Becoming a Certified Teacher
After saying goodbye to my friends and family I landed in Thailand at the end of February. Green Heart Travel arranged a hotel in Bangkok and a driver to pick me up at the airport. I stayed in Amsterdam for a week before coming to Thailand for two reasons; I loved Amsterdam on that Europe trip and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to smoke any weed in Asia so I wanted to go back to Amsterdam. It also worked out to adjust to the time difference between Thailand and the west coast of America which is 15 hours! I was able to slowly adjust in Amsterdam so Thailand wasn’t a huge adjustment. Bangkok is massive and the hotel they put us all in was very nice and I had a good view of the city. When I got to my room I couldn’t believe that I was actually doing this. I left all the familiar behind and was embarking on something completely new and exciting.
That weekend I met everyone else who were on this adventure who also left their family and friends. We were just a bunch of strangers in a foreign country about to become certified teachers to teach English to the kids of this new country. The course was down in Hua Hin which is a beach city south of Bangkok. The first week was learning about Thai culture and the customs. We also did Thai language lessons, went to an elephant sanctuary, had a Thai cooking lesson and that first weekend we all went out to the Thai bars to celebrate our first week in Thailand. I loved it all and knew that I was on the right path.
We started the certification class the following Monday and it was three weeks of class all day. I could have gotten certified online but I wanted to do the class in person because I have never taught before and I needed someone there to teach me. Doing it online wouldn’t allow me the practice I wanted. The first day we already had homework and it was to come up with our very first lesson. My topic was exercise! We all had to present our lessons in front of everyone the next day. I worked on that thing all night and I was overthinking everything! The next day walking to class I was so nervous that when I withdrew money I left my ATM card in the machine. By the end of the three weeks I had a new one so it was fine. There was about 15 other people in this class and no one wanted to go first. It was really scary! When I finally got up there I was so scared. I don’t remember my whole lesson but I do remember that to start the lesson everyone had to stand up and I put them through a mini workout. I had them do jumping jacks and a little stretching. I was about to teach kids so I had to keep it fun and on their toes. We ended up doing four or five different lessons through this class and got feedback every time. By the end of this certification I felt confident that I could teach and make it fun for the kids.
While we were all in this certification class the people behind the scenes were setting up interviews and job placements for the next semester that was starting in May. I remember that I got an interview the same day I did my very first lesson plan! The first interview was just questions and basic stuff about the school. She asked if I wanted to work in Bangkok and I said no. I wanted a rural Thai experience. She also asked if I was willing to commit for two semesters instead of just one. I initially just wanted to do one semester in Thailand to see if I even liked teaching. Sort of a trial run. But being in Thailand already and I felt like I was on the right path I told her I could do that. One year in Thailand. The second interview was the following week after we all did a three day English camp. I was so nervous for that interview. I had to do a short lesson in front of this lady and at that point I have only done one lesson! The topic I had was family members and either adjectives or it was adverbs, I honestly don’t remember. The demo lasted for about 20 minutes and by the end I had an English teaching job in a town named Chaiyaphum. I was told that it was very small and hardly anyone spoke English. I didn’t care. That is the experience I wanted here. By the end of March of 2016 I was TESOL certified and had a job lined up for the next semester!