ALEYA STAGGS, FORMER TEACHER

Teaching at Surat Thani International School has been a wonderful experience. During my time at the school I've enjoyed nature, built lasting relationships, and grown as a teacher.

The school facilities are modern, clean, and welcoming. The school sits on the edge of a lake with beautiful views of the Thai jungle. The beautiful scenery is one of my favorite parts of the school. The natural surroundings have been brought into the school with large windows and sky lights flooding the school with natural light. Plus the outside areas have palm trees, red bamboo, and jasmine encouraging wildlife to visit. The school always has a few song birds singing in the halls and butterflies surrounding the jasmine.

My class the hamsters, Kindergarten 1, are very active and extremely loveable. The class has quite a few quick learners and they cheer on their friends. I encourage the students to speak English all day except during Thai time and they are speaking in short sentences. I'm very proud of them. The hamsters love to learn through play. They're excited to learn and bring boundless energy to even the most simple activity.

Every morning we begin with circle time where we greet all our classmates and ask each other a simple question. Some examples are: What do you like? What's the weather? What can you do? One of our favorite activities is called alphabet races. I say a letter and the students act out an animal that begins with that letter. We can go from A to Z and know many words for each letter. The students also enjoy music time. Our favorite song is the hokey pokey where we can shake everything from our fingers to our toes. Counting to 20 is one of their favorite math games. They like to count their jumps and wiggles. Many days to help learn number identification they use toys to make numbers on the desk. I try to make class fun and hands on so the students don't realize they're learning.

The Thai staff at the school are the best staff in Thailand. They are here early and leave late. No matter who has a problem someone is always willing to help. They help with everything from getting the kids milk to helping make copies. The Thai staff also takes time to include you in their culture. They invited me to join them for Loi Krathong and make a banana boat to float in the river. Whenever I've been sick or hurt they have taken care of me both at school and at home. They go above and beyond. My Thai teacher, Teacher Ying, is amazing. She helps keep the students well behaved and entertained. She also works with me in encouraging the students to speak English and assisting with English activities. In turn I do my best to support her during Thai time and help with classroom control. Teacher Ying is my teammate and when managing 16 four year olds a teammate is important.

Being a teacher at Surat Thani International School is challenging but also very rewarding. Every day presents new learning opportunities and I've become a better teacher for it.  My patience with each student has grown throughout the year. I also was able to invest individual time with each student and adjust my teaching method to meet each students needs. I have students who excel in speaking and others who excel at building. Each student has their strengths and weaknesses and throughout the year I've been able to encourage each student individually. I feel my biggest area of growth has been my reaction to student actions. I've learned to stay calm, assess the situation, and address the students with kindness. Being able to stay calm in the classroom creates a comfortable atmosphere and helps the students succeed. I've enjoyed developing these skills because I feel calmness and kindness are skills I will take with me for life. They're life skills that ultimately make me a more well rounded human being.

This year at Surat Thani International School there has been an assortment of teacher styles and it's been very beneficial to watch different styles. I observed the way each teacher addressed student challenges and how the students reacted. I've also been able to ask for advice from other teachers when I faced a particular challenging problem in the classroom. This has led to me becoming a well rounded teacher who takes a thoughtful approach to each student and individual problem. Every individual in the classroom needs different support from the teacher and having an assortment of teachers has helped me meet the students’ needs. As a teacher my goal every day is to meet the students’ needs and help them grow so having teachers to learn from is important.

I really should also add how much I appreciate the efforts the school goes to on behalf of its teachers and students. For one hour or more every day, I had a second English teacher in the room with me to help out.  I wasn’t the only teacher who was able to enjoy this unique benefit and it shows how much the school values the education of the students.  I got to enjoy a long break every day where I was able to get things done leisurely.  No one ever came into my class to critique what I was doing and I was always able to teach the way I wanted to, as well as what I wanted to.  That’s a rare thing.  Whenever I needed anything, the school was always ready and willing to help out.  When I had my motorcycle accident, the wife of the owner was there right away to take me to the hospital and help me.  When I asked for advances on my salary, they were always given.  The complicated and lengthy visa process was handled smoothly and efficiently and I never had to worry about it.  And I definitely enjoyed the many team parties and events thrown by the school! 

I've had a wonderful experience teaching at Surat Thani International School and feel it has helped me gain a better understanding of students and people. I've become more culturally aware and a more student focused teacher. It's a great place to grow into a well balanced teacher.

Teaching at STIS is a rewarding and challenging experience. The K1 students are some of the most energetic children at the school and always keep me on my toes. They are excited to participate in every activity from finding shapes to playing hopscotch and every day their English improves. It's a joy to watch them grow. The city of Surat Thani is surrounded by a lot of natural beauty that's easy to access. The night boats to the islands sail daily from Bandon pier in town and mini buses go to Khao Sok national park and Phuket several times a day. It's a great location to explore southern Thailand from. Along with a great school and great location we also have a fantastic Thai staff. They have helped me in the classroom and outside. My Thai teachers always make sure I know about the Thai holidays and include me in the celebrations. They really make me feel like part of the community.