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Sunday, 29 April 2012

Volunteer Teacher Thailand - Page 2

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An example of one lesson we taught was ‘Geography of Southeast Asia’.  We had a large map made of a plastic board with Velcro pieces placed in each country and its capitols. We had many plastic cards with the names of the country’s and capitals and handed them to kids asking them to place them on the map and correct one another as a group before filling out worksheets on their own. Another lesson was on the environment and recycling with the English words for various recyclables such as bottles, cans, paper, etc.

The next day we went to the high school and again the differences between classrooms were substantial. The following day we went to a predominantly Muslim elementary school, and after that we were at a school for the coastal boat people who were a more tribal culture. Last, but definitely not least, we went to the Home and Life orphanage to teach a lesson there. The kids were not grouped by age, so we had real youngsters with teenagers together in the class. Still they seemed like the most motivated and well behaved group and worked very hard. Perhaps their incentive comes from knowing they’ll be on their own sooner than their counterparts who are not in orphanages, or perhaps it’s just the community feel of the place and the strong but loving support of the house mother and father.

While in the schools we were immersed in Thai culture – it was so interesting to see how things are done there. I enjoyed eating school lunches with other teachers and kids, people I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. It was very valuable for our perspective and even though we only participated for a short time, we felt like part of the community rather than just tourists passing through. We also received quite a bit of appreciation which was nice.

Ken operates VTT on a very limited budget, basically just the registration fee (of 3,000 Thai Baht - about $100) charged to each volunteer when the arrive. Even if one stays for 3 months they just pay the fee once, so that encourages long term participation, but one nice thing is that if people have less time they are still welcome. Some other volunteer programs either require long term stays or charge much larger weekly fees, so it can become quite expensive to volunteer your time!

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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