Teaching Chinese in Thailand
- Published: 8/10/2013 at 08:21 AM
- Online news:
Volunteer teachers from China are flocking to Thailand to meet demand for Mandarin classes. The workload is heavy, the conditions difficult, but the job can be a rewarding one.
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This is an excerpt from a much longer story in the Life section of today's Bangkok Post. You can read the full story here: http://www.bangkokpost.com/lifestyle/interview/373559/for-the-love-of-learning
Teaching Chinese in Thailand
Story and photos by Cui Yuchen.
At 7 o'clock in the morning, Feng Shaojie goes to his office to prepare for Chinese lessons – something he does every day. As the supervisor of the Chinese class at Bangkok's Jintek School, the 26-year-old from China is one of the few thousand volunteer teachers who live in the Thai capital.
He is a member of a special group called the Volunteer Chinese Teachers, made up of young people from different provinces in China. The group is run by Hanban, the Confucius Institute Headquarters, a public institution affiliated with China's Ministry of Education which is committed to providing Chinese language.
After graduating with a law degree, Feng Shaojie participated in the examination held by Hanban. That year, the education bureau of Hebei province selected 128 volunteer teachers from 1,200 candidates Feng was among those who passed the test.
The main reason Feng chose to become a Chinese teacher is his passion for Chinese culture
Liu Juan is one of many Chinese volunteer teachers now working in Thailand.
Meanwhile, 25-year-old Liu Juan, who has been at Jintek for two years, said that her university major was teaching Chinese as a second language. After graduating she initially worked at the Bank of China. But Liu always wanted to be a Chinese teacher and when she heard about the volunteer programme, she quit her job and embarked on a new life in Thailand.
"I just want to do what I want so that I won't have any regrets " she said.
In the early days when volunteers came to Bangkok, it was not easy to adapt A few days after he arrived in Thailand, Feng was assigned to work at Jaroensil School in the northern province of Phrae, a wholly unfamiliar place to him.
Like most volunteers Feng had just graduated and had no teaching experience. And his command of Thai was pretty limited
Feng studied Thai for three hours every day. Three months later, he could use Thai to teach students and communicate with others quite comfortably.
As his teaching skills improved he gained more confidence and built up good relationships with the parents of his students.
Besides improving their own language skills volunteer teachers also have to work on teaching aids and think about how to make Thai students interested in Chinese. For children, if the teachers take a more playful approach to teaching, they will pay more attention in class. But for teenagers, the teachers have to think about how to be friends with them in order to manage them better.
Wang Yang faced this problem. She said that the students did not respond to her at first, since she was only 22 and looked like a teenager when she started to teach.
This situation made Wang feel disheartened One day, a student who was not good at learning in other subjects came to her office and asked her: "Can you teach me personally if my classmates don't pay attention in your Chinese classes?"
Moved by this experience, she decided to rebuild her confidence and searched for an effective way to connect with her students.
"I tried to communicate with them, shared my feelings with them, and visited places with them after class," said Wang.
Every volunteer teacher has a heavy workload Wang Yang has 36 classes in her school but only three teachers. While the students at Jintek learn Chinese for two hours every day, the teachers have to teach at least six lessons a day.
Liu Juan said that she wants to do nothing but have a rest after working for a whole week, but she still has to teach weekend classes. Sometimes she also makes teaching aids and prepares the next lesson. Dining out is her greatest pleasure at weekends, because there is only one dish for every meal at Jintek.
A dormitory for Chinese volunteers
Volunteer teachers also sometimes have to put up with poor living conditions At one well-known Chinese school in Bangkok, the teachers' dormitory is a temporary shelter set up in the school's courtyard At Jintek, the Chinese teachers' dorm is on the roof of the building. There is no washroom and water sometimes leaks in on rainy days.
Nevertheless, the volunteers have adapted and remain upbeat On the roof of Jintek there are two hammocks
"The previous volunteer teachers set them up. They had been here for more than two years," said Liu, adding that she enjoys lying in a hammock and looking up at the sky.
About the author
- Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager