Anneliese Charek Testimonial
One Year Testimonial by Anneliese Charek
I am about to finish my year contract at Super English. It’s crazy how quickly time can fly by. As I am nearing the end of my time here, I am starting to reflect on the experiences I’ve had over these past twelve months. There is really so much that I could say about living in Surat for a year, I kind of don’t know where to start. I’ve had the privilege of working with so many great human beings, I have developed as a teacher, I have traveled extensively, I have met great locals. The following is an overview of the highlights of my experience.
When I first made the decision to come to Thailand, it was in the midst of a coup. Bankgkok was all over the news as the red shirts were trying to over throw the current government. When I told family and friends I was moving to Thailand, they looked at me like I was crazy. My dad actually laughed and thought I was joking. The political tension never really slowed down my plans of moving, but it did make me feel a little concerned about my timing. These concerns quickly vanished with the help of our great boss Peter. He took the time to answer my MANY questions, and address my concerns. I emailed him quite often before arriving. He always had time to write back, or talk. It is a lot less scary moving to a new country, when you know someone there has your back.
As my departure date to Thailand grew closer, I grew more nervous. I started to doubt why I was even moving at all. I liked the city I was in, my job paid fairly well, and I had a lot of new friends that I didn’t want to leave. Even though I had all of these things, I wasn’t completely content staying put. I wanted a new adventure, to experience a new culture, to travel and to grow as a teacher.
I can tell you, that in my time here, I have had all the good experiences that I had hoped for and more.
I was (and still am) really impressed with SE as a whole. It’s really unique to be working at a language school with this many good people on staff, as managers, and as co-workers. They honestly care about you, and work so hard to help you everyway they can. From the minute I got here, I felt like I was taken care of. The returning teachers welcomed me with open arms. The Thai staff (especially the amazing and wonderful Wen) is the best you could hope for. The head teachers/managers are simply good people. They are kind and helpful, and understand that you might feel overwhelmed at first.
Peter is very aware of the concerns people may have when they first arrive. I have seen him go to great lengths to accommodate new teachers. Anytime I have had a problem, concern, or simple question, I feel like I can go and talk to him. I haven’t had many bosses that are willing to give me their time, let alone work with me to solve problems.
One of the things I came to Peter with (often) were requests for more hours. I am an hours hoarder. I wanted to make enough money to put some away for savings. Even though we don’t pay rent, and Thai prices are cheap, it was hard for me to save money in the very beginning. This is my fault. I have some expensive hobbies. I spend a lot on things like yoga classes five days a week, and fancy 50bht coffee multiple times a day. I could have lived, comfortably, on what I was making, but I wanted to take on more. I really, really appreciate the fact that he not only listened to my request, but he followed through. He offered me a number of extra classes, articles I could write, and projects I could do for SE.
This is not something that happened at my old job. Sometimes there weren’t many classes to be had, and it was just tough luck for you. It’s also policy for language schools to not allow you to work anywhere else. When I wanted to teach some ballet classes for a woman who had a studio, Peter came to an agreement with her, and let me have those extra classes. It was a great opportunity for me to be able to do this thing that I loved. Peter saw that it meant a lot to me, and made that extra effort to make it happen. I am very happy to say, that because of all these extra classes, I have saved a substantial amount of money. More than I expected, and MUCH more than I ever did in my previous job.
Another great thing about being in Thailand for a year, was that I was able to travel around South East Asia. This also wouldn’t be possible with out the three month (ish) break we got between semesters. It’s really a special thing that comes along with working for SE. Never in my life have I had, or will I ever have again, a 3 month break. I was able to go to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam. Being able to travel a lot while living abroad is important to me. I am so glad that I was able to see so many places in my time here.
As for teaching-
I feel like a better teacher. What really helped was learning a different style of teaching. It makes so much more sense to teach classes that are based around targets and games and fun, rather than grammar and exercises in the book. Working here has given me the opportunity to teach in a different way, and to develop my own style of teacher. I love that the kids love my class, and love me. They are thrilled everyday. We have fun, and they actually learn a lot. It’s very satisfying to see progress in students, and to know that you had a hand in it.
So, as I reflect on this past year, I can say that moving to Thailand was a good decision, and working for SE was a great decision. Many good things have come out of it; I have met wonderful kind- hearted people, I have grown as a teacher, I have experienced a new culture and traveled through South East Asia, AND I have saved enough money to fund my next move (amazing!). I am lucky that I found this school, and I am thankful for everything my boss, managers and co-workers have done for me.
I am going to miss you Super English!