Review of winter work camp in Thailand.
Our winter holiday this year was spent volunteering at a residential school in northeastern Thailand. We came prepared to teach English and play games with the children, but was not prepared for what they would teach us and how the teachers, staff and children would work their way into our hearts.
The school, Rajaprajanugroh 50, is one at 57 boarding schools for children across Thailand that come from troubled or needy families. The schools are funded by a foundation from King Rama IX.
There were seven of us volunteers brought together for this work camp from across the world. I was also not prepared for how I would come to respect and admire these beautiful souls...wanting to work with, give back and experience life with these children for a brief period of time.
We experienced working with all three grade levels; primary, secondary and high school. We would plan a lesson to teach English vocabulary or concepts to the class and engage with them. We would try to make the lessons as fun as possible While still being useful. The students have been working in workbooks or text back, but their actual practical use of the language was not at the level of the books.
The primary children were full of life and energy and I laughed hard at our silly antics! They were all in and loved repeating words and phrases with us. The secondary kids that old shyness and self awareness with their pronunciation. Given enough attention and patience… They would often give it a try. They were eager and wanted to learn and over the course of the two weeks, they opened up and more easily engaged and practice with us.
The high school kids were more serious… And while still shy they would eagerly work on whatever lesson we put in front of them. The last day of classes we brought the kids out of the classroom and used games to teach and practice English.
We were able to explore so much of the school… The farm, the kitchen, the classrooms… And the every day life with these children was so special.
Our accommodations were rustic but adequate… I enjoyed spending time with the other volunteers in the evenings and getting ready in the mornings. Time spent with other volunteers from other countries was also very special.
Probably the most enjoyable part of the two weeks was the times when we would find ourselves playing with the kids in the afternoon before dinner… Just tossing a ball around, playing badminton, or volleyball...laughing and playing with one another.
This was the most enjoyable two weeks and we will greatly miss being here with the teachers and the children.
Scott and Jo from USA