Category Archives: Non-profits for teachers

Escape from the BIG MANGO to……….


the ancient royal capital of Siam (Thailand) from 1350-1767-approximately one hour north of Bangkok.

We could only imagine the days when the 500 or more gold-coated wats ( temples) glistened on the banks of the three rivers surrounding Ayutthaya. The Khmer (Cambodian) style prangs (religious towers) can still be seen towering over the lush countryside. Unfortunately, the Burmese armies attacked and burned the city to the ground in 1767, dashing  away with the gold and leaving the temples in ruins. The brick interior and what remains of the plaster exterior can be seen in the pictures below:



One Buddha is not enough in this religious town


Floating along the ancient markets



Tea time: Thai tea is sweet, milky, spicy, and DELICIOUS!


Our Students Can Be Our Best Teachers:

The Next Day: Ko Kret Island: Home of the Mon People

My students hosted us on an outing to this ancient city (northern part of Bangkok) where the Mon people still survive today making intricately designed pottery and amazingly decorative sweets. The King of Siam settled these Burmese refugees on this island 200 years ago.

IMG_2610 Ko Kret Flower Market


Artistic Sweets


Mon Potters



Boat Ride up the Chao Phraya River (main river running through Bangkok)



After a long day sightseeing,

Thai style relaxation: facials for 1/10 of the US price




Filed under Educating students in developing world, Non-profits for teachers, Teaching

Landing in Bangkok with a Splash!

IMG_1577I paid money for these piranha- like fish to nibble on my dead skin cells???  Once the shock factor passed, I was pleased with the results: baby-soft skin.

Summer 2013 Mission: Teaching in Thailand, the land of Wais and Wats

Mary, my sister, joined me this summer to teach in a Thai school. We will support students who want to learn English, and conduct teacher training classes for the Thai teachers. They are eager to learn effective teaching techniques for student engagement and academic success.

Chiang Mai

With a few free days before buckling down to our teaching schedule, we boarded a plane and flew north to Chiang Mai. This  ancient capital of the Lanna Empire was invaded by Burma; Burmese architecture, clothing and food is still visible today. In 1892, Siam (former name of central Thailand: e.g., The King and I ) annexed Lanna and the two regions became known as Thailand.


Riding elephants up a very steep jungle path; Wats in every corner (Buddhist temples); Tuk tuks ;and finally the shimmering, golden Doi Suthep temple perched on top of a mountain.


 Wat Prah Singh


Tuk Tuks: Thai transportation


The Lion Buddha

Doi Suthep

IMG_1714Lotus flower offering

Back to Bangkok : neighborhood market

Leaving you with a wai (Thai greeting) in front of my apartmentIMG_1838


Filed under Global Classroom, Heads of schools in Africa and Asia, Non-profits for teachers, Summer teaching overseas, Teaching

Teaching is my profession and mission!

 Teaching is my profession.

As summer approaches, I close another chapter in my full time teaching profession with an energetic and memorable group of eighth graders. This class has been uniquely special since I taught about half of them as their sixth grade teacher- I will miss them ALL!

Teaching is my mission !

I am preparing for my third summer abroad as a global teacher trainer. This summer I will be in Bangkok, Thailand with a side trip to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Bangkok, Thailand

thai children  I will be working in Bangkok, teaching students English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). My intention is to gain some experience in this area since there is a high demand for instruction in English, especially in competitive schools where the goal is for the students to attend a top ranked high school.

Summer 2012


While training teachers in India, I noted the instructors would often revert to Hindi when they needed to convey a challenging concept. After the lesson they would look at me and ask,” What is the English translation?”  With a smile, I would respond, I don’t speak Hindi.” We would  work together to create a Hindi/English version. Then the students were really confused! However, I was highly motivated to learn Hindi; my school did offer Hindi classes, and I sat on the front row and just like a sponge absorbed the lessons gratefully( sponges are probably not grateful). No, I do not speak fluent Hindi, but I expect after a few more summers I may surprise myself. Saubhagya! Wow, I may be multi-semi-fluent in Hindi, Thai, Vietnamese, and Shana (summer 2011 in Zimbabwe) after this summer.

Stay tuned  for summer overseas reflections before I embark on my next venture, June 7th.

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Filed under Educating students in developing world, Global Classroom, Heads of schools in Africa and Asia, Non-profits for teachers, Summer teaching overseas, Teacher Development, Teaching, Teaching in Africa, Teaching in India, Training Teachers in Cambodia, Training Teachers in Thailand, Training Teachers in Vietnam, Training teachers overseas, Valuing Education for girls, Zimbabwe

The Monsoons Have Arrived!

The rains have brought cooler temperatures, but the trade off is sloshing through muddy water and dodging the piles of floating trash- The solution:  hire a RICKSHAW!
I’m now with my home stay family for a ten day experience . The first night I was horrified to find geckos plastered to the ceiling and big poisonous- looking  spiders peering down at me: I  guess this is what local life offers. On the other hand, my host family has been so gracious; I’m learning Hindi and eating traditional Indian food.
This week I traveled to the Village School, Betawar. What a contrast to the city school. We travel an hour by bus through the countryside, viewing lush farmland, village huts, women carrying all sorts of items on their heads, and stands filled with an abundance of colorful  fruits and vegetables. The school is more laid back, and a majority of the students are from agricultural families where education is not emphasized. However, math is a popular subject, and I found myself in the middle of a 9th grade algebra class trying to demonstrate math techniques – the students were teaching me while I was teaching the teacher-it was hilarious. Connecting to the local bird life, we made colorful  peacocks with our hands in the first grade class. I used  Hindi to emphasize the multi- colored feathers: “Add lal, nila, pilla, safed, and hara.” I’m not sure if they were laughing at my Southern accent or my Hindi!

Today Calcutta:

I heard Mother Theresa speak in Charleston, SC and will never forget her message of love and compassion. My next excursion is a four day trip to the place where this Saint gave hope to the poorest of the poor in their final days.   More on Calcutta…………..

First graders making peacock hands


Monsoon riders



Teaching at the Village School



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Filed under Global Classroom, Heads of schools in Africa and Asia, Life in Varanasi, Non-profits for teachers, Summer teaching overseas, Teaching

Who’s Watching the Children?

As I prepare for my Indian classroom, (leaving Atlanta, June 21) my thoughts drift back to Africa where I  entered  classrooms of  children ( grades 1-7) from the majority tribe, Shona, with the sole intention to make a difference in their classroom experience.

In the end, I  discovered my own classroom beyond reading, writing and arithmetic.. I learned that smart boards, computers, and other teaching supplies do not teach children or teachers. ( enhancement yes- I do appreciate my smart board!) Through the weeks, I evolved as a teacher in a foreign country. For instance, understanding the educational culture of the host country and adapting lessons to match their interest was a creative endeavor-I organized a staff workshop around the African Bush  or the African wilderness where the elephants, giraffes, lions …roam.

I never saw a stapler or a paper clip on a teacher’s desk; compare this to an American classroom. Due to cost, copy machines did not produce mass copies for students’ convenience, rather, students copied all their assignments in exercise books that were graded daily for immediate feedback. Even the busy headmistress, Gil Martin, left school with a stack of notebooks to read and make nightly comments.

Students wore red uniforms and lovely floppy hats. I appreciated the customary tipping of the hat when greeted in the hall, or the” Good Morning, Mrs. Paul” as I entered the classroom.

Every day at 10:30 the entire staff  congregated in the teacher’s faculty room for a civilized cup of tea while the students were out for recess. I was startled to find the entire faculty gathered around a table sipping on tea and eating biscuits. Thinking as an American, from a liability standpoint, I blurted,  “WHO’S WATCHING THE CHILDREN!”  A voice called out, “They watch themselves.”

My new mantra: ” Relax and enjoy a cup of tea!”

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Filed under Global Classroom, Heads of schools in Africa and Asia, Non-profits for teachers, Summer teaching overseas, Teacher Development, Teaching, Teaching in Africa, Teaching in India, Training teachers overseas, Zimbabwe