Taylor Sruba Testimonial, Former Teacher
In April of 2014 I moved to Thailand to teach English. I bought a one way ticket and planned on securing a job once I was in the country. As luck would have it, I ended up in Surat Thani. I taught Kindergarten at a public school for two years before moving to STIS to teach Kindergarten 2. My move to STIS was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Working at STIS has truly been a gratifying and life-changing experience.
This year at STIS I was able to form genuine relationships with both my students and my co-workers. I taught the Hamster class. I only had 18 kids in my class, so you can see how it is easy to get to know each individual student on a very personal level. From their food preferences to what they want to be when they grow up, every student has a unique personality that shines everyday and I love each and every one of them for it. They have brought so much joy, excitement, and positive energy to my life.
My co-workers and the Thai staff here at STIS have been a constant source of support for me throughout the year. Our teacher’s office is a friendly, communicative environment that we often use to bounce around ideas and find inspiration. We have all become very close friends and spend a lot of time outside of school together as well. The Thai staff at STIS are friendly, helpful, and they speak English very well. They are always willing to help with any problem, teach you about Thai culture, or just have a friendly chat. Also, being able to communicate with my co-teacher effectively definitely helps how our classroom runs. Lastly, the management at STIS has provided motivation, encouragement, and assistance for me every day. They have organized after school and weekend events that brought the staff closer, created a line of open communication, and lent a helping hand any time I needed support.
At STIS I was given the flexibility and freedom to use my time in the classroom as I thought best. This meant I could create a fun and productive daily schedule that helped keep my class active and engaged throughout the day. I could also use my own classroom management techniques. I experimented with a few reward systems throughout the year that made a huge impact on the class’ overall behavior and, as a result, our productivity. I am so thankful I was able to motivate the students using positive reinforcement rather than the ways I have seen Thai children punished in the Thai public schools.
In addition to the flexibility we were given in the classroom, we were provided with a plethora of resources to help us teach. For Kindergarten 2 we used the Hats On Top books that include a student book, activity book, an early letters book, and an early numbers book. They are filled with activities and work pages that help the students develop both academically and socially. We were also provided with additional resources including access to a large amount of supplemental materials, flash cards, books, puzzles, toys, and more. I would often split my class into small groups and have them rotate around stations when doing activities that required more individual attention. I found this to be an extremely productive and fun part of our day, which was made possible by abundant resources and small class sizes. It’s so amazing to see how much the students have progressed throughout the year.
It’s no secret that the school itself is a beautiful place to work as well. It is clean, open, and inviting. The classrooms are air-conditioned and organized the way we choose. For my classroom I had the desks arranged at the front of the class and mats at the back of the class. So, we could easily go from doing work at our desks to an activity on the mats. There is an outdoor playground, an indoor play area, and a gym. Being four and five years old and very energetic, these spaces gave my students an opportunity to play, work on motor skills, and interact socially. This type of environment might be common for schools in the U.S. or other Western countries, but in Thailand that’s not always the case.
Overall, I am incredibly grateful to have been a part of the STIS team this year. The facility, resources, staff, and students truly make for a one of a kind experience. I would recommend teaching at STIS to anyone who feels passionate about education, child development, and wants to make a positive difference in their students’ lives.