by Tristan Rentos
Where have the past 10 months gone? I honestly have no idea, it still feels like I arrived in Surat five minutes ago and I’m standing in my new house, wearing my flannel shirt, cargo pants and hiking boots trying to figure out how this place works.
I still remember my first night in Surat quite well. I was by myself in the Chalokrat house with two fans about a metre away from me. Despite not having slept for 24 hours thanks to my flight schedule, I didn’t sleep that night and the difference in timezones had nothing to do with it. I had never taught anyone anything in my life, and while I had been to Thailand twice before I decided to come here as a teacher, I was not expecting the locals to speak no English whatsoever. When I ‘woke up’ the next day, I was by myself and struggling to get a meal into my stomach, so getting myself properly acclimatised seemed a long way off. It was time to get back to basics.
10 months later and I’ve been promoted to Senior Teacher, I can speak basic conversational Thai and I feel that I can confidently walk into any classroom, at any school and any level and deliver a great lesson that the kids can enjoy and learn from. I have moved house over to the other side of town and possibly have the best setup out of any Super English house. My classes at Thida and Super English are going very well and unlike 10 months ago I’m thinking ahead instead of thinking about my stomach.
Without trying to blow my own trumpet too much, looking back on everything that’s happened and everything I’ve gained has been (for the most part) as a result of my own willingness to drop all barriers and try to get myself on my feet. As for me becoming a half decent (I won’t say good just yet) teacher, Peter and Vic have been invaluable with their training and advice on the journey, and they continue to be even though I am now a more experienced teacher.
The main reason that Super English works is because nothing is too difficult or too arduous for Peter and Vic to handle. They have seen or heard it all before and they know how to fix it without any drama or finger pointing, and they know everyone makes mistakes. This is imperative in such a close knit environment such as Super English, because once you start playing the ‘blame game’, all the trust is gone and that’s it, it’s all over bar the resignations. Nobody is playing any silly games here, the students, teachers and teaching come first and everything else is taken care of second.
How has living in Thailand changed me? I feel that I am a more patient person than before, which is a great asset in a place such as Surat. I like having my weekends off and having time to do my own thing, such as my extra voluntary classes I do three times a week for those who have the desire to learn English but not the bank account to pay for lessons. I have also discovered some great places to spend my weekends; my favourite is Khao Sok National Park. Angela calls it the ‘haven of relaxation’ and that sums it up pretty well.
I am very happy living in Surat and working for Super English, so much so that I have agreed to stay on another year. As the old saying goes – if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it.
Without any more rambling, here are my top 5’s!
Top 5 silly things your kids might say in the classroom:
- I like coke in the evening (self explanatory)
- They are tripping at a party (when asked “What are they doing at a party?”)
- He has a brown shit (supposed to be shirt)
- My brother likes to watch XXX (I hear this a lot in my second SE class)
- I eat poop in the toilet (I hear this a lot in my first SE class)
Top 5 substitution:
(Surat is not like Bangkok – there are many things you just cannot get here, especially western food products).
- Cheers beer for Victoria Bitter (it’s actually pretty close!)
- Pork for beef (I miss steak and lamb soooo much!)
- A bicycle for my Honda Civic (the performance isn’t quite the same….)
- Siam Commercial Bank for Commonwealth Bank (They still use passbooks over here – how quaint!)
- Teaching English for Conference & Event Management (one is a fun job, the other isn’t – no prizes for guessing which is which)
Top 5 bad habits I have gotten into during my time here:
- Saying ‘OK krap’ like Thai people
- Riding my bike the wrong way down the street
- Eating lollies (candy) – I rarely ate lollies in Oz and for some reason I’m buying a packet every week here
- Being lazy on weekends (I’m making up for lost time as I spent almost ten years working in restaurants)
- Being addicted to inhalers (I seem to always have one up my nose – still, it’s not the worst thing you can put up there…)