more confident with their English as we began to learn basic Thai to initiate conversations with them, and help them with what they were trying to say. Google translate has probably become my best friend.
The teachers have been great. The teacher I was paired with took the time to take me out for lunch, was patient enough to teach me some Thai, and gave me my Thai nickname ลูกหมี (Lūk hmī, meaning teddy bear / bear cub). The teachers opened up their classrooms and school to us and I could not be more grateful as because of them I got to spend half of my summer teaching amazing students and embracing Thai culture.
When there was not classes they planned extra activities for us:
Cross stitching in traditional Hill Tribe style
Paper mache with the children
Thai cooking classes
Thai music and traditional dancing
..with so many more activities on top of this.
The experience at the school has been incredible overall, but I will not miss the mosquitoes when I’m back in the UK.