Wow. What a year! What a year!
A year living in Surat and teaching with Super English, has me feeling, to borrow a familiar
phrase “same same but different” right now, as I sit typing in my favourite restaurant in town,
Earth Zone. I feel comfortable here now, I feel that it is my place and this feeling took a long
time to come about and an even longer time to actually realize. I could quite happily stay for
another term or year. Life is easy in Surat. I can say that with my hand on my heart. A few
months into my new life however, I would have said the complete opposite!
From the moment my plane touched down in a small non-descript airport in southern Thailand
my arrival was taken care of with just the right balance of care and consideration for need of
personal time. I was greeted at the airport by Peter and Wen and taken to my new abode. A
small gesture perhaps, but in hindsight a bloody useful one as being left to independently find it
would have taken all day and probably cost half my savings! (the Thai's have a nose for new meat
and the ignorance accompanying it).
Victoria was next in line to help my assimilation into life. She was first a friend and then a boss
and our relationship has always felt like that. Vic is great at her job because of this ability and I
feel lucky having had her there at the beginning. I arrived at the same time as Chris M., John
and Janet. We shared the same house as Emily. As the only one of us who “knew” Surat and
Super English, Emily really helped us settle in too. It was in these early gestures and friendships
that I began to learn that Super is as much a family as it is a company.
Just before the actual teaching began Vic invited us all around her place on the promise of coffee
and cakes. These were polished off rather promptly and we then had to stand up for 5 minutes
each and present how we planned to begin our first class the following week. None of us flopped
and Vic offered us all some great hints as well as some constructive criticism. In our observations
that followed Vic was there again to offer ideas and suggestions, most of which were pretty
obvious in hindsight but were of utmost importance . Vic did this in a way that praised us at the
same time and fed us the necessary confidence rather than leaving us with doubt about our ability
Super English was always extremely good in offering help, advice and suggestions whether asked
for or not. The door was always open. Between them, Peter and Vic have a wealth of experience
in teaching all age-groups. I was able to sought Vic's advice when I taught a Mathiom 6 girls
class for a while and then Peter's advice when I began teaching the tiny little Anuban students. I
went on to use some of there ideas and in some cases adapt them further!
My initial schedule consisted of a similar number of hours to which I am teaching now (25.5) but
was far more scattered throughout the week. I had plenty of free time during the day but
ultimately had to have a teacher's mindset from 08.00am to 18.30pm everyday. This was a
welcome change from the 9-5pm job I had back home but after a couple of months it began to
become a struggle. By the time my Super English classes arrived later in the day I lacked the
energy and enthusiasm required. I didn't notice this myself until it was pointed out. I had a chat
with Vic and Peter and realized just how low I had been feeling. Peter offered to take over my
Super class for a while and I was also lucky enough to be given the role at Noo Noy school. This
change of schedule did wonders and I have been far happier and motivated ever since. It is credit
to Super English that they nipped the problem in the bud before it developed into anything
It is the seemingly small things that for me have made the difference between having a fairly
good time with Super and having a great time. For example, Peter is always very creative with
new ideas about how to improve Super and recently this has been focused upon the website. He
has offered topics for us to write articles on as well as creating various extra “positions”, such as
Super English Official Photographer, which are all paid. This has been a great and fun way to
mutually improve the website and thus the company. There are also monthly cultural events and
parties which are great for team bonding and again are the type of thing that adds flavour to the
whole experience of working for Super and living in Surat.
There have certainly been some tough times for me this past year. I feel fortunate to have chosen
Super English though, as I am sure that it is due to the friendships I have made here that have
picked me back up and ensured that my time here has been the most fulfilling of my life so far.
Thank you Super!!!
|Super English Testimonial
by Chris Ansell