Teaching at an International School in Thailand

The contrast between teaching at a Thai government school and an International school in Thailand is stark.  It’s like day and night, black and white, yes it’s that different from each other. After tiring of teaching English in rural Thailand I was craving for the bright city lights and decided to head to Bangkok. After weeks of job hunting I managed to get a job teaching English at the Everclever summer camp at Wells International School along Sukhumvit Road.

I ended up teaching two 1 hour lessons daily and then accompanying my class to Gym, Art, Performing arts and Readers Theater. I had 10 students in my class, only three of which were local Thais, the rest were from Japan, Russia and Taiwan. The great thing about teaching at an international school is that the entire curriculum is in English so my students could already speak English well. I was able to teach Grammar something not entirely possible at a Thai school, where I would usually only teach 8 new words per lesson.  Apart from being able to teach Grammar I also taught them many games which took up half of all the lessons. I dredged up a few long forgotten games that I used to play as a child.

I was also fortunate to be able to participate in all the additional activities on offer to the students. At no cost to myself I was lucky to attend movie nights, visit temples, go on canal cruises, a weekend away in Kanchanaburi where we went to the Tiger Temple and Erawan waterfalls.  We also went to Kidzania, Dusit Zoo, Science center, Bangkok parks, Siam Niramet cultural show and I enjoyed every minute of it. This and the fact that the other teachers were American and all over the world meant that I was not the only English-speaking teacher made my time at the school memorable. When I was asked to stay on for longer because they extended summer camp I jumped at the opportunity and was sad when it finally all came to an end.

With my return flight date confirmed I knew I was going to miss this school and my students very much. I was happy when they asked me when I would return to Bangkok as they would love to offer me a full-time teaching position. Will I go back? Definitely. When? Right now I don’t know but I like that I have options and this time I will be more prepared and do things differently.


Idiocracy – the dumbing down of the English language

This is not a rant about people’s use of incorrect spelling or grammar or that dreaded apostrophe – your and you’re – I really don’t care anymore. Some people just choose to be stupid and who am I to judge. Instead I am always amazed at how people do not use ‘big’ English words anymore. I know that sometimes when I speak and use a ‘big’ word I am met with blank stares. I think the joy of using the English language has left  the building for most people. Below is a list of words that I have used in the past month – don’t even try to wonder about the context of my conversations.

Necrophilia – sexual attraction for or sexual intercourse with dead bodies

Ornithology – a branch of zoology that concerns the study of birds

Quantify – to determine or express the quantity of something

Derelict – neglectful of duty; delinquent; negligent

Evoke –  to summon or call forth, to call to mind by naming, citing,

Emphatic – 1. uttered, or to be uttered, with emphasis; strongly expressive. 2. using emphasis in speech or action. 3. forceful; insistent.

So you see, a plethora of words yet not often used. So release the inner geek and don’t be afraid to use those ‘big’ words.

adventures, Books, travel

English Please

Andy is the crazy Brit I met on my travels. Upon discovering that me and my friend were the only South Africans (hence forth known as the Saffers) staying at the hostel he thoughtfully shared with us the vilest SA profanity that he was taught. It’s not pretty so I cannot share it with you here. And when I say share I mean he would scream it loudly wherever we happened to be: bus, subway, club, etc. Thankfully no one understood what he was saying and I taught him another swear word just for him to take a break from the aforementioned one.

He also had us believing that he’s a sheep farmer. He was almost always drunk. But he also extremely hilarious and fun to be around. After helping us get home on our first night in Barcelona he wanted to see our room as it was one of the only private rooms in the hostel. I’m not sure if what happened next was funny or annoying (probably a bit of both). He got undressed and got into one of the beds and refused to leave. No matter how much we cajoled, begged, shouted he remained unphased by it all and actually asked us to only speak in “English please.” We of course were speaking English as it’s our first language.

The United Kingdom is quite low on my list of countries I want to travel to but it got bumped up after this trip. We met quite a few other travellers from the UK (sane ones) and everyone was really friendly. The added bonus would be that everyone speaks English and that I wouldn’t have to worry about a language barrier.

Ireland – Giant’s Causeway

Wales – Since 1988, Hay-on-Wye has been the venue for a literary festival, which draws +/- 80,000 visitors over ten days at the beginning of June to see and hear big literary names from all over the world. This would be any avid reader’s wet dream.

Scotland – Edinburgh Castle

London – (I do realise that there is more to England and the UK than just this one city)

Humorous, Life

10 things I have learnt this week

1) Be thankful and appreciate what you have every single day – there is someone out there less fortunate than you.

2) Family get-togethers are fun and important and is a good measuring stick for you to check how sane or crazy you are. Also don’t forget to keep the painkillers handy as headaches can easily be caused by the continuous noise of laughter and talking.

3) The only way to overcome your fears is to face them head on.

4) Try not to get involved in any drama especially with friends, the whole he said she said thing gets tired very quickly. So keep your mouth and let your friends sort it out themselves.

5) Find your passion in life and follow it.

6) There are a lot of family and friends birthdays in August (well I knew this but one tends to forget until the next August rears its head)

7) There is way too much clutter around us – so do a Spring clean it’s almost September and get rid of anything you don’t need or use.

8 ) The more I learn Italian the more I realise how easy the English language is.

9) It’s a blessing not to have to work weekends. Ever.

10) Sometimes staying in bed all weekend watching a tv series is just what the doctor ordered.

languages, Life, travel

Full circle and that fork in the road

One of the things that I wanted to be whilst growing up was a writer. Being an avid reader this seemed to just be the next logical step (read then write) and after having discovered Roald Dahl my mind was made up. However once I got to high school I got bombarded with choices and got well …..confused.

After much ado though the fashion and retail world called out to me and because I went start to work after school I had to study fashion buying part-time and got my ‘big’ break at a fashion retailer as an assistant. After years of working my way up through the ranks I’ve made the startling discovery that this is not what I really want to  do anymore.

The 2 things that I’ve learnt about myself this year (well I always knew but just didn’t listen to my inner voice) was that I have a love for languages and literature. And never knew how much I would enjoy writing until I stared this blog. So next year I will start my bachelor of arts degree specialising in language, literature and creative writing and majoring in English and Italian. In conjunction with a Tefl or Celta course this will give me the opportunity to teach English overseas and to travel the world. Who knows I might even end up freelancing for Vogue magazine. And we all know how I feel about magazines.

First time that I feel at peace with myself about the direction of where my life is headed, which will hopefully be off the beaten path.