Published: September 1st 2012September 1st 2012
Has it only been a week since my last blog? With all the life changes it feels like months!
John and I had a job interview last Thursday with a woman named Tutsie. She grew up in Thailand before moving to the States to attend college and work. She lived in Massachusetts for 8 years, among other places. She now lives in Arizona with her husband and has many jobs and hobbies, but her most recent project was starting a charity for Thai children to gain English education. She currently funds 3 public schools in Phuket, where she recruits native speakers to teach English. Immediately after the interview we were hired to work at two of these schools.
On Friday, John and I graduated our course, both with A's. That same we day we were whisked off to the first school, Tah Reau Public School, to meet the principal and some of the children. The children range from grades K-2, and the school is very informal. Only half the rooms have desks, the kids sit on the floor in the others. The dress code is casual (but still conservative), and the lesson planning is up to us. The teachers
expect us to be very interactive and hands-on with these kids as they know ABSOLUTELY NO ENGLISH. There are no tests, no grammar or spelling lessons, simply games, dancing, coloring, and singing. After visiting with the kids and practicing a bit of parroting ("Say good morning", "Good morning!") we set off with one of the teachers to check out a housing option. Much to our surprise we pulled up in front of a two-story, gated house with a yard and car park. Inside, the first floor holds an expansive living room and kitchen/dining room area with marble floors and countertops. The upstairs has two bedrooms, each with a balcony, and one of the two bathrooms, as well as a large hallway nook I intend to make a lounging corner. The rent is ฿10,000/month + utilities, which works out to approximately $350/month. FOR A HOUSE. We were sold. So within 48 hours we had landed ourselves jobs and a place to live!
That weekend we did our visa run to Penang, Malaysia. This involved an overnight minibus ride, 1 day and 1 night at a hotel in Georgetown, and then an all day minibus ride back home. We did take
advantage of our one day, though, and went to the Bukit Mertajam Recreational Forest for a jungle hike, complete with giant centipedes and waterfalls. We also hand-fed the greedy monkeys that hang out near the entrance, waiting to steal your goodies while you aren't looking.
Once we made it back in Thailand, it was go-time. We moved into the house, picked up our free motorbikes (included as part of our salary), and visited the second school. The Paklok School is much more formal, with uniforms and a strict teacher dress code. The kids are grades K-6, but, again, they have no previous English knowledge. Lesson plans will be provided and will be more structured than the first school. By Tutsie's decree, we will be teaching at both schools by simply alternating weeks. It will be nice for us to gain the different teaching-style experiences, and it will be beneficial to the children to have both male and female role models. We start school on Monday!
The rest of the weekend is for house shopping. The house came "fully" furnished, but is missing the little things that make it a home. Plants, curtains, throw rugs, extra seating, and various
kitchen supplies will make the house feel more livable. I have also updated my couchsurfing profile to "couch available", so hopefully we will be hosting people soon. And of course if any of you would like to visit, there is more than enough space for you now!
Seriously, someone come visit us….
There are more photos below