About two months ago I was placed in the position of teaching English to Thai elementary students, without any previous experience teaching children. The thought of standing in front of a classroom of students who don’t even speak my language was very intimidating, but, when we arrived on the first day with screaming and laughing children, I knew this would be a good experience.
The school is called San Sri, and it is a place where hill tribe kids and less fortunate Thai kids can get an education. I was put in a fifth grade classroom that seated fifteen to twenty students. Honestly, after the first day of teaching I didn’t think I could have survived two months of teaching. But, by the end of my internship I grew to love the kids, even though their sweaty heads and snotty fingers came far too close for comfort.
We were challenged, there were ups and downs, but the students made it all worth the while. There was this one girl who I got to work with a lot individually. The English name we gave her was Louise. She was a handful and loved attention. She wasn’t the best student, but when she finally understood what I was teaching, it was beautiful to see her face light up. On our last day together, I walked her home to Baan Ponsawan which is the boarding dormitory where most of the children live. Seeing her there with all those children and only two nuns watching over them is very humbling.
My favorite memory from the internship was walking the students to Baan Ponsawan. Walking past the rice paddies, holding the children’s hands and watching them carry the colorful flags, this was the moment to live in. The walk was two kilometers long and the paved roads were narrow. Fortunately, half way through a shop keeper put out cold water for the rambunctious kids. I found it interesting that most of the students were Christians, they pointed to their church that would speak in their native tongue. They also recited the Lord’s Prayer on the walk home.
The 7-week internship went by quickly and I am very grateful for this wonderful opportunity. I got to develop the skill of teaching, while investing in the lives of kids who need an older influence. I knew it was God’s purpose for me to be at this school. The kids helped me grow spiritually and mentally. I’ll never forget these memories.
Blog Post #7 was written by Pennapa Johnson (pictured above, right), sophomore Kinesiology major at the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota
To view the photos from this week please click on the following link: https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/104834353989728659069/albums/5986835203447393473