I joined the team in May this year at the beginning of the Thai school year with the intention of staying until the end of 2014, however, I already want to stay for longer!
Back home in Brisbane I have been a teacher of children with special needs since graduating at the end of 2010 with a Bachelor of Education – Special Education.
After 3 years teaching at Claremont Special School I decided that I would take a year of leave to travel. Upon reflection though I decided that my time could be used in a more positive way and concluded that a year of volunteering would be a useful way to use my time.
I was lucky enough to be put in contact with MMR and Fr Frank in particular. The first few months have been extremely satisfying and encouraging for the future. The students are lovely and make each day worthwhile; they appreciate all your efforts small and large.
A highlight for me here, and in my teaching career, was Teacher Respect Day, where the students all bring flowers for their teachers and pay their respect to all the teachers.
Some of the students would wash your hands as a sign of respect and others were crying as they displayed their gratitude; it was an extremely humbling experience and one that I will remember fondly forever.
The volunteer accommodation places you comfortably within the Thai-Burmese cultures. You need to be prepared to deal with the odd issue, but if you appreciate that these things are not the end of the world, and that in reality the roof over your head is far more stable than those of your students or patients, you will have a great time.
All things considered my experiences here have been wonderful and I look forward to sharing my skills with my students and MMR to the best of my ability while I am here.