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Volunthai’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 26 Feb 2008

Location: Thailand

MapMichael wrote: Donít you hate websites that only tell you the good stuff??? We do too, so here are a few emails from a couple who were having a tough time at their homestay, and the way that Volunthai helped them out:

ďDear Michael, Although we're having a great experience here we have not been completing the most important part and we wanted your opinion as we are not sure the best way to proceed.You see, we were told on our first week by the teacher that we would teach the kindergarten for the whole duration of our stay. After a lot of persuasion we were eventually allowed to teach the secondary school but then told we could only do it 2 days per week. We felt that the classes in the secondary school went brilliantly as the kids really responded to us, we got nearly all of them talking and really tried to hammer home the importance of them being confident and prepared to make mistakes; we were also told by the teacher (Nina) that we were excellent teachers.As we have not been allowed to teach at the secondary school we have been teaching at the kindergarten, which has been going quite well however we have a few problems with it. We feel that the children are just too young for us to make a real difference, whereas in the secondary school we feel we can. We want to do the right thing for Volunthai here but really feel our current position is untenable. The last thing we want to do is create a bad image for Volunthai so perhaps you could shed some new light on the situation for us. Many thanks, David and AliĒ

Michael adds: We really like it when volunteers communicate with us! It letís us know more about the schools we work with (since most of them are quite remote and we canít be there all the time), and it letís us help to fix the problem. The next day we made a tactful excuse to Dave and Aliís hosts, and sent them to another school. Hereís their next email to us:

ďDear Michael, Just wanted to let you know that everything is going great at our new school, so don't worry we won't be bothering you anymore! We are really happy and they seem genuinely pleased to have us here and would have us teaching 24/7 if they could! Our homestay is great too. The teacher we are staying with has been really good to us and very welcoming. Just thought we would give you a quick update and definitely recommend that you send loads of volunteers here! Thank you again for all your help last week, we really appreciated how you handled it because we were unsure of the best course of action at the time but we knew that you guys would know! Ali and DavidĒ