Two new graduates from CLAS have spent the summer teaching English in Thailand as part of the British Council Teaching English Thailand 2012 scheme. Tom Ready and Isaac Ward spent a couple of months after graduation teaching English in a primary school in southern Thailand.

Isaac Ward & Tom Ready in their  primary school

Khanom, eastern Thailand, where Tom & Isaac taught

The call for applications for the scheme was made through the University of Liverpool’s Careers & Employability Service, and Tom and Isaac were two of sixty successful candidates for the project. The teaching experience started with a training course in Bangkok, before they were transferred to the south of the country for their posting. This was Tom’s second teaching experience, having served as an English language assistant in Gap, France, during his year abroad, whereas Isaac spent two semesters on an Erasmus placement at Burgundy University in Dijon, France.

The school provided accommodation for both Isaac and Tom; according to Tom, “On arrival, we found a sparkling primary school and a ridiculously picturesque bungalow waiting for us. The bungalow was built on supports, suspended over what can only be described as jungle marsh, and we walked a sort of makeshift pier which separated us from the school grounds”. They were both treated to authentic Thai food, prepared on a daily basis by the school. Tom continued, “Breakfast and lunch were school dinners, which we had been ‘warned’ about, but I actually quite like them – perhaps with the exception of bright pink squid, which I’m sure would be an ‘acquired’ taste if I persevered for long enough”.

Pupils at Tom and Isaac’s school

Teaching proved to be an enjoyable challenge for both Tom and Isaac. Tom was surprised by the children’s fondness for singing; Tom quipped that “came as rather a surprise to me after a year with surly French teenagers. So, I had a lot of fun getting the kids to sing just about every nursery rhyme and song I can remember, although for future reference ‘heads, shoulders knees and toes’ is the jackpot – a mesmerising combination of actions and words for any early English learner!”

Tom Ready at his graduation in July 2012

As well as work, Tom and Isaac had the chance to explore southern Thailand; Tom concluded that “Only a couple of hours away from us were the islands of KoSamui and Ko Pha-Ngan – which are somehow even more picture perfect than they look on Google images. We spent an unforgettable weekend on Ko Pha-Ngan as a group of assistants – and I’ve sworn to get myself back there one day, as I have to pitch myself off the rock into the azure-blue-bath-water one last time!” Tom and Isaac are now back in the UK, where Isaac has started graduate studies at the University of Bristol, whereas Tom has joined a graduate recruitment agency to find work in the north-west of England.

The British Council hope to run the scheme again in 2013 – finalists would be well advised to consider this opportunity to spend their first post-graduation summer teaching English in Thailand.