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Teaching Chinese in Thailand

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Volunteer teachers from China are flocking to Thailand to meet demand for Mandarin classes. The workload is heavy, the conditions difficult, but the job can be a rewarding one. 

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This is an excerpt from a much longer story in the Life section of today's Bangkok Post. You can read the full story here: http://www.bangkokpost.com/lifestyle/interview/373559/for-the-love-of-learning

Teaching Chinese in Thailand

Story and photos by Cui Yuchen.

At 7 o'clock in the morning, Feng Shaojie goes to his office to prepare for Chinese lessons – something he does every day. As the supervisor of the Chinese class at Bangkok's Jintek School, the 26-year-old from China is one of the few thousand volunteer teachers who live in the Thai capital.

He is a member of a special group called the Volunteer Chinese Teachers, made up of young people from different provinces in China. The group is run by Hanban, the Confucius Institute Headquarters, a public institution affiliated with China's Ministry of Education which is committed to providing Chinese language.

After graduating with a law degree, Feng Shaojie participated in the examination held by Hanban. That year, the education bureau of Hebei province selected 128 volunteer teachers from 1,200 candidates. Feng was among those who passed the test.

The main reason Feng chose to become a Chinese teacher is his passion for Chinese culture.

Liu Juan is one of many Chinese volunteer teachers now working in Thailand.

Meanwhile, 25-year-old Liu Juan, who has been at Jintek for two years, said that her university major was teaching Chinese as a second language. After graduating she initially worked at the Bank of China. But Liu always wanted to be a Chinese teacher and when she heard about the volunteer programme, she quit her job and embarked on a new life in Thailand.

"I just want to do what I want so that I won't have any regrets," she said.

In the early days when volunteers came to Bangkok, it was not easy to adapt. A few days after he arrived in Thailand, Feng was assigned to work at Jaroensil School in the northern province of Phrae, a wholly unfamiliar place to him.

Like most volunteers, Feng had just graduated and had no teaching experience. And his command of Thai was pretty limited.

Feng studied Thai for three hours every day. Three months later, he could use Thai to teach students and communicate with others quite comfortably.

As his teaching skills improved he gained more confidence and built up good relationships with the parents of his students.

Besides improving their own language skills, volunteer teachers also have to work on teaching aids and think about how to make Thai students interested in Chinese. For children, if the teachers take a more playful approach to teaching, they will pay more attention in class. But for teenagers, the teachers have to think about how to be friends with them in order to manage them better.

Wang Yang faced this problem. She said that the students did not respond to her at first, since she was only 22 and looked like a teenager when she started to teach.

This situation made Wang feel disheartened. One day, a student who was not good at learning in other subjects came to her office and asked her: "Can you teach me personally if my classmates don't pay attention in your Chinese classes?"

Moved by this experience, she decided to rebuild her confidence and searched for an effective way to connect with her students.

"I tried to communicate with them, shared my feelings with them, and visited places with them after class," said Wang.

Every volunteer teacher has a heavy workload. Wang Yang has 36 classes in her school but only three teachers. While the students at Jintek learn Chinese for two hours every day, the teachers have to teach at least six lessons a day.

Liu Juan said that she wants to do nothing but have a rest after working for a whole week, but she still has to teach weekend classes. Sometimes she also makes teaching aids and prepares the next lesson. Dining out is her greatest pleasure at weekends, because there is only one dish for every meal at Jintek.

A dormitory for Chinese volunteers.

Volunteer teachers also sometimes have to put up with poor living conditions. At one well-known Chinese school in Bangkok, the teachers' dormitory is a temporary shelter set up in the school's courtyard. At Jintek, the Chinese teachers' dorm is on the roof of the building. There is no washroom and water sometimes leaks in on rainy days.

Nevertheless, the volunteers have adapted and remain upbeat. On the roof of Jintek there are two hammocks.

"The previous volunteer teachers set them up. They had been here for more than two years," said Liu, adding that she enjoys lying in a hammock and looking up at the sky.

Learn from listening

Click "play" to listen to Teaching Chinese in Thailand and "Download" to keep this file for educational purpose.


adapt: to change to suit different conditions or uses - ปรับตัว

affiliated: connected with - ผูกพัน

aid: an object, a machine, a sign, etc. that you use to help you do something - สิ่งช่วย

approach: a way of doing or dealing with something; a particular way of doing something or thinking about something - การจัดการกับปัญหา วิธีการทำให้ถึงจุดหมาย

assign: to give a person a particular task or position - มอบหมาย, สั่งงาน

attention: interest, especially interest that the public has in a person, event, situation etc - ความสนใจ

candidate: one of the people being considered for a job - ตัวแทนที่ส่งเข้ารับตำแหน่ง

command: your knowledge of something; your ability to do or use something, especially a language - ความรู้อย่างแตกฉานทางภาษา

committed: willing to give your time and energy to something that you believe in - ยึดมั่น

conditions: the circumstances or situation in which people live, work or do things - เหตุการณ์, สภาพการ, สถานการณ์

confidence: being certain of your abilities or of having trust in people, plans, or the future - ความมั่นใจ

courtyard: an open space that is partly or completely surrounded by buildings and is usually part of a castle, a large house, etc - ลานบ้าน

culture: the customs and beliefs, art, way of life and social organization of a particular country or group - วัฒนธรรม

dining: eating (especially dinner) - รับประทาน

disheartened: a feeling of disappointment, i.e., that you have lost hope and energy - หมดกำลังใจ,ท้อใจ

dormitory: a large building in or near a college or university, where students live - หอพัก

effective: producing the result that was intended - ได้ผลดี

embark on: to start a new project or activity, usually one that will be difficult and will take time - เริ่มดำเนินการสิ่งใหม่ (ที่ยาก)

excerpt: a part of a longer story, speech, song, text, etc. - บทคัดย่อ

hammock: a type of bed made from a net or from a piece of strong material, with ropes at each end that are used to hang it between two trees, posts, etc. - เปล

headquarters: the place where an organisation or company has its main offices - สำนักงานใหญ่ กองบัญชาการ

improve: to get better - ดีขึ้น

initially: at first - ในเบื้องต้น

leak (noun form leakage): (of a liquid or gas) to flow out of a hole or crack - รั่ว

limited: not much or enough; not very great in amount or extent - จำกัด

meal: the food that you serve or eat at one time - มื้ออาหาร

meanwhile: at the same time - ในเวลาเดียวกัน

move: to cause somebody to have strong feelings, especially of sympathy or sadness - ดลใจ, เร้าอารมณ์

participate: to take part in something - เข้าร่วม

passion: a strong enthusiasm or interest - ความชื่นชม หลงใหล 

pleasure: the activity of enjoying yourself, especially in contrast to working; a state of feeling or being happy or satisfied - ความสนุกสนาน, ความรื่นเริง

previous: happening or existing before the event or object that you are talking about - แต่ก่อน, เมื่อก่อน

provide: to cause something to exist or be available - ให้

regret: a feeling of sadness about something sad or wrong or about a mistake that you have made, and a wish that it could have been different and better - ความโทมนัส,ความเสียใจ,ความเศร้าโศก

relationship: the way in which two people, groups or countries behave towards each other or deal with each other - ความสัมพันธ์

respond: to say or do something as a reaction to something that has been said or done - ตอบสนอง, ตอบรับ

select: to choose - คัดเลือก

shelter: a temporary place to stay - ที่พักชั่วคราว

situation: all the circumstances and things that are happening at a particular time and in a particular place - สถานการณ์

skill: the ability to do something well, usually as a result of experience and training - ฝีมือ, ทักษะ

supervisor: someone who is in charge of an activity, a place, or a group of people such as workers or students - ผู้ควบคุมดูแล, หัวหน้างาน

temporary: done or used for only a limited period of time, i.e., not permanent - ชั่วคราว

unfamiliar: not have any knowledge or experience of something - ซึ่งไม่คุ้นเคย

upbeat: happy and positive because you are confident that you will get what you want - มีความหวัง, มองโลกในแง่ดี

volunteer: someone who is not paid for the work that they do - อาสาสมัคร

wholly: completely - ทั้งหมด, ทั้งสิ้น, เต็มที่

workload: the amount of work that has to be done by a particular person or organisation - ปริมาณงานที่คนหรือเครื่องจักรทำได้ระยะเวลาหนึ่ง

More on this topic

Related search: Volunteer Chinese teachers, Bangkok, Jintek school, Hanban

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