THAILAND: Teaching & Pastoral Care

Thailand

Adventure Overview:

  • 1 year
  • 2 Years

For anyone who has ever dreamt of living abroad and enjoying sunshine, white beaches, living amongst some of the world's most hospitable people and absorbing an enchanting new culture then Thailand holds the key to unlocking this amazing new life for you.

This opportunity can provide you with a fantastic experience of life and education in a completely new context. Working alongside dedicated staff and helping to inspire eager students, you will find that your time in this amazing country is filled with warmth and beauty in more ways than one. We are looking for volunteers to serve in Thailand for periods of one to two years.

You would be based in private Christian schools helping to teach the local children and encouraging them to improve their spoken English. These bright, enthusiastic youngsters have no problems picking up the vocabulary and they study the grammar rigorously. Where they experience problems is in developing fluency through conversation. They have no one to practice with who can correct their pronunciation and encourage them to explore new topics of conversation. Would you like to help?

Spending time with Thai students, encouraging them to speak English, is a unique gift that does not require any special knowledge of the Thai language (although you will receive language tuition yourself). The trust and respect that is built through shared conversation also encourages the students to talk about their lives, their beliefs, and their hopes for the future. This is not only an opportunity for you to teach, but also for you to invest in young lives - as with all children worldwide they struggle with the same issues in life. You can play a unique part in their lives as someone who is more than just a teacher, but someone who can engage with them on a new level, encouraging them, building their self-esteem and helping them to realise their true potential.

No teaching experience is required as you will be "team teaching" alongside an experienced Thai teacher. However, as this is a teaching role you would need to be a college graduate (subject is no matter) and English must be your first language (mother tongue). You should also be familiar with the rules of English grammar. We can provide the opportunity to gain a TESOL / TEFL (Teachers of English to Students of Other Languages) qualification for all those who do not currently have such a qualification (not included in fee). Of course if you already have a teaching qualification, or TEFL / TESOL qualification this is a bonus.

What is Included?

  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • 24 / 7 Support
  • Training
  • Adventure Package
  • Stipend
  • Information Pack
  • Accommodation: During your time in Thailand you will have your own room, in most schools this will either be in an apartment or share of a house. You may share your living space and kitchen area with other volunteers depending on the school. The accommodation is simple Thai provision, butevery effort is made to make this as comfortable as possible.
  • Food: On the days where you are teaching you will eat in the school as meals are provided. A food allowance is then provided for you to purchase food locally. Ingredients are fresh and varied, so there should be no shortage of new recipes to try - your new friends will be eager to teach you traditional Thai recipes too!
  • Stipend: In addition to your food allowance & accommodation, you will also receive a personal allowance of €240 (equivalent) on a monthly basis. This is equivalent to a beginning teacher’s salary in Thailand and as the cost of living is much lower in Thailand your stipend will go a lot further.
  • Training: All volunteers setting out on an adventure with us receive pre-departure training to help you prepare for the experience ahead. This training covers all the areas you need to think about before you pack your bags. It gives you time to focus and prioritise, and provides you with the knowledge and information you need in order to have a safe, fulfilling and enjoyable adventure. On arrival at your project you will also receive orientation training which will help you to better understand the local culture and support you as you find your way around this new country. On your return we will also support you as you readapt to life back home. We encourage you to keep in contact with us and consider opportunities for you to stay connected to the work you have been part of with Agapé. In addition to all of this training you will also receive a comprehensive welcome pack full of useful information on your project, the country and the culture, as well as detailed safety and communication lists.
  • Support: Agapé Adventures respects that each person is unique, and thus has different needs, and we endeavour to meet those genuine needs as effectively as we can. All volunteers are supported by Agapé every step of the way. You will be allocated a line manager to assist you in the day to day aspects of your adventure and staff at Agapé’s main base who will be available 24/7 for any out of hours emergencies. All staff involved in supporting you, work together to provide coordinated, personal and professional support throughout your adventure. 
  • Adventure Package: During your time in project we will coordinate an exiting adventure package for you. Where possible we try to tailor this to your interests, otherwise this will be a group event with other volunteers. A time to do something completely different and enjoy the country in which you're living in a whole new way! Here in Ireland the adventure package will be discussed with you all as a group during the first few months of your time in project. 
  • Airport Collection & Drop Off:  When you land into the airport we will make sure that someone is there to meet you and bring you to your project base. We will also provide assistance in returning you to the airport at the end of your time to help you take back all those gifts you've picked up along the way! 

What Isn't Included

  • Visa
  • Flights
  • Insurance

What will I do?:

While Thailand has been teaching English to its children for decades, it has not been considered a priority until now. Thailand is now a member of ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and has signed an agreement to join with nine other Southeast Asian nations to open a diplomatic and economic community similar to the European Union in the year 2015. The only language that these ten nations share is English, yet Thailand ranks ninth among the ten nations of ASEAN in its use of the English language.  If this situation does not improve in Thailand, young adults will have difficulty obtaining employment in the future. Mature adults are also at risk from competition entering from other countries.

This is why the focus on conversational English is so important, and your role in the lives of these young people will have a positive impact for many generations to come.

The 26 schools are located throughout the country. There are four in Bangkok, a large city of several million people.  There are also four in Chiang Mai, a large city of about one million. Smaller cities have one or two schools.  Some schools are in rural communities, but none are in isolated villages. Most schools are affiliated with a nearby  Christian church and are a visible, active part of community life. While some schools may have students from wealthy families, all the schools work to include children from poorer families and marginalized groups. This is more evident in the rural schools than in the city schools.  The 26 schools have a combined enrolment of more than 60,000 students and range in size from 65 students to over 6,000 students.

These beautiful schools around Thailand provide a wealth of education and support for children aged from 5 years to 18 years of age. The first of the schools was established in 1852 by missionaries to Thailand, situated on the banks of the Chao Praya River in Bangkok. Since then the number of Christian schools has grown to 26 throughout the country. Fewer than half of the students are Christians, and the population in general is 95% Buddhist. The schools are open to all, but would have predominantly a Christian ethos to their foundation, and many staff would also be Christian.

All of the schools have a very good reputation for their standards of education and general conduct.

Thai students study grammar extensively, but they have few opportunities to practice speaking English with others. Whilst in project you will help to initiate conversations, engage in songs, games and other activities to improve knowledge of and fluency in speaking English.

Your primary role will be to work in the English department of your assigned school.

You will work alongside a Thai teacher to help with interpretation and class control.  Most volunteers will have 18-22 class hours, but will work as a team with a Thai teacher of English. Team teaching is emphasised for several reasons:
To help those with no teaching experience to learn from their more experienced Thai partners
To help you to bridge the language barrier in maintaining class discipline, reporting grades, having conferences with parents, and
To help Thai teachers of English improve their English language abilities (especially speaking)

The Office of Education Ministry believes the development of the Thai teacher’s ability to use English is critical to the success of the program and the future of the school. Such teacher development, whether through team teaching or seminars, will continue to benefit the school long after you have left - what a great legacy!

In addition to teaching,  other duties may include such things as assisting with English Camps, Christian Education classes, and other tasks through the year.

Ideally you need to be someone who loves cross-cultural experiences and adapts easily to new and different circumstances. You need to have sensitivity to other people, an avid curiosity about other cultures and customs, an openness to people of all faith backgrounds, but being comfortable with your own faith, and the ability to be creative and to laugh at yourself are other highly desirable qualities!

It is important to note that as all of the schools were established as a ministry of the Church of Christ in Thailand, a secondary aspect of your role will be to support those children who have a Christian faith, as they are in the minority and often look to teachers for support in their development and understanding. We do therefore ask that applicants come from  a local home parish - although denomination is not important.

The Local Area

Friendly and fun-loving, exotic and tropical, cultured and historic, Thailand beams with a lustrous hue from its gaudy temples and golden beaches to the ever-comforting Thai smile.

Thailand's beaches are mythical: tall palms angle over pearlescent sand, coral gardens flourish in the shallow seas and beach parties are liberally lubricated with alcohol and fun. With a long coastline (well, actually, two coastlines) and jungle-topped islands anchored in azure waters, Thailand is a tropical getaway for the hedonist and the hermit, the prince and the pauper. And in between the kissing cousins of sea and sky are dramatic limestone mountains standing sentinel. This paradise offers a varied menu of playing in the gentle surf of Bang Saphan Yai, diving with whale sharks in Ko Tao, scaling the sea cliffs of Krabi, learning to kiteboard in Hua Hin, recuperating at a health resort in Ko Samui and feasting on the beach wherever sand meets sea.

No matter what draws you to the country first, a Thai meal will keep you hooked. Adored around the world, Thai cuisine expresses fundamental aspects of Thai culture: it is generous and warm, outgoing and nuanced, refreshing and relaxed. And it is much more delicious in its native setting. Each Thai dish relies on fresh and local ingredients – from pungent lemongrass and searing chillies to plump seafood and crispy fried chicken. With a tropical abundance, a varied national menu is built around the four fundamental flavours: spicy, sweet, salty and sour. And then there are the regional differences, which propel travellers on an eating tour of Bangkok noodle shacks, seafood pavilions in Phuket, Burmese market stalls in Mae Hong Son, and luscious tropical fruit everywhere. Cooking classes reveal the simplicity behind the seemingly complicated dishes and mastering the markets becomes an important skill.

Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand#ixzz2a06wKvFj

Map of the Area

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