ENTRUST TEFL : THE JOURNEY - Foundry Travel

ENTRUST TEFL:THE JOURNEY

Over the years starting from the first day of 2015, I started making a mental note of  a list of resolutions I wanted to achieve before every year ended; a TEFL certification course and Teaching in a foreign land was the one thing that seemed to elude me over the years, not that I wasn’t qualified for one, the bone of contention was my ultimate fear of not being able to cope up with the intense 120 hours TEFL course in the stipulated 21 days failing to actually learn everything required of an ESL Teacher, the fear of failure or more so my laziness to actually browse the internet for an institute, that would actually satisfy my requirements seemed to be the biggest hurdle in making me tick that one thing from my bucket list every year. I’d been teaching and managing a school along with my family back home for a good number of years, I was also involved in a bit of Teaching at the High School I graduated for some months during my early years of College, but the thought of leaving everything and just pushing myself to living in a foreign soil, teaching English, just seemed too far fetched an idea, let alone a good one. 

Teaching has always been a passion for me and I believe it is Teachers who mould future generations but then things never seemed to fall in place for me or rather I never really tried to pursue my dream due to the mere reason that I was afraid, It was on a January morning as I lay sipping tea in the comfort of my room that I accidentally read an article on Thailand, my memories took me back to the Spring of 2018, during my first visit to Thailand, after two days in Bangkok I had decided to visit Chiang Mai having read about its culture, I don’t really know if it was the happy smiles of strangers I met, the mountains that surrounded the beautiful city in Northern Thailand, the various temples in and around Chiang Mai till Chiang Rai or just the city in itself, but somehow I was deeply moved by the city, I had developed a love for the city and its people, I clearly remember standing at the intersection at Huay Kaew Road, basking under the afternoon sun after a light shower looking at the mountains, thinking and telling myself how I longed to come back to this place over and over again, a little flashback and I soon found myself browsing through endless pages on the internet trying to find a TEFL institute in Thailand with Chiang Mai constantly ringing in the back of my mind. After two days of browsing through endless pages on the internet deciding on which Institute I should join, I bumped upon a pop-up window referring me about ENTRUST TEFL, clicking on the link my heart jumped a little, finding the institute located in the heart of Chiang Mai along with Krabi as an option. 

A couple of emails and 72 hours later I was on the phone talking to Jada Venter, our program manager at ENTRUST TEFL as she filled me on details regarding the course and the requirements in addition to information related to my stay in Chiang Mai during the course period. I had the option to choose from a Basic course or Premium course. I opted for the premium course as it had placement options as well, (I am a Non-native English speaker, and I found the option best suited for me). 

I reached Chiang Mai one day ahead of Class and after failing to meet Dave at the airport since I didn’t have a working SIM, I decided to book myself an airport cab to Eco-Resort Chiang Mai, to my delight the cabbie drove me straight to my accommodation, most cab drivers at the airport actually know the location of the resort as it is one of the more luxurious hotels with pool facility in Chiang Mai, with the room rent not really burning a hole in your pocket, the hefty discount you get from the institute once you enroll for the Premium course is actually quite beneficial, The Barn’s complimentary breakfast is definitely a delight as well. Checking in, I found myself sharing rooms with a friend from India who was also joining for the course, the rooms were comfortable and even the shared bathrooms didn’t pose much of an issue for me considering how I’ve been so used to having my own bathroom, well sacrifices need to be made I guess, the other accommodation at Inspire House has rooms with a balcony and attached bathroom, but somehow Eco Resort actually rates much better than the former.

 

WEEK 1: THEORY CLASSES.

              The first day of class was probably my worst day during the whole course as I failed to wake up in time to join Teacher Rod whom I first presumed to be one of the students, only to find out he was actually my Trainer! I missed the first hour of Orientation day after making the mistake of calling it a late night with some friends at Nimman Road, it was a bit of irresponsible behavior on my part; although I was fortunate to have a worried Jada come pick me up for Class at the Resort, yup! That actually was embarrassing, first lesson learnt, I expected a barrage of questions from Teacher Rod and Jada as I sat there cursing myself for acting stupid but that was it nobody ever really talked about it, although I did find Rod a little concerned, and I realized his concern five minutes later justified as I listened to him and his passion for Teaching and why he chose Thailand. Rod is probably one of the finest trainers I have had the privilege to sit and listen to. An alumni of ENTRUST TEFL, he doesn’t just bring into class a set of prepared  lessons delivered to a group, you also get to listen to his experience as an ESL Teacher before he became a trainer, always ready to answer queries related to teaching in Thailand, he was indeed a great encouragement to the Class for his valuable inputs over the duration of the course. The first day of Class began with a self introduction of everyone present, followed by an Introduction of TEFL and its growing demand particularly in Asia. The importance of English learning in Thailand was also discussed at length as it dawned on many of us for the first time that Thailand could actually push itself to becoming a First World Country if there were more English speakers, a goal that can be only achieved through the efforts of dedicated ESL English Teachers who decided to get on the Thailand ESL wagon for the love of teaching, a caring heart for Thailand and her people. English is been viewed today as an individual’s access to the World. We were briefed on the advantages and perks of being a TEFL trained ESL Teacher and also given a brief insight to working in South East Asia as one. We were then briefed on the TEFL Training Course offered by Entrust which is rated at 140 hours as it covers the traditional 120 hrs TEFL course as well as 20 hrs of specialized teaching disciplines which includes teaching of Business English, Online Teaching, Young Learners’ Teaching, Teaching of Math and Science. We were also introduced to the five Student Levels that is normally present  in schools across Thailand, starting from Kindergarten. This was followed by an introduction to the word “ASEAN” which stands for “The Association of South East Asian Nations” and its significance in the World economy.The ASEAN community is an economic organization of ten countries located in Southeast Asia, which was formed on 8 August, 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand; the membership has extended to Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam making up what is today the ten member states of ASEAN. Knowing and understanding the significance and importance of the ASEAN community is a must for any ESL Teacher planning to teach in one of the these countries. The last topic for lesson one appropriately named “Stages of Culture Shock’” was more of a counseling session wherein we were briefed about the possible state of mind we would go through during the duration of the course, (This one is definitely a great help to both first timers and also people who’ve been in Thailand before as tourists).

              The Second Chapter of the Course primarily deals with the History of English which can be traced back to the British Isles during the 5th Century AD, when three Germanic tribes, the Angles, Saxons and Jules crossed the North Sea from what are now Denmark and northern Germany. After many Celtic speakers were driven into Wales, Cornwall and Scotland, Celtic was no longer the regional dialect with Englisc, (now known as English in the modern world) replacing it as the regional dialect. Over the next few centuries four dialects of English developed namely- Northumbrian, Mercian, West Saxon and Kentish. The History of English today can be divided into four main periods:

THE PRE-ENGLISH PERIOD. (pre-600 AD)

THE OLD ENGLISH OR ANGLO SAXON PERIOD. (ca. 600-1100)

THE MIDDLE ENGLISH PERIOD. (ca. 1100-1500)

THE MODERN ENGLISH PERIOD. (ca. 1600- present)

              Since the 16th century, because of the numerous contacts that the British had with many people from around the World, and the Renaissance of Classical learning, many words have entered directly or indirectly. Due to the extent of borrowed words and constant changes in the language, the vocabulary of English has developed into the largest of any language; Still, the foundation of English remains the Anglo-Saxon of Old English. The basic components of English such as most pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions and auxiliary verbs are unchanged.

              A normal class day at ENTRUST accounts for 8 hours or more with a one hour break for lunch at noon, not having sat in a Classroom for almost eight years as a Student, I was actually apprehensive of spending the whole class day struggling to concentrate on the lessons taught, but thankfully Rod definitely helped me in pushing away all my classroom blues to rest, his teaching and communication skills are at par with the finest, I say this from my five years of experience as a Teacher, after a frantic morning mixed with a dose of regret I definitely left the Classroom a satisfied student knowing we had one of the finest ESL Trainer training us. The first day of Class is probably the only day during the whole course that you are excused from Home work assignment, but then a Test awaited us after the first five Chapters, which was happening the next day. Heading back to Eco Resort the evening was spent getting to know my new classmates as we talked about our lives and why we chose Thailand as our next destination. A good thing about Eco Resort is its ideal location, apart from the two restaurants inside the Resort, you will also notice a lot of food stalls, and a number of restaurants just a few meters away from the Resort. You also have a 7/11 convenience store and a mini Big C located about 200 meter on opposite sides of the Resort, a 20 min walk towards the Mae Ping river will bring you to the famous Warorot Market. You will also notice a Stationery Shop on the right at the first intersection on your way to the institute from the Resort. Breakfast is usually served earlier than the scheduled timing at 8 am, which helps you spend a good 30 mins at the Breakfast Table before heading to Class, nothing like a nice and sumptuous breakfast to begin your day. The Lunch break at Kai Tod FC restaurant is always a nice time with Mr Happy excitedly welcoming his guests, if you are lucky, you will find him serving some complimentary dessert for the ENTRUST students as well. Coffee at Hey Day opposite Mr Happy’s restaurant is a good starter for the day for Caffeine lovers.

              The second day of Class was on Student Levels with Rod introducing us to First Language Acquisition, delving on language teachers understanding how the first language acquired is of great importance, for those of you confused about first language, this refers to the child’s mother language, second language to any additional language or languages learned. The most capable `language learners’ are very young children and understanding First Language Acquisition gave us an insight to how this is achieved with seemingly little effort, the second topic on the Origin of Language and Communication took back to our baby days as we read about research and studies on how babies respond to sounds while still in the womb, their reaction to sounds and how they can hear their mother’s voice, an interesting fact considering only a mother’s familiar voice soothes a crying baby. The first attempt of the young infant to express comfort or discomfort and the ability of a mother to recognize the different meanings of Crying and intonations the baby made. Rod then followed up by discussing in length with us the basic principles of Teaching helping us understand the developmental stages of children, sharing to us his experience while teaching to different groups based on age and their knowledge of English, students whom we would soon be teaching in a Classroom very soon. A lot of tips on how to effectively help students learn and remember what was taught to them in Class. Accounts of his experience while teaching English to different class levels during his stint as an English Teacher in various schools across Thailand was very helpful in helping us understand and prepare ourselves to the type of Student groups we would be encountering and teaching as we kicked off our new passion as ESL Teachers in Thailand. We were also encouraged to learn the names of students in our classes, advised to give clear simple instructions to students, use English at all times, encourage the students to listen to real English through Television, comics, music and the internet; we were also given tips on how to deal with Children and help them be more attentive in Class as well.

              The first topic of chapter Four of the course book on “How Students Learn”, deals on Second language Acquisition and the process through which someone acquires one or more second languages, the various methodology used by Educationist and Teachers over the years in helping students acquire a working knowledge and fluency of a second language. A brief comprehension of various studies done by researchers in to the Second language Acquisition (SLA) process through a Contrastive Analysis (CA) approach was discussed, with an understanding of the importance of Grammatical comprehension running parallel to the learner’s stage of Development. The second topic of the Chapter delved on the various learning strategies involved in the Second language Acquisition (SLA) process, and how all language learning strategies are related to the features of control, goal directness, autonomy and self-efficacy. We were then taught on how to put our strategies into practice by assessing our strategy the needs of the learners by conducting proper strategy and instruction for the students to follow. This was followed by quips on increasing student language production and its importance, as well as, the technique of Communication, teachers needed to employ to increase student language production. Next, we were taught on the styles of learning we needed to employ for different personalities, ages and background, while also understanding the types of teaching, learners had been previously exposed to namely –

Learning through reasoning- Deductive and Inductive.

Learning through the senses- Auditory, visual and Kinesthetic (action/doing).

The two learning environment- Interpersonal and Interpersonal.

              The lesson on learning styles was followed by an introduction to the types of students we would be teaching in class, and the importance of knowing students as individuals and determining their level of learning and their learning ability.

              Having learned how an individual acquired their First Language during infancy and having delved on the Second Language Acquisition (SLA) process including researches on learning strategies, our next lesson in Chapter Five introduced us to the various Teaching methods employed in Teaching English, the first topic dealt with `The Designer’ approaches of the 1970s and beyond, some of which would be helpful in our teaching approaches with learners. We were introduced to a lesson on Grammar Translation, which focuses on reading, writing, Grammar and Structures and Lexicology; The Direct method which involves reading, students asking/answering questions on topic based vocabulary definitely seems an effective method for teaching Primary students. While the Audio-Lingual method didn’t really suit well for ESL Classrooms after Rod ran us through the whole method., the communicative approach method where real English is used, students are taught various linguistic forms and teaching is aided with games and activities is definitely a good teaching method to employ in an ESL Classroom. We wrapped up Chapter Five with discussions on the viability of employing the Community Language learning method, Total Physical Response (TPR) method, Silent way method and Suggestopedia method of teaching in ESL Classrooms.

              After the completion of the first five chapters of the Course book , our classroom listening and reading skills were put to test as we appeared our first open book Test, an open book sounds easier on paper then it is when you are actually writing one, more than the course book, the only way you can score well in your exam papers is only if you are giving equal efforts in Class participation as well as reading the text books after Class, this exercise I believe can help teachers to be confident for the next day of Class, being well prepared with their lessons. A lot of effort is actually required, if a student wants to be a fine ESL Teacher, after all we will be responsible for moulding thousand of young children in the future, no lazy teacher can develop intelligent and hardworking students. A quick revision of the day’s lessons after you get to your rooms and rest assured you won’t see yourself frantically flipping pages of your book trying to find answers, desperately trying to remember previous lectures. An hour is given for completion of the Test paper.

WEEK 2 & WEEK 3 : THEORY AND PRESENTATIONS

The sixth Chapter of our Course book was on Learner Motivation, like the title suggests, in Learner Motivation we were introduced to a variety of techniques, strategies and macro strategies that teachers can employ in order to motivate students, but before we went into an in-depth study of the motivational strategies, Rod explained to us on the relevance of a strong teacher/learner relationships, relating his experience with Thai students of different age groups in the Classroom, we also learnt about the impact this relationship could actually have on the Classroom environment and learning capacity of students if not employed and managed correctly. This was explained to us well with a discussion on the different types of power in the classroom namely – Coercive, reward-based and referent; Coercive power is punishment to students, which is strongly discouraged in  ESL Classrooms, Reward-based power- the ability to influence student participation with tangible or intangible recognition of positive behavior is not frowned upon, however it is not considered an effective method unless the whole class is rewarded. Referent power which s based on mutual trust between the student and teachers is favored in an ESL Classroom, we were also taught on behaviors and types of Students we would normally encounter in a Classroom. The topic was followed by Tuckman’s consideration of a group’s structural dynamics that usually goes through four stages, namely – Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. We were also taught on the framework for motivational strategies , which is all about creating the basic motivational condition, appropriate teacher behavior and good teacher-student rapport; a pleasant and supportive classroom atmosphere is also essential for good student learning, in addition to developing a cohesive learner group through interactions, inter-group competitions and having groups, spend time with each other. After a thorough deliberation on the three topics, we were then taught on the basics of generating student motivation, we were advised on the need for ESL teachers to understand that all learners actually exhibit an innate curiosity to explore the World but their curiosity is often distracted by uncontrollable factors such as compulsory attendance, curriculum content and grades. The student motivation lesson taught us quips on how to increase students’ goal orientation, by helping them pursue desired results through assistance of students, the advantage of this is that, student defined goals do reduce anxiety regarding task performance and also instills confidence of students with a sense of responsibility to achieve their goals.

              The seventh Chapter of the course book on “Classroom management’ primarily deals on the eleven techniques employed by teachers for better Classroom discipline, we were advised on how to gain the attention of the Classroom, through focusing techniques, letting the students know what they will be learning through direct instruction while keeping a close monitor on the progress of each student, classroom etiquettes such as the tone of voice that a teacher should use for small groups and large groups, tips on proper non-verbal cuing through facial expressions, body posture and hand signals, understand the type of students in a single classroom and building an environment that favors learning, knowing how to correct errors of students through patience, using assertive messages  by employing positive discipline while correcting students and setting rules for the Classroom. The classroom management techniques also focuses on things an ESL Teacher should avoid during class and in their interaction with students. The classroom technique lessons also focuses on how to deal with problem behavior from students with special focus on Thai students; this technique tries to help teachers understand why problems occur in classrooms, Rod’s experience in Thai classrooms and Online teaching was definitely a help. Chapter Eight of the course deals primarily with the teaching of pronunciations and articulation with lessons on the International phonetic alphabet, intonation, tone system and Chaining (syllabification) which are helpful aides in teaching vocabulary to students.

              As one enters classrooms at ENTRUST, you will find a lot of flex boards with information and tips on Classroom techniques, this tips are certainly of great importance as they will not only help you understand class lectures better; these tips are just what the ninth and the tenth chapter of the course book primarily deals with; Elicitation method, error Correction and teaching method are perhaps some of the most important lessons an ESL Teacher needs , before they start teaching in an ESL classroom, apart from teaching us about the methods we need to employ while teaching , the classroom becomes a demo Thai classroom as Rod shows and illustrates  how a teacher needs to approach the students with the various elicitation techniques, body language while giving us tips on how to concept check students. Chapter Eleven of the course book, starts with a demo class where we are taught everything about how our Lesson structure should be like, I love the system that ENTRUST tries to implement for its students, a system that not just only helped us during our Class presentations but also helped us during our English camp at Lamphun. The lesson structure is a five step process:

Warmer – Short, engaging introduction to new material to generate student interest.

Presentation– The Teacher presents a new language/vocabulary, with a question and answer, as the students follow the Teacher.

Practice– The students then practice the language/vocabulary as the teacher guides them through the whole process.

Production- The students are encouraged to use language/vocabulary through games and activities that maximizes participation.

Conclusion– The teacher reviewing key points taught and objectives achieved.

              The above five steps are also a great help in making term plans for an ESL Classrooms. Any lesson can be developed with the five steps taught at ENTRUST. Rod ran a step by step demonstration of every step along with tips on the games we could play with the students.

              After two days of Theory, a proper illustration on how to make a Lesson plan for our presentations and demo by Rod , it was time for presentations by the Class, the Class presentation is basically an ESL demo class by the students presenting vocabulary to a group of students along with a Lesson plan (every presentation requires a Lesson plan, which should be not a big worry if you listen to Rod as he guides you on how to make a lesson plan) , with every presentation assessed by Rod and a fellow student, the first presentation we were required to give a demo class for Kindergarten, followed by Primary and High School with the five steps we were taught in Lesson Structure. Students are required to get their own flash cards and toys for the games, the Stationery shop on the right of the first intersection on our way to the institute from the Resort is one of the only stationery shops that has a lamination machine, Chiang Mai has very less Stationery shops and I suggest you keep 1000 baht aside for expenditure on Stationery and toys. The goal of every presentation is to teach from Simple to Complex, with every student doing four to five presentation in the duration of the 21 day course, every presentation is assessed and graded, they are important for graduation, but Rod is always there to assist you if you make errors during the presentation, the last presentation was assessed by the students with Rod watching, we are required to correct any errors a presenter makes , and Rod steps in only when the Class fails to rectify an error. Chapters 12 till Chapter 14 deals with the basics of functional Grammar, which is actually a pre-requisite for any individual planning to become an English Teacher, it is a revision of Grammar we learned during our High school years.

              Chapters 15 and 16 of the course book talks about Productive and Receptive skills, these two chapters are more Teacher oriented as they give out pointers and lessons on the skills a Teacher needs to employ so as to foster good productivity in their teaching through improving their reading and writing skills, the two chapters focus on how to improve productivity in the Classroom, approaches to student writing, classroom speaking activities, the roles of the teacher, steps for teaching reading for EFL students, using taped materials for the students to listen to, both chapters are taught as video lessons as students note down pointers while listening to the video lecture.

              Chapter 17 deals on teaching Business English, with English being viewed as an individual’s access to the World, Business English focuses on teaching English to adult groups mostly professionals, Business English is also called survival English for business as it is the most spoken language in the business World, unlike a normal ESL classroom Business English focuses on teaching the students phrases for effective business English writing and reading. Business Topics for Beginners and Intermediate students are discussed and taught.

              Chapter 18 on Online Teaching, introduced us to the future of ESL Teaching, with the help of Technology, the chapter is a run down on the various platforms available for Online Teaching which is fast becoming popular. The Chapter focuses on helping the students identifying the right websites to choose for kicking off their Online Teaching career, while suggesting them the best gadgets to use during their online classes. Rod’s experience as an online teacher was really helpful in making us understand how Online Teaching actually works.

              Chapter 19 focused on the teaching of Math and Science, and how they are intricately connected to English as both the subjects use specialized English Vocabulary. We were taught on how to always teach from what is known to unknown, from simple to Complex. The last Chapter of the course book is a lesson on good Teacher Administration giving us a complete rundown on our first few days in an ESL Classroom, quips on how to plan our lessons, how to gather resources, how to develop a good Teacher-student relationship, how to make lesson plans for a term, and how to actually develop the qualities required of an ESL Teacher.

              Day 19 of our course, our teacher administration skills were put to test as we were asked to make a lesson plan for a whole term, this may sound like a Herculean task for many but your worries can be put to rest as long as you follow the lesson structure developed by ENTRUST, which is actually going to ease your work a lot. Follow the five steps and you can have a lesson plan for a whole year without any much deliberation.

              Day 20 of the course was when all our class learning abilities were put to test as we headed to Laohit Wittaya School at Lamphun for our real classroom teaching experience, The day started with everyone of us being allocated five classes each to teach for the whole day, we were introduced to the Principal , staff and students of the School as we geared up for our first experience as ESL Teachers, and a wonderful experience it was indeed, the intensive class sessions and presentation had done wonders to enable us to have very less to doubt of ourselves as everyone of us came out happily excited after our first session of Class ready to launch ourselves into a profession that would someday be responsible for moulding a future generation.

EDUCATIONAL TRIPS:

The first Saturday into our course we headed out on our first Jungle trip in Chiang Mai in a Songthaew with our trustable friend and Guide, Art one of the staff at ENTRUST, an hour and 50 kms later we arrived at  one of the elephant clinics at Mae Taeng Elephant park, for our first stop of the day, the Elephant park which began from the result of the ban of logging in Thailand was started in 1989 by the Chailert family, after spending some 30 mins feeding the elephants we were then led to the river bank where we had a first hand experience of bathing the elephants along with other guests , Chiang Mai is famous for its numerous elephant parks with a visit to the Elephants becoming a ritual for a lot of tourists.

              After an hour at the Elephant clinic we then headed to our second destination stopping by at a beautiful restaurant with a scenic view of the Mae Taeng river, for lunch , this was followed by a brief trek up a scenic mountain as we cooled ourselves, letting off some heat dipping ourselves in the Huay Sthan waterfall, after a good 45 minutes of relaxing bath the waterfall and enjoying the scenic beauty of the mountains we headed down as our songthaew drove us up to Sop Kai village as we braced ourselves for the best 10 km rafting the Mae Taeng river has to offer, after our full safety briefing we set off on our adventure through lush jungle and great scenery, as we continued downwards everyone on the raft came alive as we followed our guide’s command, charging forward paddling through the current, we did see some elephants floating as well, letting off some heat from the scorching sun, March is not really the best of months to go river rafting as it is usually dry season, but I am gearing myself up for the monsoons when the river current gets stronger, the Mae Taeng river experience is definitely better during monsoons, when the current is below danger levels. A 10 km rafting even in dry weather can be tiring if it’s your first time with paddles, this I can vouch as I felt my muscles stiffen as we paddled to the end of our course.

              River rafting done we headed to our songthaew as we made our way to the last destination for the day, the uphill drive was a memorable one, as I thought about home looking at the mountains, I found myself missing home as we approached a small village, stepping down to buy local jewellery and ornaments as we were greeted my smiling faces of wonderful village folks, for a moment I felt like I was back home. It was a sleepy drive back home as we were all tired after a long day and I could see everyone of us struggling to stay awake as we headed back to the resort on our Songthaew, a nice respite from a week of Intensive Class altogether.

The second Saturday of the week was a Cultural Trip.The trip was altogether a relaxing and educative experience after two weeks of Intensive Class and back to back presentations. The songthaew driver picked us up at around 11am as we headed to our first destination of the day. The first stop was at a meditation center which also has a Muay Thai training center, an hour of meditation with the monks immensely helped me in clearing my mind, it was a fresh breath of air after slugging it out for the past two weeks and all the worries involved as I prepared myself to embrace the country and people as my home (for a long time hopefully).

Classes and presentations can be stressful for someone who hasn’t actually been in a classroom environment for almost ten years as a student. The meditation definitely helped me in reconnecting myself with my inner self, post-meditation classes I have been repeating the steps taught to us daily and the results have been really beneficial. The meditation class was followed by Muay Thai classes, a keen Muay Thai enthusiast myself, it was a dream realized as I put on the gloves for the first time (not the last time though), I intend to do more meditation classes and Muay Thai, once I start teaching in Thailand. Meditation and Muay Thai are connected, as they both require a healthy mind and body. You can’t possibly be good at Muay Thai if you cannot focus your mind, and there’s no better way to increase your mental focus than through meditation. After an intensive Muay Thai lessons, a hot sauna shower awaited us, well, nothing like a hot shower after an hour of Muay Thai. The second part of the day was at The Silver Temple (Wat Sri Supha), we were led to a corner where there was a lady awaiting us to teach us how to craft our own keychains, my first self-made silver keychain.Two bowls of Khao Soi later, we headed to Walking street as we waited for the 7pm ceremony to start.

The Saturday Walking street market outside the Silver Temple is definitely a sight you do not want to miss during your stay in Chiang Mai, there’s a huge array of arts and crafts on sale apart from the huge assortment of street food!

The Silver Temple ceremony was the perfect end to a day well spent with first-hand experience of Buddhism in Thailand as we put our lighted candles in vases outside the Silver Temple before jotting our names on a long yellow cloth which was later wrapped around a Pagoda.

The cultural trip made me realize the beauty of Thailand which is definitely not the beach and sun, but rather the Temples and monks of the country, I am thankful to Entrust for the cultural experience they gave me, an experience I would’ve never had if I hadn’t enrolled myself to the program.

 

Super excited for more experiences in the future as I start teaching English in Thailand.

Joe Stevens