First day at School

Anuban Wat Sakaeo School, Thailand

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I have been busy experiencing, adjusting and immersing myself in the new life I have here in Sa Kaeo that I have had hardly any time to write in this blog. Better late that never right? I have so much to talk about!

Let’s start off with why I am here. I have signed up to volunteer for a month through a project called ICCVTT (International Coordination Centre for Volunteer Teachers, Thailand).

Website: www.freevolunteerthailand.org

It is basically a small organization started by a man named Jason who connects English teaching volunteers with various Thai schools within Sakaeo province. Currently there are about 23 different primary schools within the province connected to the project. Volunteers submit an application and the organisation will distribute you to where is needed.

Contrary to rational belief, when searching for volunteering projects there are a ridiculous amount of organisations that require you to pay money to participate. Yes, for you to fly abroad and donate your time and efforts with no monetary compensation in return – you must pay them a pretty large amount (I saw ones asking for $2,500USD/month). I understand this is probably necessary for security and living costs to risky areas, but how do you know this is where the money is going? Anyways, search harder and you will find ones that do not ask for money like the one I am in now. A bonus of this program is accommodation and weekday meals, but don’t expect that for most others as they may be living in more impoverished conditions.

Here I have been allocated to Anuban Wat Sakaeo School, which is the main and largest primary school in the province. Government run and funded, it consists of approx 1,920 students that range from kindergarten to grade 6. It is a rather large school with moderate facilities. The school grounds are large and gated, with about 6 different buildings to fit the students.

I haven’t had the time between teaching to take specific photos but here are some of the grounds I took roaming around….

As expected the kids in Thailand are absolutely adorable. They are well behaved (mostly) and mannered. Energetic and full of fun!

Adorable 1st/2nd graders having their daily dose of milk which the school provides.

Best mates!

Students love to play like all average kids do. Popular games around I’ve noticed around school is:

– Jumping rope, except the ‘rope’ is made out of elastic bands.

– Knucklebones/Jacks (I think that’s what the game is called in Aus?) They start with several coloured objects thrown in the air, pick one up and throw it up again whilst trying to scoop as many as you can from the ground.

And also the girls teaching each other dances to pop songs.

Also saw boys on the field playing marbles, had a total flashback of doing that in primary school! I remember collecting the metallic glitter ones and throwing out the cat eye ones because no one wanted them!

Among the many differences I observe from school back home in Australia is the obedience taught. I’m sure this would be relevant to most Eastern cultures, students are made to clean thoroughly – mop floors take out trash and scrub desks. They are also disciplined with light hits on the hands with sticks or made to do strenuous exercises like many squats with your hands out.

Boy scout training on the fields..

Each day of the week the kids have to wear a different uniform. Each day has a different style and colour that I am told represent the colours of the Royal Thai family. The teachers also follow this pattern of different uniforms.

At the end of the day at the conclusion of the last class students are required to recite a Buddhist prayer before leaving.

These are just a few of the things I’ve noticed at school, I’ll dwelve into teaching and my living conditions here another day.

Thanks for reading so far and I want everyone at home to know I’m safe and having an amazing experience so far!

Cheers,

A