At 9 in the morning we met with P’Nurai, she is the vice-dean of the English department of this university and she was going to provide us with a busier schedule. Turned out we even have less classes to teach now. But good news came as well; Sally received a call from the English consulate asking us if we would be interested in tutoring local doctors and nurses in the hospital of Prasat. We were very happy to have a change of scenery and of course we eagerly accepted this proposition. We felt quite honored to be able to teach people with a higher degree than we will (most likely) have so we were a bit nervous at first. However this nervous feeling quickly turned into anticipation as we reached the hospital.
It turned out we were assisting Mr. Chatchai Chumnum, a member of staff of the English department. He prepared an entire lesson and we were to help him with the pronunciation bit. We introduced ourselves, showed the ‘students’ some pictures of our school and town and then we did some origami. I know, sounds silly, right? In wasn’t exactly origami but all of the students received a piece of paper which they folded into a neat little book. A Tinybook, if you will. This kind of activity made me think of kindergarten but to be honest, I actually enjoyed it. Mr. Chatchai had us make 6 books: one in which he introduces himself, another about the famous YouTube hit: Charlie Bit Me! (of which we didn’t really got the gist, but hey, at least the movie is pretty funny), one about common errors made by Thai people in English, one about health issues and the last one was filled with tips and tricks to study English in a fun and motivating way.
Almost forgot: due to the heavy storms: Blackout number 2. Reading a book by candlelight isn’t that romantic when you suddenly spot a cockroach trying to get in your bed. After a bloody battle (none of mine), I won and could sleep safe and sound.
On Thursday (19th of April) it was my first real lesson at the university. The Thai teacher had seen the grammar part and it was up to me to let the students practice this by using conversations used in everyday speech. I prepared a lot of activities and conversations only to find out that the students didn’t really get the gist of the grammar and since the Thai teacher had suddenly vanished into thin air, I improvised some fun games about pronunciation. The students seemed to like getting taught by a Farang because some students were more occupied taking pictures of me than actually paying attention to their peers. It was a fun lesson but I didn’t get any feeling of accomplishment.
In the evening we were invited by P’Nurai and her fellow teachers for dinner at the dam. Since we like being in the company of other people (and I just can’t resist Thai food) we accepted her invitation. Rain seemed to rain on our parade (I know, ha-ha) but luckily it stopped as soon as we arrived at the dam. The place was crawling with people, all eating at the artificial shore and their children swimming in the huge lake. We had a typical Thai dinner, washed it down with a couple of beers and watched the sun set in beautiful shade of red. The funny thing is, we didn’t really expect to bond with these teachers since we don’t see them that often. Turns out every one of them is simply adorable. We had a very nice and cozy evening at the dam and went to sleep really excited. Could this be because tomorrow we would become FBIS (Famous Belgians in Surin)?
Remember Mr. Chatchai from the English department? He happens to host a radio show in Surin called The Voice of Surin’ and we were invited to tag along for a 45-mintute interview with him live on antenna! The goal of this radio broadcast is to make people more aware of the importance of the English language because of the fact that is Asia is becoming one union in 2015.
Mr. Chatchai picked us up at 08.30 and took us to Surin, where the radio program is being broadcasted. We are welcomed into the building and are offered a hot beverage. Not that we needed a hot drink, it was already about 35°C, but we politely accepted it anyways.
We were ushered into the broadcasting room, were assigned seats and a microphone and suddenly, without any warning the light flashed and we were live on Thai radio. Mr. Chatchai started talking in Thai and then asked to introduce ourselves. Without any form of preparation we were asked a lot of questions about teaching English in Thailand, what the differences are between Belgian and Thai culture, and many more. It’s a really funny feeling knowing that this conversation is live on radio but we managed to uphold our nerves.
Once the interview was over we were given an MP3-file containing our feat so that we can listen to it again. We thank everyone there for having us and after a short drive, Mr. Chatchai stops at our favorite bakery in Surin. Here we have a coffee together and he asks us if we would be willing to rejoin him for his show next week Friday. We are already looking forward to this.
I will soon let you know if it’s possible to listen to our live broadcast next week. Stay tuned!