We always love hearing from our TEFL course graduates who empower their students to do their best and make the seemingly impossible happen! Martyn, a 2009 UEC TEFL course alumnus, set out to teach in the impoverished North East of Thailand. Hired by a village school to teach fifty children per class, five classes per day, he never gave up on his students and just kept challenging them to do their the best.

Below, in Martyn’s words, the inspiring story of one of his students:

It is not the past, it is the future that matters
Kay, with her dedication to overcoming the odds, has set a very good example for all the other students at her school: She comes from a very poor family background in the countryside, nobody in her family speaks English, yet she always focused on future possibilities and worked daily at learning the language and improving her skills: She did not know that this tenacity would eventually have her succeed beyond her expectations.

English Speaking Competitions in School
Every year, schools in Thailand participate in big competitions testing many academic subjects, from English to arts, for students to compete against each other and against other schools.

Two weeks to prepare
When I started at the school after completing the TEFL course in 2009, I had only been teaching seventh grade English at the school for 3 weeks when I was given the task of working with Kay on her speech and teaching other students the basics of public speaking. We were notified two weeks before the competition that our students were invited to attend. I think you can already see it was more her dedication than my doing that she did so well.
Kay entered the English public speaking competition, and in her first year she came away with a gold medal. It was not actually first place but fourth place, as all students who obtained a certain score, namely 85 out of 100, got a gold medal. This was the first time a student from her her school had ever got a prize of any kind in an English speaking competition.

Kay 2nd Prize award ceremony

Bangkok as the final proving ground
Since that first medal, Kay never stopped improving. The following year she came first in local area finals, then she came second in the North East area final English competition, which meant she would go to the national English language finals in Bangkok, a big city she had never visited before that time.
Unfortunately I could not join her for that competition in Bangkok, as my family was coming over from England for a visit. Kay adhered to my instructions and followed a routine we had developed for a previous competition. Well, she did not come in first in that competition, but as the final result, Kay came in second over all, received an award and had a great experience in Thailand’s capital.

Royal Thai University Scholarship Award
I am very proud to report that she is now one of a few students selected to obtain a Royal Thai Scholarship to attend university in England! I know that with her dedication, she will be very successful in all she does, and wish her the best of luck!
“The Yorkshire Tyke in Isaan”

Our two Cents:
To create a positive paradigm shift in the minds of young people and do your part to make the world a better place, no profession is better suited than teaching. Thailand’s rural areas and city schools need more dedicated Western teachers like Martyn. We congratulate you for your selfless determination and wonderful dedication to the young people in your classes, and wish you continued teaching success!

For information or details on how YOU can make a difference and start teaching for positive change, no matter what your previous profession, please contact us directly. Our TEFL course is offered in Bangkok every month, and it can really take you places.

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