Cathy Talbot – Thailand

I taught in Chanthaburi, Thailand for the final term of the school year. I was teaching for a total of 5 months.

Chanthaburi is a beautiful, undiscovered town. It is very wealthy and quite big, only 4 hours on the bus from Bangkok, 2 hours from Pattaya and a short trip from the beautiful islands of Koh Chang, Koh Kud and Koh Samet. I instantly fell in love with the location and my weekends were filled with trips away, adventures to the surrounding waterfalls and short motorbike journeys to the beautiful beaches of Chanthanuri Provence.

The town has everything you need – a few great gyms, a Tesco Lotus, a beautiful lake, a park and a shopping centre. The food is also the cheapest and the best that I have found through my travels in Thailand!

I was extremely excited to start my first teaching job after completing my TEFL online with TEFL Graduate. The whole process was very easy – TEFL Graduate contacted me immediately after I finished the course, they assisted me in finding an agency and getting placed in a school. Before I left home, I was reassured in knowing that I had someone looking after me and that I was guarinteed a job upon my arrival.

Echo English was the name of the agency that I worked for. Kerry (the founder) is 100% trustworthy and cares a lot about her teachers. They are very good at communicating, organising visas and always pay on time. From my first induction with them in Bangkok, I met the whole team and felt instantly at ease.

When I arrived in Chanthaburi, the lady in charge of the English Program at Anubanchanthaburi (the school that I taught at), picked me up and brought me to a hotel for the night with another new teacher. Over the weekend before the beginning of school, she brought us to look at some apartments and made sure that we were comfortable in where we were living. Although the accomodation was not paid for by the school, it was very affordable and I was happy with my small studio apartment.

I was shown around the school the following day, introduced to the teachers, my questions were answered and my nerves were taken care of. Everyone was so lovely, I knew that it was going to be a great experience.

I was the “P2” classroom native language teacher to a class of 27 students between the ages of 7 and 8. They had half their lessons in Thai, and half in English. I taught them approximately 19 hours a week, I became extremely close to the kids and it was very tough saying goodbye.

The subjects I taught were English, Science, Health and Maths. I followed the school’s curriculum and planned my own lessons (which I handed in to the English coordinator). I had a Thai assistant who helped with translating to the kids when needed. She was always around and also helped discipline the kids when they were acting up (this was very rare!). I shared my classroom with their Thai teacher who taught the other half of the lessons. Although she did not speak much English, we respected each other’s teaching methods and got along well – she would always bring me bananas!

I was at school from 7:30 – 4:30 Monday to Friday. When I wasn’t teaching, I was on gate duty or I sat at the back of the classroom writing lesson plans, playing with the kids, listening to music and planning my next travels.

I feel very lucky to have been a part of such a great community. There were 14 other English teachers in my school and we all became very close.

The only reason I did not stay longer is that I have a terrible case of “itchy feet” and wanted to leave on a high. I would recommend this to anyone wanting to experience the Thai culture. I still keep in touch with my students and would love to go back to visit one day! Here is a photo of me with my students. :)

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