Wednesday, June 06, 2007

My First Two Weeks

I made it to Thailand! I can’t believe that I’ve already been here for almost two weeks already. Here is a quick recap on what has happened so far:

We arrived without any problems and two very nice English teachers from the English Department picked us up and transported us to our temporary housing at the Guest House on campus. The next day, they helped us find apartments and we moved in the following day.

Mark (the guy also from Coe who is working in Thailand with me doing the same job) and I have made a few short videos of what the apartments look like and we had planned to put them up on UTube. Unfortunately we forgot that UTube is banned in Thailand! Oh well, we’ll have some fun stuff to show when we get back to the US I guess...

We just started teaching on Monday and this first week has been a little overwhelming to say the least. There are at lest thirty students in all of my classes (I have five) except one which has around seventeen. The students are great but I have no idea how I will be able to give each student in each class individual attention. Because I am teaching just sections of classes, all the lesson plans are given out and each day is pretty much scripted. That cuts down on preparation time for the teachers because we just have to go over the lesson plans before going to class.

There is also a demonstrations school on campus that was asking new native English speaking teachers to come teach for them. At first I decided against working there because the classes would be for middle schoolers and because I wanted to see how my university classes would be before taking on anything else. Two other new American teachers (Jared and Ben) decided to work there but the school was still short one teacher. After talking with Jared and Ben I decided to at least accompany them the first day to see exactly what would be required of teaching there. Upon arrival around 7:30am, we met the coordinator in charge of finding new teachers. She was pleased that I had come and asked if I was ready to teach that day. I indicated that I had jotted down some ideas but I had no concrete lesson plans. She then said that the first day was just an introduction day and that it was most important that the students just were exposed to a native English speaker. I said I would give it a shot, and a few minutes later, I found myself in front of the whole student body who was in attention for their morning assembly. The two other teachers and I were introduced as new faculty members and I went to go teach my first class of seventh graders at 8:15am.

Overwhelmed could not explain how I felt! I had been assigned to teach five sections of classes, meaning that I would see the whole seventh grade class in one day. Each section has over 40 students! It was so difficult to keep their attention and get them to focus. After the first two sections I was ready to tell the coordinator that I was going to quit after the day was over but she reassured me that I would be ok and that they really needed my help. I agreed to at least give it one more shot next week...


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