It's finally happened. My time at Super English has come to an end. I'm packing up my things, selling
lots of stuff and preparing for the giant move home. And I'm also reflecting on my experiences and time
in Surat and at Super English.
One thing I've realized lately is how much I've changed. I'm not the same person I was when I came to
Super English, inexperienced and scared of standing up in front of a class. I've learned to teach (!), and
I've taught tons of levels and types of classes. I've learned to think on my feet in a classroom setting, to
manage and discipline rowdy groups of teenagers and first-graders. I've developed really good
relationships with some of my students and have seen them grow up and improve dramatically in their
abilities to communicate. In addition to all that, Super English has allowed me to develop professionally
more than I ever anticipated.
I owe most of that to an incredibly supportive and understanding boss. I can say anything, good or bad,
to Peter. He listens and lets me pursue ideas that I think are right, even if they don't always turn out
well. And, amazingly, he's never upset when they don't turn out! (I've never heard him say, “I told you
so.”) He's always been very understanding when I face difficult situations, and he's rarely gotten
frustrated with me when I mess things up or drop the ball— which I've done a lot as a first-time
manager. Overall, it's been the perfect environment to try my hand at directing a school. Peter's given
me a lot of freedom and independence to determine the course and the culture of Super English. He
frequently says that we—the teachers— are Super English and he lets us set the tone and feel of the
school. I feel really priveleged to have had the opportunity to do just that and to pour my heart into
making Super English the best place for teachers and students.
I'm sad to leave this town. Even after 2 ½ years, I'm not tired of living in Surat Thani. I love it here. I
love how much there is to explore here. The food is great, the people are interesting, there are always
new places to see and explore in and outside of town.
Another great thing I've experienced here is how much say I've gotten in my schedule over the past
two years. Of course, I always have to mention how much free time working for Super English gives
you. This is absolutely, hands-down the best work schedule I've ever experienced. Having a lot of free
time during the week (weekends are always off with rare exceptions) has allowed me to develop
personally and explore my interests and hobbies in a way I never could have done at my full-time job in
the U.S. And the incredible amount of vacation time beats most other teaching jobs in Thailand.
Despite all that free time, I've still managed to save a fair amount of money (mostly by not traveling too
much in my last year here). Of course, you can't earn as much teaching in Thailand and Surat as you can
in other places, but it's definitely possible to make ends meet and even to save some cash.
But who cares about that? I've had some of the greatest times of my life at Super English. Looking back
at pictures from the past few years, these are some of my favorite memories: The trip SE teachers took
together at the end of my first term to Koh Lanta, camping many times with SE teachers in Khanom,
karaoke at our end of the year party, two trips to the dam at Khao Sok with SE teachers, dressing up for
our Jersey Shore party, learning and dancing in three Christmas performances at Thida, a beach
wedding (my beach wedding!), and a series of great housemates and friends and unbelievable trips
through southeast Asia. I feel so lucky to have gotten to experience all of these things here.
And of course, I can't help mentioning the people I've come to know well by working here. I've made
incredible friends here in the past three years. Some of whom I suspect will be friends for life. It was
great, I mean amazingly great, to walk into a work environment at Super English where people were
waiting eagerly to take you to dinner, show you around, help you learn Thai, give you advice on
teaching and be there to relax with you after work and on weekends. It's something that I experienced
from the moment I arrived in Surat Thani, and I've tried to keep the tradition of helping each other out
going. I think Super English teachers are the best at this of every other school I've seen.
I can recommend Super English without reservation to anyone who wants to grow and learn
professionally as a teacher in a supportive and welcoming environment.
|Third Year* Testimonial....
by Janet Phelps