Preparing for English Camp- Volunteering In Thailand

Today I was once again left alone in school. By now this is not even remotely surprising anymore. During the morning i divide my time between years 3 and 4, and 5 and 6. And as usual we play games. One of their favourites is having me write words (ball, book, fan) on the board, dividing the class in two groups and call out the word while one person from each group races towards the board in order to circle the correct one. Just like the number game i played yesterday, but way more difficult for them as i realized they can’t actually read English.

They just memorize what it sounds like, scribble a map of the board in their notebook with the Thai spelling of the words and when they have to find a word it is mayhem, and completely random. It actually took me a while to realize they couldn’t read English, and to understand how difficult it actually is for them to play this game. Year 5 and 6 understand a bit better how our alphabet works, so it becomes much easier for them to play the game. But my very megalomaniac dreams of teaching them grammar is gone down the drain.

The reason why i was left alone again today was because 4 principles from neighbouring rural schools had come to have a meeting with Horm, to organize an English camp next week for about 200 students in the area. It is not really what you would expect from a camp, basically all students of the surrounding area come to our little school to learn English with me! I have no idea how this is going to work out. But Horm, who is always very kind, told me not to worry, it’s just good for them to meet farang.

So i did not have lunch with the kids today, but instead with the principals and teachers of the visiting schools. It was quite an interesting lunch. They all wanted to take pictures with me, commented on my beauty, the shape of my body, and other things that i couldn’t understand… To celebrate the end of this promising camp they will take me to karaoke next week. Judging by how much they love Thai pop music around here this will be quite an event.

I am now taking a break while Horm is teaching Thai to the kids. She told me that the teachers are quite happy about running the camp. And then she said something that I thought was really nice:

‘Look Non Ju, how they are very happy to study with you’.

The other principles were really impressed seeing the kids playing unafraid of a farang. She continued:

‘You know, they don’t have to know a lot and be at the top. I just want them to be happy’.

And I had to think how much other schools could learn from this little, tiny, poor school here in the Thai countryside.

As some of you have asked me whether you could send something to the school, here follows the address:

Ban Nonpho School
206 Moo 15 Ban Nongarm
Naphiang Sub-district
Chum Phae District
Khon Kaen Province
Thailand 40130

Please, don’t send anything big or expensive, because here everything is very simple. If you want you can send pencils, colour pencils, pictures, or a little book or maps (there are no maps in the school at all). But nothing much, they will appreciate anything. If you do, just write ‘from a friend of Kun Kru Ju’, and put your name as well.
I better go back to the class room, i am already behaving like a Thai school teacher (just leaving..:)

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