Burmese Learning Center
Teaching English in Thailand
Do you remember as a child how proud you were when you learned a new skill? Whether it is being able to write your name for the first time or learning how to count, education is essential in one’s development, confidence and ability to be a member of the community.
Teaching English in a Burmese Learning Center in Thailand is a valuable way to make positive impacts in both the students’ and teachers’ lives. Knowing English is a vital asset for venturing out into the working world, as English is the lingua franca.
While improving the lives and possibilities for Burmese youth living in Thailand, you will enrich yourself by having the opportunity to immerse in both Thai and Burmese cultures.
On the first day, our dedicated staff will take you through an introduction workshop to give an overview of your time with us. This first day will provide an introduction to teaching and the selection of resources that are available for you to use in the classroom. We understand it is a lot to take in when you first arrive, so don’t expect to remember everything! You’ll have the opportunity to ask any questions on your mind. We will ensure you quickly begin to feel like a member of the team. Also, we’ll go through the main cultural do’s and don’ts, so that you don’t unintentionally offend anyone during your time in Thailand (simple things like taking your shoes off when entering a home).
The second day we will go with you to the school and help plan lessons, while offering feedback from previous volunteers and worksheets that have been used to help them plan their lessons.
On the third day, you will be taken to the Burmese Learning Center and meet the teachers. Our volunteer coordinator will introduce you to the teachers and you’ll have a chance to be familiarized with the school. Your coordinator will offer tips and suggestions for lessons and teaching each class.
You’ll facilitate classes going forward. As a teacher, you’ll assist with the students’ conversational and pronunciation skills, as many of the students have not had the opportunity to speak with a native English speaker. Your presence in the classroom will help the teachers and students improve their confidence to interact with English-speaking foreigners, as many are too shy to speak English when they meet a visitor. The duration for each class is about an hour. You’ll lead classes each week and watch as your students’ language skills grow.
Project Life at the Burmese Learning Center
The children of Burmese migrants in Thailand are faced with unique challenges that differ from other children in Thailand. They do not have legal citizenship in Thailand, nor are they recognized as citizens of Burma. Most Burmese migrant children are unable to access the Thai education system and their parents often have also received little or no education. The support from volunteer teachers, like you, is crucial to break the cycle of poverty through sharing the gift of education.
Burmese migrants do not have small things many of us take for granted, they are prohibited from owning a mobile phone or operating a motorized vehicle. They are also subject to a 8 p.m. curfew and other martial laws.
A volunteer teacher at the Burmese Learning Center can make a profound difference. Many of the Burmese children are expected to earn a living as child labourers in rubber plantations or fisheries if they are unable to attend school. If they excel in school, the children will often have better opportunities that exceed those of earlier generations in their family. The school is off the beaten path, allowing a teacher to gain valuable insight into the Burmese culture.
Qualifications and Requirements
Everyone has a valuable contribution to make, whether you have teaching experience or not. Skilled volunteers can apply their teaching experience to help the students to improve their English language skills. Inexperienced volunteers can use our teaching materials and worksheets to teach.
An ideal volunteer will be able to commit to a period of three months, although help is also appreciated for those available for shorter lengths of time (minimum one month).
It is important that volunteers be proactive and able to work independently. It is possible that you will be the only volunteer teacher at the school. However, our team is close by and is available to assist you if questions or concerns arise.
We ask that all volunteers be:
- Open-minded, proactive and patient;
- Willing to accept new ideas and be respectful of different cultures;
- Be independent, mature and flexible; and
- Be willing to learn some basic Thai
A Typical School Day – Mondays to Fridays
|09:00 – 11:40||In-class teaching or lesson preparation|
|11:40 – 12:30||Lunch|
|12:30 – 15:30||In-class teaching or lesson preparation|
|*Additional time required to plan lessons|
|**There may be opportunities to tutor and teach an additional class for teachers after school|
- Teaching hours: 25 to 30 hours a week Monday to Friday
- Ages: 6-13 years old
- Class size: Up to 25
- School size: 80 students
- School day: 09:00 – 15:30
- Objective: Basic conversation and pronunciation, and to increase confidence communicating with foreign English speakers
- Subjects: English, geography, basic arithmetic and music (depends on the skills of the volunteer)
- Transport: Pick up organized by school
You can come and volunteer at any date, except when the Burmese Learning Center is closed for holidays. The center is closed from March to mid-May and from mid-September to late-October.
Our Prices Include:
- Donation to the school
- Lunch in school
- Accommodation in the area
- Financial contribution to other local social and environmental projects
- Support from bilingual Andaman Discoveries staff
- 7% Value-Added Tax
Our prices exclude:
- Flights, visas and departure taxes
- Vaccinations and travel insurance
- Transfer from the school to your next destination
- Other personal items and expenses
Furnished accommodation will be provided upon arrival. You will be living in Kuraburi, Phang Nga province, 2.5 hours from Thailand’s premiere tourist destination, Phuket. Despite its proximity to Phuket, Kuraburi is off the tourist path, giving you unique insight into the Thai way of life. Kuraburi is a small town, surrounded by lush mountainous jungle, boasting several idyllic waterfalls that are ideal for swimming. Stretches of deserted beach are a mere 20-minute drive from where you will be staying — a perfect location to see the stunning Andaman sunset.
The local market has a large selection of items to choose from in the morning, including waffles, rice soup and coffee. For dinner, local restaurants offer many mouth-watering dishes. There is also a late-afternoon market from about 4 to 8 p.m. for snacks, fruits and dinner. Please allow a daily budget of 200 Baht ($6 or £3) per day for food expenses (excluding alcoholic beverages).
Kuraburi is a small town, and everything is within walking distance.
Weekends are free for independent travel. Kuraburi is near many fascinating places including Phuket, Khao Lak, Koh Surin National Park (seasonal) and Khao Sok National Park, offering a variety of activities from eco tours, homestay programs, snorkeling and scuba diving.
Safety and Insurance
Kuraburi is a safe town. There is a police station and hospital in town. However, it is highly recommended that you purchase travel insurance prior to your departure.
Support Teaching Materials
To help you plan and teach, we have designed a comprehensive English curriculum specially designed for Thai students with lesson plans and worksheets. We’ve also designed lesson plans focusing on English for community tourism that might inspire some good ideas. You can use this to help plan your lessons once you know the level of your class and students. This is a project where independence, energy and initiative are very important — you may have to plan and teach classes without close supervision from the teachers, although they are on hand to help you whenever you need support.
Learning some Thai can be very useful during your stay. We have developed a Thai-English phrasebook and we highly encourage you to print it out and use it.
Previous volunteers have developed a useful homestay pack with flashcards, which you can print out and laminate before you leave. It will help you communicate with the local people and it contains ideas for games and activities which can assist you to develop lesson plans.