Kevin Wolfe Testimonial, Former Teacher
Working at STIS has been an amazing experience, especially as my first teaching position. Prior to my arrival in Thailand I was slightly nervous about the prospect of living in a new country halfway around the world, working in a completely different field of study than I’d gone to school for. However, after my arrival I quickly realized what an incredible place Thailand was, both to live and work. Everything about Thailand is incredible, the food is ridiculously cheap yet still amazing, the people are very friendly and always willing to help out, the landscape is incredibly diverse, and you can do most everything from beaches and islands to mountains and temples. Before coming to Thailand I went to college in Wisconsin (USA) and graduated from UW-Stout with a degree in Industrial Design. After that I worked for 2.5 years as a Design Engineer in Madison, WI whereupon I decided to make a change and try teaching. I went on to get my TEFL certification and upon completion decided to look for someplace a little less…freezing.
When I applied to work at STIS I was really intrigued by the sound of the school and couldn't wait to start the interview process. After talking with Peter I was even more excited and my excitement continued grew as the first day of school approached. All of my excitement and expectations were met and exceeded once school started. The children are incredibly sweet and hard working (even at such a young age). Their English skills develop incredibly quickly due to the complete English immersion and in addition to that, any issues can be quickly and effectively addressed as a result of the small class sizes. The relaxed environment and lack of paperwork also allows the teachers to focus on their class and their lessons so that not only can the teacher teach according to their own style but also so that the focus remains on the students progress and not simply following a syllabus. When I first started working at STIS I was nervous and inexperienced but due to the amount of freedom I was allowed I was able to gain a significant amount of confidence both as a teacher and as someone who can encourage and get their students to want to learn. Teaching K1 was such an amazing experience, the students were all so eager to learn and the amount of progress they were able to make within such a short time span was miraculous. I was able to build a very close relationship with each of my students and even the parents of some of my students, something that I know would not have been possible at other schools.
Living in Surat Thani is also a really great place to start off in Thailand for many reasons. Being centrally located and being a transportation hub makes traveling around incredibly easy from Surat. With an airport, a train station, countless buses and minivans, and a ferry port only an hour away, you’ll never be at a loss for methods of transport when trying to figure out your next adventure. And with such a wide variety of activities (river rafting, river tubing, elephant treks, snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, hiking, rock climbing, nature treks, sun tanning, exploring, etc.) all within a few hours travel you’ll never spend your weekends bored. Life within Surat is fun too; the teacher community is quite large and with new teachers coming in every semester there's always new (and old) people to meet and get to know. The night life isn’t bad either, although if clubs/bars isn’t really your thing there are plenty of people who’d rather see a movie, play a game of soccer/futball, play poker, or just talk and relax.
Ultimately I can’t say enough good things about STIS or Surat Thani. If you’re even considering a position here you’ve already done yourself a service and I can only encourage you to pursue it further. I’ve loved my time at STIS and I know that anyone who gives it a chance will undoubtedly love the school, the kids, the city, and the life that they start here as well.