Kathy stayed in Nong Khai for two months, teaching at Arunrangsee School.
Her volunteering didn't get off to the best start when she found her
pupils difficult to manage. Here she talks about how, together with the
Openmind Projects staff, she was able to overcome this hurdle and make
her experience positive.
arrived in Nong Khai and took part in the Volunteer Training at the OMP
Training Center. The next week I began my volunteer position at a
local school, teaching English to classes of energetic 7, 8, 9 and 10
year olds. OMP’s Volunteer Coordinator, Golf, accompanied me on the
first day and was a great assistance in the classroom. I began teaching
on my own the next day, and it took the first week to assess their
I found that my lack of ability to speak Thai made managing the classes
almost impossible. I became quite frustrated because I knew I could
make a contribution to the children’s learning, but needed them to be
fully involved. I didn’t want to give up.... this school has no English
teacher and I had come to Thailand to make a difference, albeit a small
I went into the OMP Centre and spoke to Sven, Toto, Golf and Joiy. I
was very impressed with their reaction – our discussion concluded that
we should not just assume that for me the situation was unworkable, but
that we should work together with the school to try to find a solution
that would both benefit these children and allow me to continue to have a
positive volunteer experience here.
met with the Director of the school the next morning, with Toto, Golf
and I attending, and we came to a consensus that we should try a new
approach. Instead of one hour lessons with the entire class, we would
divide them each into 2 groups, and I would conduct my lessons outside
of their classrooms, a half hour for each group.
7’s teacher divided up the classes. Learning by doing - we tried this
new approach out right away on the class of 8 year olds and I found it
much easier to keep them focused on the lesson. I also had the OMP
trainees team teaching with me, and this was a great help as they were
able to assist with explanations of the work.
also changed the focus of the classes to the children’s personal
experience, rather than other topics like colours, animals, etc. Each
week we did a new unit – their family, what they would be when they grew
up, their activities at home and their likes and dislikes – having them
draw pages for a book that they can talk about. Their enthusiasm went
up and they focused a lot better on learning the vocabulary.
am so glad OMP was able to work with me so that I could continue with
my volunteer experience. I commend the staff at Openmind Projects for
their approach to my situation. This organization showed me that they
really strive to make a difference in the projects they support, and
truly care about their volunteers.
Blog posted from Arun Rangsi Kindergarten, Pho Chai, Mueang Nong Khai District, Nong Khai 43000, Thailand View larger map