It has been a year since I started teaching English at Urban Education Project (UEP). I really feel blessed to have this opportunity to serve the refugee community while being able to brush up my previous knowledge about teaching. I have received many training courses on teaching, which I am indeed grateful for. I like taking training courses on various subjects. I always encourage students to learn by quoting a proverb which goes, “It’s never too late to learn.”
I used to teach college courses. And although I didn’t have to focus on grades and evaluating concerning how well students did in my classes, most students expressed that they felt they had learned a lot. But with the refugee students, even though they are of similar age groups as my previous students, they mostly lack the incentive to study hard. Last year, with the low motivation, students could still manage to complete the course. However, this year, we have initiated a completely new course, Jesuit Worldwide Learning, which expects students to put much more energy and time into their studies. The students must pass their level tests, which are quite challenging. In fact, students who do not study and focus on a daily basis will find themselves unable to pass the test. Therefore, the motivation to study has become a very serious matter to me as a teacher.
After one year’s practice and several trainings, I have finally achieved this goal to a certain extent. My classes see a much higher attendance than the previous year when I first started at the school. And most importantly, I can see that my students are consistently making progress in their learning. I hope that the majority of the class will pass the very challenging tests very soon.
How have I achieved this? Mainly, I have dedicated more time to prepare for the lessons and I’m ready to share my experiences and knowledge with the students. They really appreciate this connection and I believe it partly accounts for the reason why they are more motivated than I previously expected.
As a result, I also find my life in Bangkok to be more meaningful and happier. I enjoy the busy life even though sometimes I have to work until midnight; and some other times I have to work long hours to plan and make some edited materials for my classes. Even when I have to get up early in the morning, I’m not reluctant to do so. As a matter of fact, every day I feel like I can’t wait to come to school to teach my classes. I believe most of my students have the same feeling, even though they sometimes come a little late. I believe we are enjoying the time that we have to spend together because we are all refugees, which means we don’t usually have activities that may engage us in a meaningful and enjoyable way.
So now, in the spirit of teacher’s day, I would like to express my gratitude to JRS-Urban Education Project for offering me such a good opportunity to work as a teacher, and to all my students for their kind and sincere feelings towards me and the truly amazing times they have brought to me.