08 December 2012

I'm back!

Ok, I’m back at it.  Let me catch you up on a few things… granted, I’m way behind on my blog (let’s just say that I’m three countries away from my last post - which makes me at least 3 months behind) but at least allow me to explain one of the things I’ve been doing.  First off, I have been in school full time for a month getting my TEFL/TESOL teaching certification so that I may teach English abroad.  It’s been 15 years since I last stepped in a classroom and I gotta say, it’s not easy.  I actually had to use my brain, not b.s. my way out of situation, and was challenged to push my own boundaries.  But I’ve learned so much and I’m glad I did the classroom certification as opposed to an online certification. 

As part of the curriculum, we applied what we learned that week to actual classroom teaching at local schools, most being government schools for children from 10-15 years old with some of them even having the local hill tribe children attending.  So for 50 minutes twice a week, we taught a lesson through flashcards and activities.  I really had a lot of fun doing it and learned things about myself I wouldn’t have in any other situation – like the fact that I have a teacher voice.

An interesting thing I observed at the schools that I’ve always suspected through my travels in Asia, locals are interested in who I am and where I’m from.  I look like them, but am different, both physically and how I carry myself.  Let’s face it, I’m built like a tall American, or as one local had put it I’m built like I play football (I sure hope he means soccer because I would hate to be considered that I’m built like and American football player).  So at the schools, many of the children would wai to me (bow) when they entered the classroom or when they would see me in the hallway or schoolyard.  They could tell I was a teacher (and they typically wai a Thai teacher out of respect), but were also trying to figure out whether I was Thai or not.  Even when I wasn’t teaching and sitting in the back of the classroom observing one of my peers, many would wai to me as well.  I have to admit, it’s kind of awesome and makes me feel like I’m The Godfather. 

For me, I decided to teach English for a few reasons, obviously one of them was so I could continue to travel and live abroad.  But after traveling through Asia for a while, I realized how beneficial learning something as simple as English can open up some doors and provide more opportunities for locals.  Thailand is a perfect example of a country that has prospered over the last few decades through tourism, and partly due to the fact that many people took the opportunity to learn English.  Anyone who has traveled through Thailand knows that it’s a pretty easy country to travel through unlike other countries.  This place is set up for tourists.  Thais who work anywhere near the tourism industry know some English.  The same certainly cannot be said for all of Southeast Asia.  But even if people don’t end up in tourism (and on many levels, I hope not), at least learning English can help them be engaged with other foreigners and perhaps inspire them to travel one day or at least further pursue a higher education.  And I have to admit, the one most rewarding job I’ve ever had was when I had coached volleyball.  There’s nothing quite like seeing the light turn on and seeing someone actually learn something that you taught.

So now I’m done with school, all certified up, and will be looking to work in Chiang Mai when I come back in January.  My time in the states has come to an end for now and am looking forward to starting another chapter of my life living abroad.  


At January 9, 2013 at 10:06 AM , Anonymous Vishnu said...

April - so great what you're doing! It is fun keeping up with your travels on facebook as well as your blog. It's hard to get back to the US after you've lived/traveled abroad for some time.


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