Hear from Our Teacher in Thailand – Evan Kiley

Before Coming to Thailand

Why did you want to teach in Thailand?
I wanted the opportunity to travel, but more so I wanted to have a unique purpose and thought teaching English to Thai youth would give me a greater purpose than anything I’ve ever done. I have experience with children so if you like to impact young lives then it is an awesome career! I thought it would be great way to improve public speaking and to grow professionally and culturally.

How was your experience finding a job through On the Mark Education?
It was very easy. I received a call the day I sent my application materials to On the Mark and had a job lined up at the time I wanted one, which was a few months later. I would highly recommend using On the Mark to get the ball rolling and jump-start your ESL career.

What website did you use to book your ticket to Thailand?
I used SkyScanner to find cheap flights and ultimately used the Virgin Airlines website, which also connected us to a China Eastern flight.

Teaching Life in Thailand

What was your first impression of Thailand upon arrival?
My first impression was awe of how a country like Thailand could be mountainous while seeming so tropical at the same time (in Chiang Mai). I was mainly struck by the scenery and loved it. The first person we encountered was a taxi driver who got us to our hotel right at the doorsteps. We saw him in the city later on and we recognized each other leading to a friendly, smiley ‘hello’. I was also impressed with the amount of respect for others Thai people had – the classic ‘wai’ is the Thai handshake and says a lot about the kind of people they are.

What was the biggest culture shock about Thailand and/or in your current city?
The biggest culture shock has been getting used to the lack of variety in food. You really have to get used rice/noodles with curry, chicken, and sausage. Thailand uses so much plastic which is eye-opening and is not very cleanly but it’s something I’ve gotten used to. Some of the people aren’t keen on foreigners but those who are certainly make up for it with their respect and friendliness.

What’s your favorite memory of life in Thailand?
Teaching my first class. I remember being extremely nervous, but it flew by and gave me a newfound confidence. Thailand has the most opportunities to experience nature at every level too: mountains, forests, lakes, countryside, beaches, metropolitan areas and more! Beyond that, I would also recommend going to a 4D movie – you won’t be disappointed.

My First Thai Class

What do you like most about working for your school?
I like how relaxed the atmosphere is and the amount of freedom the school gives us to work with our students. Seeing the students start to understand and enjoy your class is rewarding too. I think the relaxed approach is the best part, and coming straight out of college to this position it made the transition smooth.

What three things do you wish you would have known or brought with you before you arrived?
– I still need to know how to transfer my baht to my American bank account before going home
– I would recommend a light sweater and one pair of jeans but that’s it for winter/fall wear
– Don’t be afraid to hassle prices if you think something is overpriced! Especially if the prices aren’t listed

Did you have the opportunity to save any money? What percentage of your salary were you able to save?
I’ve been able to save about a third of my salary per month which is about 300 USD. Most of what I’ve saved so far will be spent on travelling during the break but next semester I will save about the same and bring back with me.

Beach in Thailand

 

A Day in the Life of a Nursery Teacher

Most expats who come to Thailand to teach usually end up teaching English. However, as a Nursery teacher at an International Kindergarten in Bangkok, I am fortunately able to teach a range of topics to my students in my very own classroom. I enjoy being able to teach a broad, fun, and engaging curriculum to students of different backgrounds. A typical day as a Nursery teacher goes something like this:

Waking Up/Getting to Work

I wake up to my alarm at 6 AM, although I don’t usually get out of bed until the last possible minute.  After I shower and eat breakfast, I head out and catch the Skytrain to work for 29 Baht ($1 Cad). Packed in like sardines, it’s a good thing the air conditioning is on full blast to keep sweating to a minimum. I pick up some local fruit and hop on a moped, which gets me to work by around 7:30 every day. If it’s raining, that makes getting to work a whole different kind of adventure.

BTS in Bangkok

Starting the School Day

My day officially starts at 8 AM, but I like to set up activities in my classroom beforehand and plan my curriculum for the days ahead. I also enjoy the peace and quiet, aka “the calm before the storm.” At 8:30 AM, I greet the students. I currently have 10 two-year-olds in my class and a teaching assistant who does more of the “dirty work” such as changing diapers.  By 9 AM, we head back to the classroom where the children put away their bags and settle down. We sing good morning songs, fill out the weather and days of the week board, and sing simple nursery rhymes. The children have an alternating Mandarin/Thai lesson, followed by snack time.

Depending on the day, we then take the children outside to play either on the playground, on bicycles, in inflatable swimming pools, or in the sandbox. After cooling off, the students do arts and crafts related to the theme of the week. For example, this week the theme was “Stories We Like.” We read The Three Little Pigs and made paper plate pigs and a straw/wood/brick house. The students also play games to improve their fine and gross motor skills, learn the alphabet, numbers, and shapes, do puzzles, painting, as well as pre-writing practice.

Finishing the School Day

At noon, both the students and I eat lunch together. Fortunately, I am provided with a delicious lunch at school every day. Following lunch, the students have “nap time” where they relax on foam mats with stuffed animals.My classroom in Thailand

Around 1 PM, students engage in music class where they can sing, dance, play instruments, and move their bodies to the rhythm! To wrap up, we read stories together and sing goodbye songs. I quickly fill out each student’s “Communication Booklet” with their eating habits, toilet habits, and mood from that day, as well as any reminders or special notes for parents. The school day ends and children are picked up by 2 PM. Occasionally I will chat with parents about their child’s progress or upcoming events.

I usually have from 2-4 PM to prepare crafts for the next day, update my weekly blog post, plan lessons, or socialize with teachers before heading back home on the Skytrain. Fridays are the exception, as I lead an after-school Painting Class for a few students from 2-3 PM.

Sounds fun to  you? Thailand is full of adventure and for me to teach English at an International Kindergarten in Bangkok is very rewarding. 

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