Just Say Yes

by Chris Ansell

I don’t remember much from the introductory meeting John, Janet, Chris and I had when we first arrived last October, but one thing Peter mentioned stood out.

Just say “yes”.

Back then I was a nervous Chris. I was nervous about the job. I was nervous about meeting new people. I was even nervous about simply going out for food having a lonely “Sa wat dee Kup” in my Thai repertoire.

By saying “yes” to a variety of things however, my time in Surat has been the most exciting and memorable of my life so far.

The most valuable part of saying “yes” is the friends you will make through it and the authentic Thai experience you will experience through them. You will undoubtedly make some close friends amongst the Super English teachers as well as those teachers working for other language schools. I feel my experience has been completed though, through my Thai friends. Most of the Thai I can speak is thanks to them and knowing a little Thai can get you a long way as a farang.

Pooey and PeeSak are unquestionably my best Thai friends. They are owners of my favourite restaurant in town, Earth Zone. Pooey is a great chef and is always excited for me to try new recipes and various Thai delicacies that you can’t get in the UK. Lately it has been the pink eggs you see everywhere which are actually black in the middle and should be eaten with onion and garlic, as well as Pigs stomach. I have learnt to say “yes” to anything Pooey puts in front of me. I’m waiting for her to put one of the waitresses on a plate but am losing hope of this 😉

A month or two ago Moss and I were the last customers in the restaurant and were sitting at the bar having just paid the bill. It was getting late and I sensed Moss wanting to leave. We were momentarily halted however when we noticed Peesak holding a big jar of what looked like a coiled up snake in brown earthy water. My fear of snakes automatically made me reel back from the bar but having been reassured it was actually a root of some kind of tree or plant I hesitantly returned to my seat. Apparently this concoction was a traditional Thai whiskey that had been developing in the jar for over 5 years. According to Pooey, and Pooey’s mother, and Pooey’s mother’s mother and well yeah you get the point, this powerful drink can cure pains in your back. After a good 5 minutes of giggling and gesticulating Pooey also revealed it is good for a man’s member and offered Moss and I a shot. We could have said “no, sorry, it’s late and we’re pretty tired” and I thought this would be Moss’ response but we chose the other response, the response I would recommend you saying however unsure, nervous or apprehensive you may be about anything. An hour later Moss and I stumbled out of Earth Zone with big smiles on our faces and big, well, err, yes.

I have had some fantastic days out with Pooey, Peesak and their two adorable children Kaofan and Gong. We pent a morning painting on Ko Lampoo and playing in the park as well as a day at a Chinese temple and market. Through my friendship with them I have made friends with some of their friends, one of whom is a talented artist and another whom owns a number of Surat’s crazy nightclubs. Last night we had VIP treatment at Bar Code, drinking the best whiskey in the house and dancing the night away. All of this because I said yes when they invited me to their table at Earth Zone a while ago.

I am glad that what Peter said when I first arrived stuck in my head and would urge you to have a similar mindset throughout your time here.

Journal Entry 3

by Brittney Johnson

I’m in my 7th week in Surat. Wow, almost 2 months! Time is flying! I must say, Surat is starting to feel more and more like home. I’m thinking about my “other home” (Texas) less and less. I spent last weekend at an amazing beach called Railay (an beautiful island off of Krabi). It’s about 3 hours away from Surat and it’s one of the most magnificent places I’ve ever been to. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that these beautiful destinations are so accessible from Surat. Just hop on a cheap bus, an hour to 3 hours later, you are in one of the world’s most beautiful destinations.

Victoria observed one of my P2 classes at Thida. I was a little nervous, but I tried to teach exactly how I was without her there. I was really excited about getting some feedback and positive criticism, to make sure I have been on the right path. It’s easy to get in a routine and not even realize that you have strayed from what you were taught to do in the classroom. She said that all of the elements are there I just need to refine some things. For example, I should ask more individual questions to students instead of by teams. I should fully demonstrate an activity myself (acting goofy and really get into it) and THEN have the students do it. I should organize group activities by teams, instead of mixing the teams together, and then I can give points to specific teams. But overall, she said I’m doing a great job, just need a bit more organization in the classroom, but that will come with practice and time.

So I’m happy with what she had to say. I really do want to become a good teacher! Teaching is much more rewarding and satisfying when you are doing a good job! When actually see your students LEARNING and having FUN, teaching is a wonderful job!

She is going to observe my Super English SL7 class later this week. I’m excited/nervous about her being in that class. It is my most difficult class. The students are a rowdy bunch. It’s hard to keep them actively engaged and quiet. I don’t feel like I’ve found an effective way to manage the class yet. They still need to be disciplined in a way that works. Without that, I don’t feel like they are learning as much as they should be. So it has been a bit frustrating for me. I’m used to really disciplined students in Korea. Thai students are a bit more unruly. But I know I can find a way, it can be done! So I’m really looking forward to getting ideas and feedback from Victoria about how to do this. She was their teacher before me and she did a great job with this class. Hopefully I can get there one day.

This is our first full week in over a month. We have had so many holidays and days off. There’s only 6 weeks left in the semester. This is when we need to really give it our all and finish strong! As the saying goes at SE, we need to “wow them at the end!” So that’s what I plan on doing. I really want to finish on a strong note this semester. I’ll keep you updated as to how it’s going. Stay tuned…

Teaching in Korea

by Brittney Johnson

I taught at a private language school (hagwan) in South Korea from November 08-November 09. It was an “interesting” experience. I did a lot of research and filtering through to try to find the most fitting position. It was my first teaching job so I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I was job searching, I had an instant connection with my future co-worker. She answered all of my questions via email. It seemed like a pretty good deal, so I decided to take it.

The thing with taking a job overseas before you actually get there is that there is a possibility for you to find that it isn’t quite what you thought it would be.

I taught daily kindergarten and elementary students from 9-2pm, in which I would see them everyday. Then in the afternoon I would teach from 3-6pm kindergarten and elementary students. The afternoon students would either come twice a week or 3 times a week. The class sizes were small, 10 kids max. We shared our classes with a Korean teacher, but they weren’t physically in the class with us. We rotated between the 2 of us. So the kids would spend 40 minutes with a foreign teacher and then 40 minutes with the Korean teacher.

I worked from 9-6pm Monday-Friday. However, even if our classes finished at 4pm, we had to stay until 6pm. The most classes taught per day were 9. On average I taught 6-8 classes a day. Our base salary was 2.3 million won (currently converts to about $2,000 USD). My base salary was based on 25 hours per week, any classes over that was considered overtime. So, some months my paycheck was quite high, close to $3,000.

The school paid for my round-trip airfare upon completion of my 1-year contract. My contract also included a pension fund, 1-month severance, multi-entry working visa, health insurance and private accommodation.

We had quite a bit of paper work. We had to make detailed lesson plans for each class, everyday. We wrote in student’s green books everyday (communication with the parents). In addition, we had to write monthly report cards for each student. This involved marking and writing about each student’s progress for that month. The foreign teachers also had to perform monthly evaluations on our daily morning students. This involved asking the student a set of standard questions to see how much they had improved from the previous month. And we also had a longer 6-month evaluation for our daily morning students as well. Depending on how many classes I had, I would say on average I spent between 1-2 hours a day on paperwork. However, if it was the end of the month we would stay after for about 4 hours to do our evaluation and report cards. Everything was handwritten until the end of my contract. We finally started getting in to typed paper work, which made things faster. None of our paperwork was ever checked. It was all up to the teachers to make sure everything got done. Luckily, we were all teachers that had integrity and we cared about our students.

We taught a variety of subjects to our daily morning students: grammar, science, physical education, math, art, reading, etc. The mother company of our school wrote and produced the core curriculum we followed. We followed a strict schedule for each class’s curriculum. There was a set of 10 books for the main classes. In addition, we had math books, art books, reading books, etc. Our curriculum was based on having fun and being able to experience the actual learning of English. We had to order a lot of materials and crafts (paid for by the school). So, for example, we would teach the word “dirty.” I would order fake mud 1 week prior to teaching the class, and then the students would put their hands in the mud and wipe their hands on paper to make a picture with their “dirty” hands. The kids had so much fun and they learned the word by “experiencing” it. But, with that being said, we didn’t have to “create” our own lessons. Everything we taught was explained in our teacher’s manual. The teacher’s guide actually gave us instructions on how to teach the lesson. So, even though some of our lessons were “fun,” it involved no creativity from the teachers.

We also took monthly field trips, which included going to the movies, sledding, picnic, library, park, etc. We had free printing at our school, so we would print worksheets and make photocopies in the teacher’s office.

A Korean family owned my hagwan. The daughter was the director but she was not very accessible. Basically, the teachers had to figure out and coordinate everything ourselves. Toward the end of my contract we got a Korean supervisor. She helped to organize things, but communication was still lacking. I was head foreign teacher and we had a head Korean teacher. There were lots of inefficient and unproductive things that the teachers had to do. There were high expectations but with little or no feedback, support or follow up from the management. There was usually only communication if something was wrong (which could have been avoided entirely if there had been open communication in the first place).

One thing that was good and bad was that there was no one hovering over the teachers. I never once had anyone observe me. It was nice because we had freedom to teach how we wanted to. But for new teachers, it would be beneficial to have some sort of positive criticism, but there was nothing.

I learned a lot my first year teaching in Asia. Prior to teaching in Korea, I had little or no contact or interaction with kids. I had always felt awkward around them. Korea made me realize that I actually love being around kids. They are so resilient and loving. That’s why I came to Thailand! Teaching in Thailand is quite different than teaching in Korea. Korean kids are very disciplined. Some kids go to school from 9am-10pm. There is a lot of pressure put on them. I hope I was able to be a bit of fresh air to my students. I tried to mix in a bit of fun into their daily stressful lives.

It’s definitely an adjustment being in Thailand, but I’m enjoying the challenge.

…We’d All Ride for Free

by Brian Steinbach

Unfathomable as it may seem, we’re imperfect in our ability to predict and estimate our possible needs and even potential shortcomings. Yet the most effective defense is that we do our best to anticipate every roadblock and deliver an experience as bump free as possible. So we plan, plan, and plan some more, but the end result is inevitably that something has gone unforeseen (whether due to our own oversight or others). Ultimately I can only report on my own missteps during the first one and half months here in Surat. So use this as a supplemental guide to your own plans knowing that you will have your own list of things that made you go “oh…” in your first weeks in Thailand.

***Note: I am a first time international traveler out of the states. There are moments ahead that prompt a well deserved, “duh” response in this article. I apologize for those in advance.

In descending order (most important to least):

1st- Coffee, Chocolate, Beer (There’s a joke in there)-

They don’t exist here. Well, that’s a bit of a lie. But the coffee is all instant coffee, often with powdered creamer and sugar pre-mixed in. Beer options are extremely limited, and chocolate is often not what you’d expect (international recipe to keep it from melting or something). As far as, “wish I had known advice”, I don’t have any on the chocolate and beer front. As for the coffee, I did have the foresight to bring my own French press, coffee grinder, and 5lb bag of coffee beans. Though, be warned on the coffee. If customs decides to go through your bag, they may decide to dump out your coffee into your bag with all of your clothes (Though irritating, I could think of worse things than reeking of coffee for the first week in Surat).

-Note: Rest assured, the superb food does what it can to make up for that which we’re deprived.

1st (seriously)- Phones-

I didn’t think I would be using a phone while in Thailand. I canceled my phone service and opted for using Skype as my communication mainstay while abroad. Two realizations came up in lieu of this plan; the readily available and easily acquired SIM card, easily replenished with credit for purchase at any 7/11 (which are as common as Star Bucks in a large city back home); and the lack of Internet access in Super English housing (See #2).

First, if you’re 100% unfamiliar with SIM cards, and buying credit for them, one of the teachers will show hook you up when you arrive (My roommate did). So don’t worry on that front. For the most part, these phones are for contacting Peter, other teachers, and other friends you’ve met around town. You can chat back home, but it’s a bit steeper at something like 5 baht a minute (I recommend Skype for those calls if at all possible). Still, for emergencies, your family should be able to contact you in a pinch.

Have an iPhone?: You can get your iPhone set up with a local Sim card. But make sure to bring your original Sim card. I did not, and had to send for it after I bricked my phone (I won’t explain here, but bring the original SIM as a precaution if you fancy using the phone here).

2nd – Internet in Super English Housing-

I knew that Internet was not provided through our housing, but I didn’t know that it was out of the question to work something out through the landlord. The Internet is a pretty large staple in modern communication. And when you plan on using Skype to stay connected back home, and considering hour differentials (12 hours for me), it makes staying in touch a bit cumbersome. There are at least three Internet coffee shops between my house and work, and Internet is always available at the SE office. But that means you have to do your communicating/ Internet work during those available hours (ie. If the coffee shop closes at 6:00 P.M…).

So, that’s a big one to keep in mind. Communication isn’t impossible, and Internet access certainly isn’t scarce. It just takes some planning for you, and those you’re contacting back home.

Note from Peter: Since we rent all the houses for our teachers, we cannot install internet there. It is ultimately up to the landlord, since it is their name on the house and address. They usually say “no” because they don’t want to end up with any problems. So a landline internet connection at the SE houses won’t happen. However, some teachers have gone around this hurdle by connecting to the internet via their cell phone. They have hooked their phone up to their computer and gotten an internet connection from that. It probably wasn’t fast enough for Skype, but they were able to check their email, watch Youtube, etc. So internet in SE housing is possible, but it won’t be dsl speed.

3rd- Credit/Debit/Banking info-

Prior to leaving, I visited my bank to make sure they knew that I would be in Thailand for the next year. The purpose being so that they wouldn’t cancel my cards when they noticed someone 12 hours away from where I normally am bought mass amounts of sweet, sweet macaroni and cheese (rare) at some unlikely place in Thailand. It’s a good idea, and I advise you still do it. That said, I have not used my credit or debit card once in the two months I’ve been here (think of them as for emergencies).

I can still pay bills online and, should I wish to, make online purchases with my accounts back home. However, you will be setting up your own bank account in Surat Thani after you get your work permit all sorted out. The SE staff basically does this for you. All you have to do is be there to sign the papers. This can take a couple months (still waiting on mine to go through). I did not realize that I wouldn’t be able to put money in and out of my accounts back home with ease (and charge free). This one isn’t too big a deal; it’s just something I wasn’t aware of prior to arriving. While you wait for your permit, you’ll be hoarding what money you did bring with you (and any paychecks you earn along the way) in little tin cups buried in the yard.

4th- Small things-

  1. “God save the Quality pants!” – I brought exactly two pairs of black pants for work, and on day one, forgot to roll up my pant legs when getting on my bike for work. The end result was a very unpleasant ripping sound on day one. I learned my lesson. Still…bring a small sewing kit.
  2. Arrival/Departure Slip: This happened to another teacher, but it very easily could have happened to me. On your flight into Bangkok, or at customs, you will receive a couple small forms that you fill out. They state you’re arrival, and where you’re staying, as well as your departure info, etc. You will give the arrival slip to customs, and YOU NEED TO HOLD ONTO THE DEPARTURE ONE. For Wen’s sake (she’s doing all your work permit stuff). In other words, don’t throw it away. You’ll end up having to drive back out to the airport to get a replacement.
  3. TukTuk Drivers/ Some Vendors: You are a tourist in the eyes of most. Especially early on in your stay. This means that you look like you have gobs and gobs of money to many of the locals. So, a 10-20 baht TukTuk ride will suddenly be 40-50 baht. Or that bushel of bananas that was 10 baht will be 40 baht. Learn some of the Thai lingo early to avoid this occurrence. You will not be able to convince everyone, at which point you either pay them off or walk away.

Note: I did not realize there would be as much of a teacher/tourist divide when I first arrived. It’s not quite hostility, but we’re not fond of seeing tourists (oversized backpacks, touristy clothing, etc) meandering around the night market and other places we frequent. Surat is mostly touristfree, which keeps our costs lower than the tourist areas. I didn’t know how to take the weird anti-stance on tourism by fellow teachers at first, but it quickly becomes something you adopt and try to keep your distance from.

Packing Hindsight, or Things I should/shouldn’t have brought:

  1. I brought too many socks. A friend told me that good socks could be hard to find, but I think I went a little overboard. Seriously, pretty much no one wears shoes here unless they’re teaching. You don’t have to take your shoes off before going into every building or store, but it happens enough to the point that even my Velcro sandals seem inconvenient at times. Bring a couple weeks worth of work socks, but I wouldn’t bring more than a week of casual socks in the event that you go hiking. Maybe in six months I’ll be glad I brought this many socks. But right now, all I can think is that I could have packed another book or two in place of the abundance of white socks.
  2. I wish I had brought a small jump drive (usb memory stick). I brought my external hard drive, but bringing a small memory stick completely slipped my mind. You can buy them here, but it’s something small enough, to where there’s no reason not to bring it from back home for just the sake of making things easier. There have been about a dozen times so far where trading/moving files has come up, where I’ve just been up the proverbial creek until I finally go out and find one.
  3. I wish I’d either brought one more power adapter, or one fewer items that required a power adapter. The voltage here is 220. Most high-end electronics will be compatible with the 220 (laptops, most digital cameras, and some shavers, etc). But make sure you check the power chords on your stuff. If it doesn’t say up to 220, then think about whether it you really need it, or if it’s something you can pick up for a reasonably cheap price over here. Right now the only things I have are an electric beard trimmer, a coffee grinder, and a wireless mouse. I’ve only used the coffee grinder thus far, but the converter is kind of an irritating thing to move around the house. It’s up to you.
  4. I wish I had taken that free motorcycle safety/riding course that I told everyone I was going to take…but then ended up being “too busy”. Stupid.
  5. I wish I had downloaded more television shows that I had never seen before. I have a fair amount, but severely overestimated my ability to find stable Internet connections to download more stuff. Load up your hard drives with music, movies, and television people.***
  6. I wish all of my pants fit. I was teaching back in the states last fall, and lost a good amount of weight during the spring. As a result of just grabbing all of my work pants, at least two pairs are too large (this is a duh…). Wasted bag space for the lose.
  7. I kind of wish (though kind of glad I didn’t) I had brought a little more spending money with me for my first two months in Surat Thani. I arrived one week into July, and didn’t start teaching until August. This means my first check comes at the end of August. It will be a full month, but it doesn’t leave much in the way of weekend travel money. Don’t get me wrong though. I only brought about six hundred U.S. dollars (about 20-21,000 baht), and that was more than enough to last me for seven weeks. That includes one four-day weekend to Khao Sok (among tourist options, it’s one of the cheaper, but I dropped about 3500 baht there and back). So, yeah. Money goes far. I’ve had to pass up a few opportunities to travel due to budgeting, but there’s plenty to do in Surat during your first two months getting acclimated. I also imagine that most people won’t be here for nearly two months before there first paycheck. That said; bring more if you fancy traveling a lot in your first few weeks. Otherwise, you’ll probably be fine come first paycheck.

That’s pretty much on my “Wish someone had told me” list. If you’re curious about what I did bring (and not just my regrets), see my “Preparing for Thailand” article on the SE website. And with that, I’ll say good luck, and happy planning.

What I wish I had known before coming to Thailand…

by John Phelps

Coming to Thailand, I brought my own fifteen kilogram set of misunderstandings and preconceived notions packed neatly in my carry-on. Slowly over the past year, up to the writing of this completely non-exhaustive article, I have gathered a few bits of info that I wish I had packed.

First, it is incredibly beneficial to learn the flat-footed squat. If you are working and backpacking in South East Asia, you will find the porcelain trench in the ground at times staring up at you when you are dreaming of a nice white throne. Perhaps some yoga would be helpful to stretch the appropriate muscles, so you don’t end up minding your business details in a very nitty-gritty fashion. As a side note, a bathroom with toilet paper is a rarity. An even more extreme rarity is one that provides hand washing soap. You can find luxurious multiple ply toilet paper and hand sanitizer in shops here, so don’t be too worried. And in the end, we have all defecated on our own shoes. Don’t be too embarrassed when it happens to you.

Someone told someone, who told me, “say ‘yes’ as much as possible.” This is definitely true when meeting Thai friends and neighbors here. I initially thought it more polite to say I have already eaten when my neighbors invited me to their table. I assumed they were asking only out of courtesy, but it turns out it is impolite to turn down an invitation to eat or drink when it is offered. Always take a bite or sip (often they offer you a sip out of their own cup, which you are to hand back) to show friendship. Conversely, if you have something to drink or eat, offer it. After sitting on his porch a few nights, a neighbor offered to drive a group of us to the hot springs on the outskirts of Surat. We said yes, and he treated us to an amazing day of scalding hot water and mud bathing. We have been good friends with that neighbor ever since.

Lastly, a sincere smile will carry you incredibly far in Thailand. I have had a few conflicts with the Thai teachers that I work with in the classroom. For instance, in Thai culture, it is not impolite to talk while someone else is talking. Thus, it is OK in a few Thai teachers’ minds to teach some other material while you are conducting your English lesson. Setting the smile to stun and making eye contact, I can do one of two things that I otherwise could not. One, I get in the teacher’s immediate space and overwhelm them with the volume of my voice until they give up. Two, I sit down and take a water break. Almost always, the power struggle ends quickly with them handing the class back over. The best part is that everyone walks away happy. On vacation, a smile and a few words of Thai may drop you from the tourist price to the almost-Thai price bracket. Arguing about how Thais pay less will not earn you any points, though they may begrudgingly lower it a little. But smile and be respectful, and you’ve had a good experience while getting a better price.

Til soon,


Welcoming New Teachers

by Janet Phelps

I felt cared for by Super English from the moment I stepped off the plane into the warm, humid air of Surat Thani.

Wait, that’s not right. SE is a company, a school. It was the people at SE, the staff and the managers who made me feel immediately at home here.

SE Thai staff manager Wen was waiting at the airport with our names on a sign. She smiled and asked us how our trip was. Then, she took us out to lunch, brought us home, took us to the grocery store, bought us our phones and our bicycles.

Our first housemate Emily organized a welcome dinner and showed us around town. She took us everywhere with her for the first few days we were here. Got us oriented, helped us learn our way around.

SE owner Peter took us out for breakfast. He gave us advice as first-year teachers and took us on excursions around town. He offered us training for our first week and made listening to our ideas part of that experience. He picked us up on our first weekend and took us to the bus station, showed us how to take the bus to the beach.

SE manager Victoria and her partner Vee had us over for dinner or to play cards many times. They showed us where to get food and helped us with all of the details of adjusting to a new country. Vic talked us through our first day of classes and helped us whenever issues came up.

If it wasn’t for those people who stepped in when we first got here, my husband John and I would have felt alone and strange in this new place. But because of the intentional kindness of so many people, we were welcomed into a sincerely friendly experience which made us immediately happy to be here.

John and I are now a year into our contract at SE. We would never have agreed to stay on another year if it wasn’t for the wonderful welcome we received. And because it meant so much to us, we’re committed to making sure every single new teacher has as good of an experience as we did when we first got here.

When you get off the plane, there will be someone waiting for you. You will have housing waiting for you, and friends to show you around. Whenever you have a question, need advice or want to talk, someone will be here for you. When things get tough, SE will support you and make sure you’re being taken care of.

I’ve seen it happen over and over again with each new staff member becoming part of the welcoming crew. So I know it’s true.

Journal Entry 2

by Brittney Johnson

So I’ve been in Surat Thani 1 month today. And I must say, it keeps getting better and better. I definitely feel much more settled, starting to feel more comfortable teaching, have met some really cool people…things are looking up. I just got back from Khanom, the closest beach to Surat. It’s about 1 hour away and it’s beautiful!

It’s been an adjustment getting used to having 55 students in a classroom at Thida. I teach 3 P2 English Intensive Program classes a day. I see the kids every day for 1 hour. 55 sounds like a big number, but honestly, in the classroom it doesn’t feel like that many. I have a wonderful Thai co-teacher that helps with discipline. It’s a lot of fun teaching those classes! The kids are well behaved and they like learning English when we make it fun!

I am finding my 2 classes at Super English to be a bit more challenging than my morning Thida classes. It’s ironic because my Thida classes are 3 times as big. My first class at SE is SL4 kids, age ranging from 4 years to 13 years old. My 2nd class is SL7, age ranging from 8 years to 16 years old. As you can see, there is quite a wide range in ages, so it’s been challenging to make it appealing, fun and effective for everyone. I don’t think it’s possible to always achieve this. I’m also adjusting to the way we plan our lessons and enforce them in the classroom. But, I can definitely see an improvement in all of these areas, especially in the last few days. One thing that has really made a difference is that I am really getting to KNOW my students. I am getting to know their personalities, what they like and don’t like, how to discipline certain students, etc. This makes such a difference! Every student is different, so we have to treat each one differently! I have a stronger connection with my SE students than with my Thida students and that is due to the smaller classroom size. I’m thoroughly enjoying getting to know them!

The main areas I need to improve on are being creative in planning my lessons, totally letting go & being a complete goof in class (at certain times), and how to discipline my older kids. I am used to packing in and covering everything that needs to get taught in class, rather than focusing on making the lesson FUN. But we don’t teach like that at SE. We try to make it as fun as possible at first, and let the learning come after…and it WILL come. This is backwards for me…so I am trying to adjust to this concept. If I let loose & be a complete dork in class, then the students will feel comfortable and not be shy or “too cool.” They would be more likely to participate if I, the teacher, were doing it too. This is especially true with my older students. They may think they are too old for a certain lesson that the younger students are in to, but if I do it myself and I’m 28 years old, then hopefully they would think it’s okay for them to do it as well. I’m getting there.

And I know once I get there, teaching is going to be fun, effective and rewarding. I’ve already seen results from what I’ve taught my students in the short time I’ve been here. They have actually understood and “learned” what I taught them! How exciting!