The balcony is on the first floor, you can see our towels drying after swimming.
So we finished the TEFL course and jumped onto a bus to Bangkok. The next morning we were taken to our new school. We are teaching at Nawatan Thaiwipas school, which is South West of Bangkok in a place called Bang Plee. Its a trilingual school for kids from 2-11. They are mainly taught in English but also learn in Thai and Chinese.
Kris and I are two of the four native english speakers at the school. We teach English to Grades 1-3 (6-9 year olds). We teach each Grade every day for 50 minutes each. I also teach health and art to Grade 1, whilst Kris teaches p.e. to Grade 1, and art to Grade 3. Yes, suddenly Kris has become a p.e. teacher. He is sat next to me now wearing jogging bottoms and a whistle around his neck (joke). There are two Grade 1 classes, each with 16 kids in, and we are homeroom teachers for each. That means we look after the class, we work at the back of the classroom when we are not teaching, and we are responsible for the kids. This means doing registration, sending communications home to their parents, checking they
The living area
They provided us with the squashy sofa and coffee table. The guitar is our own!
have washed their hands after going to the loo, getting them dressed after swimming, lining them up and making sure they get to the right classes. Its a big job because they are quite naughty and we are doing alot of telling them to sit down and be quiet and not to fight each other! Little darlings!
The other teachers in the school are Filipino, Thai and Chinese. The kids learn a large number of subjects, including 3 languages a day, maths, science, music, computers, art, p.e. swimming, health, occupation, guidance and social. They have 7 50 minute lessons a day, starting at 8.10 and finishing at 3pm. There is a 15 minute break in the morning and a half hour lunch break. After school there are two 40 minute extra language classes. Then they have homework. Its alot to learn for such young kids. There is alot of pressure here now for kids to be good at languages to help Thailand progress in the global economy. Alot of the kids at the school are Tawainese and their parents want them to do well in all three languages so they have a good choice of career in the future.
We have a few other duties at the school. After school finishes at 3pm we each take a few kids for an after school English class, to try and get them speaking and using English. One day a week we have to stand on the front gate and help the kids out of the cars. Its abit hot actually, Im sure its abit scary for the kids being lifted out of the car by a sweaty me or Kris!. Another morning we have to do the flagpole, where the kids line up in front of the flag and sing the national anthem. We then have to speak to them in English about the weather and anything else we can think of. Our final duty is Pre-K. The kids in Pre-K are 2-3 years old, and they get 1/2 hour a day with a native English speaker! So we go along one day a week and teach them English vocab, like shapes and colours. Thats the theory. Actually we go along and sit on the floor while they bawl their eyes out and hide behind their teachers. But they are ultra cute with it.
The school have provided us
Now with a job, apartment and gym membership we reckoned it was time we splashed out on a car to complete the set...A bit extravagant perhaps
with accommodation. We live about 3 miles from the school along the same Soi (side street). We have been given a three bedroom apartment! Its on two floors, so when you go in the front door we have a living area with a sofa and coffee table, and kitchen area with fridge, sink and microwave, and a balcony. There is a bathroom downstairs. Upstairs there are three bedrooms and another bathroom! Its bigger than our house in Leeds! The apartment is on the 4th and 5th floors of a complex called Casitas. The complex has its own sports club. We joined for the grand sum of 7 quid a month, and we have full access to an air conditioned gym with cardio vascular machines and weights, an outdoor swimming pool, saunas (why you need a sauna in Thailand I dont know, surely you are sweaty enough?), table tennis and badminton! After school we go to the sports club every night, its so nice to have a swim and cool off after a sweaty day at school! Near the apartment there are lots of street stalls and little restaurants, so we need never go hungry.
There isnt much else near
Our friend Erica in Bangkok
playing her favourite game where she balances a rose on her finger
where we live so on the weekends we go away. The last three weekends we have come to Bangkok to meet friends from our TEFL course. We generally stay in the Khoa San Road area, where all the backpackers are, and where there are lots of cheap places to eat and drink. We can also get our fill of western food!
If you want to know more about teaching English in Thailand, as well as in other countries in the world, check out our other blog: What Kate and Kris Did
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