OCTOBER DEPARTURE ・ SCHOOL HOUSING ・ TEACH ENGLISH
Many people know Thailand for its beautiful beaches or Bangkok’s temples and shopping on Khao San Road, but few people have ventured off the beaten trail to the more rural areas of Thailand. Whereas in the tourist destinations, many people speak English and have a global perspective, people in the rural eastern part of Thailand have rarely seen foreigners, let alone had a chance to speak English with a native speaker. The Isan region, with its Lao and Cambodian influence is a melting pot of Southeast Asian cultures and languages, though all speak Thai as the language of instruction in schools. Because of its more remote location, students in the eastern Isan area have a disadvantage competing with the more privileged students in the cities for enrollment in universities or for jobs.
The goal of this program is to give the students at these schools a chance to compete with students at more privileged schools for a chance at a better future. Nakhon Phanom, being about as far from Bangkok as possible without crossing into Laos, is one of the poorest areas of the country. In our Thailand program, volunteers serve in northeastern Thailand with primary or secondary school students, focusing on English language education and mostly in underprivileged, countryside schools. Volunteers give these students a chance to interact with foreigners and be introduced to different cultures.
Hearing new vocabulary being used outside of class is extremely rewarding. Cooking with students during their home economics class, planting rice at the school farm, and swimming at a waterfall with students on a field trip were all memorable on their own. But speaking with students in English while sharing those experiences made them all the more special.
Classroom life in Thailand varies greatly between schools. You may find yourself teaching the majority of your school’s students over the course of a week. Two or three classes a week with each grade level is a normal schedule, averaging about 12 to 16 classes total.
Some schools have a specific textbook and others ask you to create your own curriculum. Some have a set classroom for teachers and others requiring you to move between classrooms each period. Even the number of students in a class varies with normal class sizes ranging from anywhere as little as five to as much as 35. While each individual school is quite consistent, placements shape the Thailand experience far more than most other WorldTeach programs.
You also have the chance to engage in extracurricular activities appropriate to your grade levels. You can follow the footsteps of many and lead an English club or another optional class with more freedom to teach about subjects you or your students find interesting, such as English songs and dances. If you have older students, you may start a drama club while elementary teachers may focus on drawing pictures from English words.
You are provided housing by your school, usually in the form of teacher housing on the school grounds. Regardless of the type of housing, living in rural Thailand is rustic to say the least. Bucket showers are the norm in Thailand, and many houses have a porch with a burner as the kitchen. Internet is usually available but some sites will not have access. You have a room to yourself, but local people do not think anyone should live alone, so you likely share your housing with another volunteer teacher or local teacher.
The cost of the Thailand Year program is $1,500. This includes visa, housing, monthly living stipend, supplemental overseas health and emergency evacuation insurance, orientation and additional training conferences, 24-hour in-country field director support, access to a remote teacher quality coordinator, and alumni support and networking.
Many volunteers are able to successfully fund raise all or a significant portion of their volunteer commitment. Please refer to our fundraising page for more information about fundraising possibilities.
Volunteers in the Thailand Year program must:
- Be a native-level English speaker
- Have a bachelor’s degree by the time of the program’s departure
- Be between the ages of 21 and 74
- Be highly flexible, mature, and have a genuine interest in teaching