For a month we have volunteered, in Sukhothai at a guesthouse. On January 13, we found ourselves on a bus towards Lampang province, specifically to village Li. There our friend Caroline is teaching English in Thailand’s school and kindergarten.
We met her in Sukhothai and was kind enough to invite ‘complete strangers’ to her house. Even though it was a bit of a detour from our initial plans, we gladly accepted her warm invite.
How We Got There
Bus from Sukhothai to Lampang takes approximately 4 hours costing 178 Baht per person. Once in Lampang, we took a songthaew, a passenger vehicle adapted from a pick-up used as a shared taxi, which takes additional 2 hours to the village. Super exhausting!
Our meeting point was Milk and Spa coffee shop at Wangtin Market. After the meeting with Caroline, we embarked on a walk to her house. Li appears to be a tiny village with everything close by. She rents a small house near one of the schools she teaches at and lives with two humongous cats – Michel and Jesus, the latter being a female.
Caroline follows the healthy eating lifestyle, therefore she makes everything at home. For dinner, she planned to make a gnocchi with a tomato sauce. Obviously, we helped her in preparation while chatting on different topics. We didn’t have such a good time for a long time!
Guest Teachers at Thai School
As Li is a small village far from the capital, children rarely see foreigners. Therefore, Caroline asked us to be guest teachers at her classes. We were happy to accept the offer.
Next morning we met with her pupils. We told them about ourselves, about Georgia and our travels. We even played various games with them.
Classrooms are similar to those in Georgian villages with the lack of resources, wooden tables, and plastic chairs.
At the end of each class, they stood up, put their palms together near their chest and said all along:
“Thank you teacher Barbara and teacher Maria. See you tomorrow”
and stormed out to enjoy their break. Some of them even came and hugged us at the end of the session. They were incredibly adorable!
A teacher is highly honored and appreciated in Thailand. They are well known for being very strict; so strict that they can beat a kid and it’s completely normal for the society. Thus, kids love foreign teachers. They relax around us and even fight each other for a seat next to us in a cafeteria.
As Caroline tells us, the Thai education system has many loop hauls. One of them, for example, is a non-failing structure till university, which leads to many student suicides.
The most disappointing fact to see is the discrimination in schools. No matter if it’s a public or private school, only those students attend English classes and some extracurricular activities whose family can afford to pay.
It’s a pity to see, but no one cares about it.