Sarah in Thailand

Sarah, who graduated in May 2007 with degrees in International Studies and French, is participating in the Teach in Thailand program with the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) and has been living in Thailand since October.

Season’s Greetings from Thailand

I have been in Thailand for 2 months and 1 day. It is going by so fast. I can’t believe it.

Teaching here at Ben 2 is going OK. It has been really hard to get used to the way school works; I am trying to learn patience.

Ben 2 has an English Program (EP). To get in, each student must go through an interview. Their parents also have to pay a lot more for them to be in EP. Then there is main school. I teach half EP and half main school. EP students can actually make sentences, and I can even carry on conversations with my 10th- and 11th-graders. The younger EP students aren’t nearly as good, but some are much better than others.

Main school is a whole different ballgame. Some of them can’t read our alphabet. Most cannot form a full sentence in English. It is a struggle to get them to understand, or to even pay attention. English is taught to everyone, starting in elementary school. Sadly, a lot of the students are taught wrong. The Thai teachers here at Ben 2, even in EP, don’t speak proper English. I have learned to speak very slowly and clearly and to use small words, even with fellow teachers. For the main school students, I have to act things out and write on the board. Sometimes, the Thai teachers mistranslate things, which makes everything even more interesting!

Every day here is an adventure. I am really happy I did this. Traveling on the weekends is the best. I have already been to 2 islands, and I’m going to 2 more over our “winter break” (which starts in 2 hours)! It is nice to get out of Chachoengsao. When ever I go to Bangkok I am always surprised to see so many white faces – it is so rare here in Chachoengsao. I like going to the touristy places because I can order something to eat that isn’t made with rice! I don’t understand how they can eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner …

Secret Santa
Today, I threw a little Christmas party for my homeroom class. I organized a Secret Santa gift exchange and it went really well. Only one kid forgot to bring in his present. My Secret Santa was a girl called Bow. She got me a HUGE mounted picture of the king and queen, with sparkles – I love it!

The election for the next prime minister is this Sunday. Having taken so many PLSC classes at SMU, I am really excited to see how it goes. I am not sure how much people actually pay attention to politics here; but, they sure do love the king.

Color me … yellow
In Thai culture, every day has a color. Monday is yellow, Tuesday is pink, etc. The king was born on a Monday, so yellow is his color. He is the longest reigning monarch in the world. He just celebrated his 80th birthday and has been on the throne for 61 years! In celebration, everyone wears yellow on Monday. Here at Ben 2, we teachers are supposed to wear yellow, or a king shirt, every day.

The king was in the hospital the first month I was here in Thailand. When he was released, he wore pink. Pink is his son’s color. Apparently it was a big deal that he wore his successor’s color. I guess he realizes his time is almost up and wants to ease his subjects into having a new king. Ever since he was released, pink king shirts are all the rage. I have set a limit of 100 baht and still haven’t found one I like for less than that. I do have 2 yellow king polos already.

I am not sure if yellow will be worn less come January. I hope so, it sure doesn’t suit me! I shouldn’t complain though, I was born on a Monday too.

Posted in Sarah in Thailand | Tagged , | Comments Off