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Published: August 11th 2007
On Tuesday we said a fond farewell to our friends in Pattaya and took a taxi to Ban Phe, about 1 1/2 hours further along the coast, where TEFL International is based. We have signed up for the Special Thain Project, which means we take a TEFL certificate and then teach in Thailand for 4 months. There is a great demand for native English speaking teachers in Thailand to help Thai kids to speak English using the right pronouciation. They therefore set up the ThaiSpecial Project to bring in a large number of native English speaking teachers ready for the new school term, which begins half way through May.
During the course we are being put up in a Condo hotel a few km out of Ban Phe. Its right on the seafront and has amazing views. We have a hotel style room on the 14th floor with en suite bathroom, fridge, air con and a balcony with great views over the sea. The hotel also has a swimming pool! There are several small restaurants and food stalls around the hotel where we can eat.
We do our lessons at the local Buddhist temple school, because the
are all on holiday at the moment. There isnt any air con, just fans, so its really really hot at the moment. We start at 9am and have two classes 1 1/4 hour in the morning. At lunch time we go back to the hotel for 1 1/2 hours to cool off and get some food before going back for another 2 classes in the afternoon. We finish at 5pm and then have homework to do. Its really busy. We have to learn English grammer and phonetics (word sounds) as well as how to teach. Alot of the grammer rules, tenses etc. is quite new to us so we have alot of learning to do. I mean, did you know there are 12 tenses, and then another 12 in the passive? Nope, nore me. And I didnt even know what phonetics was, let alone that there was a phonetic alphabet! We have to do 6 sessions of teaching practise, teaching real Thai school kids! The first one is on Friday! No pressure then! Luckily TEFL International have a model method they are teaching us on how to run an English class so if we learn and follow that we should
Our hotel room
its like a dolls house version. You can buy little model Kate and Kris's to play with.
There are 17 of us in our class. The only British people are us and a guy from London. There are two girls from Australia and a guy and a girl from New Zealand and everyone else is from America! Im not sure why that is!. This leads to lots of discussions on the right way to say and spell words! Im also trying not to pick up an American twang to my accent, which is hard when you hear it all the time. Everyone on the course is cool and good fun.
There are also three other classes on the project, 2 started last week and a 3rd will start on Monday. All in all there must be about 80 of us training to be teachers ready to start the new school term in May.
On the first night TEFL International took our class out for a welcome dinner at a seafood restaurant on the beach. I was very brave and tried my first scallops (which were really nice) and some strange looking fish with its head on (although I didnt eat the head). The next night we were taken into Rayong, a town
further along the coast, to go shopping. Kris and I had to buy some clothes for teaching, we only had trekking sandles and flip flops with us so we needed appropriate shoes for the classroom. Kris also had to buy some smart trousers because that wasnt exactly something we packed to come to Thailand with. We were also all taken to the Tesco Lotus (yes, Tesco is here too!) to stock up on groceries for our fridge, where we also bought a toaster so we can cook breakfast in our room in the mornings.
Last night (Friday) we went to a bar in Ban Phe where a Thai buffet was put on along with a jamming session on some instruments and a fire dancing display from the 2nd best fire dancer in Thailand. Alot of beer Chang was consumed and we ended the night at 1am in the hotel pool! Most people have gone to the nearby island of Ko Samet today for the weekend but we have decided to chill out at the hotel for the weekend and get our minds in gear for another week of lessons and the start of our teaching practice......
If you want more information and advice about TEFL courses and teaching English abroad, check out our other blog: What Kate and Kris Did
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