TERRANCE MASSO, FORMER TEACHER
2ND YEAR TESTIMONIAL
Hello, my name is Terrance and I am and have been the Pre-K teacher at STIS since February of 2016. I am also the gym teacher and I teach Spanish to the Swedish students. For extra activities I teach boxing after school to some of the older students. One thing that I really like about working here is that if you are motivated and do have things that really interest you the school tries to find ways to implement it into your schedule, allowing you to really enjoy what you are doing. I have been living and working in Thailand for over five years and have worked for a few different schools before coming here. Never have I been able to diversify my schedule and utilize my personal interests as much as I have been able to at STIS. I have so many points in time during my day and week that I look forward to because I get to expand the students’ knowledge on subjects that really interest and excite me.
Living in Surat Thani is a very unique experience in the fact that it does have that small town feel while being so close to so many of the world’s most sought after vacation destinations. I love to go to all the local small cafes that often have fresh grinded Thai grown coffee and an array of Thai and foreign dishes made from fresh produce from local farms. My eating habits have improved so much since coming to Surat Thani due to the great health food delivery we have that comes to the school every day. We order the night before and the next day we have enough food for the entire day including salads and delicious healthy Thai food options. To me, the best part of it all is the affordability and how much of each of my paychecks I am able to save due to how cheap the living is here. That money in return can be used to pay for traveling and getting to explore this beautiful country. Surat Thani is a perfect location for traveling as there are trains, planes, buses, and boats that depart from here to anywhere in Thailand. There are also 3 or 4 options for modern style fitness centers and Muay Thai gyms in Surat Thani that are pretty up to standard for a very reasonable price.
Working at STIS is a rare opportunity because you are allowed so much freedom of how your class operates. This requires you to take initiative to plan your classes ahead and really get involved with your students’ progress. The best part of this is that you get to feel great about your students’ progress and you get to take self-pride of the development of the class. There is no one that stands over you monitoring all of your classes or coming behind you micromanaging what you are doing. At the same time during our morning meetings we are asked if there is anything we need or would like to have to help us better the students learning experience. The managing staff and owners are very involved and want both the teachers and students to have only the best resources and tools available to promote a fun and exciting learning environment. If you are a motivated and confident teacher this is an ideal location where you can really test your capabilities and expand your reach. This school loves to promote from within and is always willing to listen to ideas that could benefit the students, faculty, parents, or community. Another thing that really makes this school unique is the fact that they make sure to take the time to recognize you for your commitments and any extra efforts you put into the betterment of the school or the students learning experience. The students are also so great in the fact that they are hungry to learn and genuinely kind people. They are always looking for ways to express their creativity and challenge their abilities.
We are always encouraged to get involved with school activities but never forced to do so. One thing I got use to when working at other schools was being uninformed and sometimes put on the spot with no real voice in the matter. Here at STIS we are well informed of upcoming events and asked if we want to participate and what role we envision ourselves playing in the coming event. We have a coffee machine in the teachers’ room which is in a large air conditioned room where each teacher has their own desk and space for working and storing things. As a matter of fact all the rooms at STIS are equipped with air conditioning and some of the rooms have televisions that are connected to the Wi-Fi at the school, which is also available to all the staff members. On many occasions we are taken to a nice restaurant where we are treated by the owners of the school to a great meal and refreshments of our choice. We have taken a teacher day trip to see Chaiya, the famous city for Silk made products, and we had our end of term teacher party at a resort on the beach where all the teachers’ food and rooms were paid for by the school. Another benefit of being an employee here is Chocolate Thursday, every Thursday we are given our choice of chocolate at our morning teacher meeting. During Christmas we do a secret Santa exchange and meal that is very delicious and fun way to get to know your co-workers better including the Thai staff. The Thai staff is very helpful and each class usually has at least one Thai staff member at all times to help with classroom operations and making sure everything is moving smoothly. Overall it is very clear that at STIS they are making a huge effort to show that every employee matters and they want us to have a close community feeling. There have been many occasions since I started working here that I have seen them do things for teachers that they did not have to do but did to assure the teacher’s happiness and comfort.
Overall my experience here has been incomparable to past employment. When looking back at the influence I have been able to have and how I have been able to grow as a teacher, leader, and as a person. There are so many ways I have benefitted from my experience at STIS that will continue to influence the way I make decisions and the way I work. I am thankful for the opportunity that I had to experience a truly positive, caring, and productive working environment that has had such a strong impact on my life. If you are looking for a fun, challenging and rewarding position while still being able to see the world then STIS is a great way to do just that. To end my testimonial in true tradition I will give a quote from a Chinese proverb “Four things come not back: the spoken word, the spent arrow, the past life, and the neglected opportunity.”
1ST YEAR TESTIMONIAL
I would like to start by saying hello and thank you for taking the time to read my testimonial for Surat Thani International School. Before I start I would like to give a little information about myself. My name is Terrance, also known as Mr. T, and I am from the greatest state I can think of: Minnesota. I have traveled a large portion of the world and have found a great place to settle down in the Land of Smiles.
I originally came to Thailand in March of 2012 to the capital city of Bangkok. It was a great experience with a blend of East meets West, amazing shopping and great food from all over the world and easy transportation with the Skytrains. Once arriving in Thailand I did a TESOL program and jumped right into a classroom teaching college age young adults and doing some corporate teaching in the evenings. I eventually was offered a position working with children between the ages of one and a half years old up to three years old. I loved it and had a great time with my role at that school. Eventually, being that I am from Minnesota, a state known for its beautiful nature, I grew a little tired of the big city living and was looking for a more natural and scenic living.
Living in Surat Thani
Surat Thani is ideal for people that enjoy nature. The area is full of amazing natural beauty with waterfalls, mountains, and beautiful beaches all very near the city. There are also many locations to hop on boats and ferries to head to one of the many amazing islands that this wonderful country has to offer. It is also just a few hours away from other major cities like Phuket and Krabi which have many tourist attractions and beautiful beaches as well. Surat Thani is one of the developing cities but there is still so much to do here. There are many gym options at prices less than half the price you would get them at home or even in Bangkok. The food is also amazing, nothing like it anywhere else in Thailand. It only takes visiting a place one or two times before they can remember you and the different things that you enjoy ordering. I feel like people really take the time to get to know you here and really care about your well being.
Teaching at STIS
Teaching at STIS is a very unique opportunity and I really enjoy how many students you get to know and interact with on a daily basis. We have time in the morning to interact with all the students from every class doing creative and fun activities. These activities can range from poem readings, show and tell, creative arts, to organized sports and exercise. I feel like this time in the morning really helps teachers bond and create relationships with all the students in the school. One of the things I like most about working at STIS is the freedom we have to manage our classes and the ability we choose to deliver the material. I teach pre-K and my kids love to sing, dance, and do our art projects. Though we are given a lot of freedom with our roles, if you are every in need of any material, ideas, or have any personal issue, Peter or any of the other teachers are always there willing to help out. I also really enjoy the fact that we spend the entire day with the same students. I feel like spending the whole day with the students allows them to feel comfortable with your teaching style and routine.
If you are planning to teach at STIS or in Surat Thani I advise you to come prepared for an adventure and ready to make some great relationships. I remind people to keep an open mind and learn a little about the culture here in Thailand. Learning about the culture and language not only benefits you but also gains a lot of respect from the Thai people. Now to end on a quote from a Chinese proverb “Pearls don’t lie on the seashore. If you want one, you must dive for it.”