Our first in a series on 'what it's like after the course'. Samui TEFL graduates tell us what it's like teaching, all about their school, the area where they are and other useful insights. This chapter is about Matt, who completed the course in May 2015, and has been working with the same company ever since. These are Matt's words.
I graduated from the Samui Tefl course in May 2015. I'd made some amazing memories during the four week course and was sad to leave behind some great friendships I'd made. The course taught me a lot about how to conduct a lesson, the planning required for a week of teaching and how to control a potentially rowdy group of students. I left the course feeling nervous but extremely excited and prepared for what lay ahead.
I had an interview with Fun Language while still on the course and was accepted for a job with them to start a few days after leaving Samui. I headed to Bangkok and went to the Big Training event the company laid on. It was a daunting few days learning the Fun Language style of lessons, a plethora of songs for kindergarten kids and a catalogue of games to play in the lessons which could range from simple games for Kindergarten children up to more complicated Prathom or Mattayhom level students. I then took the minivan to Ban Pong in Ratchaburi province where I met my coworkers and fellow teachers. This is where it all started to feel very real. Arriving into a town where only a minority could speak English and where a lot of the locals would stare at you as you walked down the street (any new foreigner or "farang" gets this experience upon arrival in Ban Pong where the locals are sussing out the new arrival).
I have been working for Fun Language for almost two years now and love every second of it. They provide you with lesson plans, a Thai teacher in every class, flashcards, pencils, crayons, workbooks and a basket full of items you'll use for games or activities during the lesson. The children are hilarious and even if you're ever depleted of energy, seeing their smiling faces soon perks you up. You're fully equipped and given more training but I still use the knowledge I learnt on the Tefl course every day!
I teach a range of courses from conversation to reading and phonics and also interactive white board lessons. It's a great way to learn a wide range of teaching styles and how to plan for a different type of lesson.
I teach from Pre-school (around 2-3 years old) up to Mattayhom 2 (13-14 years old) and being able to jump from a kindergarten lesson where you're getting them to name 4 different colours, rewarding them with stamps and stickers and then going to a Mattayhom lesson where the students are telling you their future aspirations or differentiating between crimes; it's something I never thought I'd be doing. This company really makes you adaptable to any class you come into contact with! We're based at one main school here and then could be teaching at potentially three different schools around the local area but due to always coming into our main school to lesson plan (and also because I teach three days a week there) I've gotten to know a lot of the students and it's been great seeing them grow from term to term. It's an extremely rewarding job!
The local town of Ban Pong where I live is full of helpful and kind people. As mentioned before, I initially thought there were very few English speakers but as time has progressed, I've become friends with a whole load of Thais in the town whose English is a lot better than my Thai (I'll trying practicing my Thai and they'll resort to correcting me or just speaking to me in English). We have a night market every Monday and Friday and as the majority of teachers all live in a small resort-type complex, we're very sociable with one another and the local community.
I've enjoyed every second of my life in Thailand since Samui Tefl and cannot thank Kathryn and Rosanne (and my other course mates) enough for their support and knowledge! If you're ever thinking of teaching abroad then definitely check out Samui Tefl and Fun Language! I don't regret a thing!
Samui TEFL Blog