Why do we do this job and what do we get out of it?
Ask many EFL teachers what motivates them to teach in Thailand and invariably they will say, "The students! Whilst teaching in Thailand has its moments, nobody can deny the fun to be had from surrounding yourself with Thai smiles during your day. Some people prefer adult classes to young learner groups, but everyone usually agrees that Thai students are some of the most entertaining and rewarding students to teach in the world."
My thoughts exactly. So, you may ask, why did I give up teaching Thais and begin training foreign teachers, and what do I (and hopefully they, too) get out of the TEFL course here at TEXT-AND-TALK?
I believe it is because I find teaching and interacting with the Thai people so interesting that I enjoy helping my trainees learn to do the same themselves.
All of our trainers and trainees of our TEFL courses bring different qualities with them on day one, and like any class will have different areas in which they excel and different problems to overcome. But ask any trainee what they gained most out of our course and which area of study they found most interesting, and they will often say that learning about Thai students and their learning problems, combined with the experience of helping them overcome the problems in a practical manner, was fascinating.
Having been through our TEFL courses myself several years ago, I distinctly remember reading and studying Module 3, which looks at Thai and other Asian learner problems with the English language and helps explain to you why (and how) your students say the things they do in English. Having already been living in Thailand for a couple of years at the time, I thought I had learned many of these problems, but let’s just say it was an eye-opener for me. It was probably what I learned in this study that prompted me to begin studying the Thai language shortly after completing my TEFL course, something which I’ve done for several years now, resulting in my sitting (and passing) the infamous Thai government Thai language tests run once a year by the Ministry of Education.
I enjoy passing some of my knowledge and experience on to my trainees, but I will always have what I learned from our course Modules to thank for moulding me into the teacher of Thai students which I have become. It is equally fascinating to find out that these learner problems are indeed shared by many learners of English, not only elsewhere in Asia, but in fact around the world.
What is even more rewarding, however, is watching my trainees' eyes being opened to this same experience. People like myself who already have a love for, and experience with, the Thai culture never cease to be amazed when they find out why their Thai friends and loved ones have said some of the things that they have said in the past.
In short, if you ever wondered why your Thai friend or partner answered the question, “You don’t want me to pay for dinner, do you?" with a “No!” (meaning, "Yes, I do!"), then our course is for you!
See you soon.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Ben Horgan is currently away, but has been an outstanding trainer for our 6-week TEFL Course conducted in Bangkok.