by Ryan Johnson (February, 2008 – March, 2009)
From a new teacher:
I arrived in Surat Thani at the beginning of February 2008 and only have a couple of weeks of teaching under my belt; thus, my knowledge of Surat is somewhat limited, but my experience should be extra relevant to any perspective teachers.
Surat Thani is definitely a Thai city. I lived in Bangkok for six weeks before coming to Surat and never had to worry about learning the Thai language. However, my lack of Thai becomes amusingly apparent every day in Surat. That being said, I have absolutely zero experience with the language and it has not been an overwhelming inconvenience for me. Yes, you need patience and need to work with people in order to communicate with them, but the people are exceedingly friendly and genuinely want to make a good impression on new teachers. > The Samui archipelago and Phuket lie ridiculously close to Surat Thani. Granted, you will not be able to sit on a beach every day after work, but all the islands and beautiful beaches are more than convenient for weekend trips.
The classes themselves sit on a pedestal as the prime reason to come and teach in Surat. The kids, staff, and other teachers make the transition into the system effortless. Yes, you will need to concentrate in class, genuinely want to be there and teach, and make a conscious effort to do your absolute best every day (qualifications for any job in any place around the world) but that becomes easy when get to know the Thai children. Primarily, they like to do as all children do: run, play, scream, and do all the other things kids love to do; but they also want to learn and use English. It makes teaching a pleasure and although the work is draining, you find yourself constantly talking about your classes in your free time because a particular class was so exhilarating or amusing. The kids have a tremendous amount of energy and it’s easy to feed off of them to make your lesson the best it can be.
Surat can be scary at first (as is moving to any new town/job), but all your inhibitions will evaporate as you broaden your horizons. New routes to school, restaurants (which, by the way, are nothing short of fantastic), people, parks, bars, etc. continually pop into your life and instantly make Surat a friendlier place. Adding to that, the living accommodations are easy to get to, comfortable, inviting, and, on top of all that, provided by Super English (a definite perk).
Above all!!!! Do your research before applying and, unquestionably, before scheduling a trip. Read about Surat, read other testimonials, learn about the weather, people, schools, hospitals, safety, etc., etc. You are moving to a new place and it is not fair for you (or to the people here) if you arrive not knowing many of the general-knowledge facts that are easily available. If you like what you read and discover I can honestly say that you will not regret coming to teach at Super English. Every day is new, exciting, and I know that it will be a long time before I do everything available to me.