I am just about mid way through Pre-Service Training and I can't believe how fast the time has gone! At the same time, I feel like I've been here much longer because of how busy every day is and how much I've been learning. My typical day begins around 5 am, usually to the sound of roosters calling. (And as a lot of my friends know, I am naturally not a morning person! This has been a big change for me, but I really enjoy and appreciate the peacefulness of the morning now.) Around 7 I leave to bike 30 minutes to either the hub site or to the school I've been working at.
Most morning we have language training from 8-12 with the same group of 4 people. So far I've really enjoyed this part of training and am impressed with the Peace Corps' approach to teaching. During our class we only speak Thai and use a lot of visual props. Last week we had a practice language exam where we had to have a conversation with one of our trainers for 15 minutes. Some days it can be really frustrating feeling like you can't communicate with your host family or the locals, but then when I think about the fact that I've only been here a month and can have a 15 minute conversation I don't feel so bad!
After our language session the 2 groups here, YinD- Youth and Development and TCCO- Teacher Collaboartor and Community Outreach, split up for technical training from 1-5. So far we have been discussing the Thai educational system, how to write a lesson plan, activities to plan for class, and how to work with a Thai counterpart. Last week and this week the TCCO volunteers are doing a practicum where we are assigned to a class at a nearby school to teach an English class 7 times. This has been my first time teaching in a class room environment and has been very challenging- But definitely worth it! The class I was assigned to is first grade, and at my particular school I've been told it is the more “difficult” class to teach. I've had to spend a lot of time on class management, which has been a bit hard since we are expected to teach completely in English. (The regular English teacher does not really speak English and conducts the entire class in Thai.) Needless to say, this has been a great learning experience! After this week of practicum we will be doing other projects I'm looking forward to like learning how to plan an English camp.
When our training ends at 5 usually my mom rides her motorcycle to come pick me up. She always insists on carrying my back pack while I ride my bike and bringing me a drink for the ride home. I am definitely taken good care of here! I have really liked training so far, but as you can imagine, trying to learn a new language, teach a class that doesn't speak your native language, and then going home and continuing to stuggle with a new language can be quite discouraging. But, everyday when I am biking to and from training and see the beautiful sunrise and sunset over the endless rice paddies, I forget about all the frustrations and feel completely at peace.