So, the last few weeks have flown by so fast i havent had a chance to write the blog! Im currently in transit from Surat thani to Hat Yai in the south, where i have been placed as a TEFL teacher in a Primary school in Songhla province and my town is called Sattingpra. Its night time and dark so i couldnt read any longer, so thought it was about time i wrote this and will upload it later when i have internet.
I arrived in Bangkok on the thursday 20th Septemeber and after getting a texi to the hostel i checked in then got some street food, a strange mixture of rice and crispy port with gravy, boiled eggs and cucmber. Then after meeting the rest of the TEFL trainees we went for cocktails in a bar called the Water Bar. The next day i got up and went to see the Grand Palace where the emerald buddha is held. The buddha is tiny! Be careful when entering as we were told by many tuk tuk drivers that we couldnt enter as it was closed that day and then invited to see what they wanted to show us around Bangkok, but it turned out that was just the entrance for Thai people and when we walked round the corner we were able to enter, after the boys had bought crazy thai pants to cover their legs! Just the first of many thai cons…
That night the TEFL trainees were met by the trainers and we all boarded the 9 hour bus to Suratthani. We paid 1,200 bht each for a private VIP bus that had a flushing western toilet and free snacks, and we stopped off midway for a free dinner at 1am in the morning, before continuing. Once at Suratthani we had a 2 hour ferry to Koh Samui, our training destination for the next 3 weeks.
We stayed in a hotel called Joy Residence, that was really nice and had air con and a swimming pool, it was also where all our training was held. And it was a 15 minute walk to Chaweng beach, the busiest part of the island.
The first day was spent getting to know everyone on the course and going over the obvious teaching ideas, with lots of demo lessons from the trainers and trainees. The second week felt like the week of assignments, where we had to do a lesson plan, a grammar essay, a teaching methodologies essay and the final week was a refelction essay. In the final week we ran a summer camp in Baem Loi primary school, on koh samui, for 3 days. Each trainee had to teach at least a half hour lesson every day on different topics as well as run a group activity with 3 other trainees. It was great to see everyones confidence grow and put into practice everything the course had taught us. It also made me realise that I really wanted to teach little ones, as i was put with the 9 and 10 year olds all the time, and they were so cute, i really enjoyed teaching them. (I sent an email requesting that i get primary school and although they replied saying they couldnt guarnatee it, I’m on my way to teach primary!!) I got to act like a nutter in front of the class and they loved it. For my “nature” lesson I taught them the vocab such as stones, sand, leaf, flower, grass, stick. Then we went on a nature trail around the school collecting the items as we went and repeating the vocab to me. After we went back to the classroom and made rubbings of the leaves and drew the flowers – the kids in thailand are so artistic! They’re great at drawing, and instead of drawing any old flowers they copied the ones they had picked.
During the course it wasn’t all work, at weekends I made sure to explore what was nearby! The first weekend pretty much everyone went on an organised tour to Ang Thong National Marine park, a 2 hour boat ride away. Its where all the amazing views of the thai islands are from as you can climb (literally on your hand and knees) to 500m and see the views. Afterwards we rented Kayaks and went kayaking around the islands.. They were beautiful and i loved the trip. The following week I rented a moped with Tara and we went round the island on our bikes. We drove to Waterfall 2 where at the bottom is an elephant trekking site and i think it was a zoo too. I didnt do the elephant trek as the adult eles didnt look too happy, but I did go and play with the babies. I love elephants so I was happy to see that the babies really responded well to the mahouts, the people who look after them. It’s unsettling that the adults weren’t so close to the mahouts, but i guess they are trained that way. We climbed up Waterfall 2 and at the top there was a lagoon to go swimming and jumping into, it was refreshingly cold after the hike! Afterwards we went to Fishermans village for dinner and then saw the big buddha before it got dark. The big buddha is a big gold one over looking the sea, and fishermans village is a more chilled out place, thats meant to be more expensive, on the coast as well.
This weekend there was a party on friday night as we all passed and graduated from the TEFL course, and won awards. I was nominated for “most creative teacher” and won “person most likely to steal an elephant” and “worst kept secret – Zoe loves elephants”I guess they’re both true.
On Saturday we caught a boat to Koh Tao, the island that is scuba diving paradise, and takes about 2 hours from Koh Samui by boat. We stayed at Bans diving resort, in the basic accomodation there. They do offer luxury rooms aswell but we went cheap for 500bht a night (£10) for a fan room (no aircon) and cold water (where the shower was over the toilet?!?!) The next morning we booked in for an introductory dive, (2000bht for the day) so we were in class again to fill out a medical form and then had some information and then met at the pool and were taught all the basics of scuba diving. We were put with a couple from Ireland who were nice, and easy to get on with, so went for lunch with them, before getting on another boat to take us to the dive site. The dive site was called White Rock and after getting all the equipment on we jumped into the sea. I had a small panic over adjusting to breathing underwater but eventually got over it and we went for a 40 minute dive. Managed to see a blue spotted stingray, clownfish (nemos), parrotfish, triggerfish, and more that I’ve forgotten the name of! We also paid 2000bht between the 4 of us to hire out an underwater camera and have photos taken. Ellie, from Scotland, was our dive instructor and she was brilliant, and very patient when I got nervous!
The next day was spent getting back to Koh Samui and grabbing suitcases from where we’d stored them in Joy Residence. This time we moved to BB Hotel Samui, right next to the night market in Chaweng for the night where the offer was 500bht for a nice aircon room instead of 1000bht as it was last minute. I really liked the night market on Samui, the mojitos cocktails are really good for only 60bht (£1.20) and the food was good and the stalls interesting and cheap if your ready to barter!
This morning those of us who were placed in the south, got on another 2 hour ferry to Suratthani (450bht) from Nathon Pier, then an hour bus to Surrathani town centre (100 bht) and am now in a mini bus on a 5 hour journey to Hat Yai (650bht, think we got conned again as at the port we could have paid to do the whole trip for 750bht)
Tomorrow we are being met by the Visions agency guy. Forgot to say, im no longer with Media Kids agency who place people in the North, as they ran out of placements, so 15 of us have moved agencies. Mine agency is now Visions. Wish me luck 🙂