Savannah McDermott Testimonial 1 and 2
3 Month Testimonial by Savannah McDermott
About a year ago, I was sitting in my living room in a small town in Spain, where my boyfriend Levi and I worked as teachers. We knew it was time time to move on from this little village, wonderful as it was; the claustrophobia and restlessness to which we are both prone had begun to nudge its way into our minds. As we sat cruising the internet for possible ESL destinations, Levi remembered a man he had met a few years before having mentioned a nephew with a school in Thailand. Expecting little, he sent an email. Only a couple weeks later, we were accepting the job and beginning the bizzare and exhausting process of getting a Thai visa in Spain with American and Canadian passports
Our landing in Thailand was rough. We traveled for two and a half days through bus stops, train stations, three flights and over twenty-four hours of layover before arriving, dirty, irritable and deliriously tired, in sweltering Surat. Wen, the Super teachers' indespensible guide through the myriad confusions of Thai bureaucracy and daily life, picked us up at the airport and drove us the forty minutes to town before we realized that a bag containing a laptop had been left behind. Without a complaint, she raced us back to the airport to recover it. She took us to Big C, Thailand's Wal-Mart, and dropped us off at our new house, where we both slept for a very long time.
That first week was difficult. I'd never before been in a place where I was completely unable to communicate. Having only travelled in Europe and Latin America, my English and Spanish has almost always served me fine, and in the rare moments when neither worked, a few gestures and some Latin-rooted words had gotten the job done. But here, I found myself in situations where I had to walk away without having gotten what I needed or wanted. I ate nothing but pad see ewe for a solid because I couldn't express that I wanted something different and, for some reason I still don't understand, that was every restaurateur's fallback for the confused farang girl. It rained that whole week, and without a motorbike, a job, or a clue, I found myself alternating between hibernation and runs to only the very nearest rice shops.
But then the rain cleared up, I started classes, we got a motorbike, and I figured out where to find massaman curry, which makes me very, very happy. Work at Thida was hard at first--the transition from small groups of Spanish teenagers to classes of fifty-five second graders was an uncomfortable one--but within a couple weeks I had a grasp on it and began to really enjoy my job. My classes at Super English (pre-k and kindergarten) were even more challenging, but with help from Peter and Ryan, I learned an effective discipline system and began to have more and more successful classes. Two months in, I can confidently say that I am damn good at my job. The support at Super English is incredible--Peter and the other teachers are always happy to help with any problem you're having or to share ideas for classroom management, teaching methods or activities.
Outside of work, the Super teachers form a fantastic support structure. Everyone is welcoming and supportive, and there's always someone down for a day hanging out on the beach or a weekend on one of islands. Peter has a knack for hiring laid-back, fun-loving people, and that makes the experience of being in a foreign country with a unfamiliar culture infinitely better. Despite the rocky start, coming to Surat has turned out to be a great experience.