Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mai Kow Jai Kaa

Mai Kow Jai Kaa = I don't understand.

This past week i began tutoring a few of my students who have been needing a little extra help. They're all extremely bright kids, but good number of them struggle in the areas of speaking and listening. After class for about an hour I'll tutor a student one-on-one and help them in whatever areas they most need help. Usually we'll both be pretty tired, seeing that it's the end of a long school day, yet these times are very important. I am able to more accurately gauge what the individual student needs, rather than the class as a whole, and i'm able to work with them until i'm confident that they understand.

It's not easy for these kids.

For the majority of a school day the kids are being taught in English (by me), but for an hour or two they will have classes taught in Thai. I recently sat in on one of the Thai classes and gained some valuable understanding. I watched the American kid (Missionary kid) who doesn't speak hardly any Thai, but he is in this school because the majority of the classes are in English, and his parents want him to learn Thai. I watched him fidget in his seat, daydream, become absolutely bored, and give up on trying to listen to the Thai teacher. It made me realize that when I teach, that is what it is like for ALL of the students in my class. It can be easy for me to get frustrated because they don't listen to me, forgetting that they have a really difficult time understanding me, and as a result it is easy to tune me out. I've seen it in my American student, and i've seen it in myself as it is easy for me to tune out any Thai that i hear spoken.

I'm trying to learn more of the Thai language. I've picked up a little...

The main reason that I am in Thailand is not to teach. The main reason is to share with people the love of God. Actions go a little ways... but to most of the Thai people i'm just another American tourist with a fat wallet. I need words to get past that. I've been writing everything down that i learn, and listening to stuff on CD and getting lots of pointers from the Thai teachers here, from people from the church, and from Rose, the fruit shake lady.

It's not easy to learn this language. In fact, with all of the tones it's very difficult. But it's worth it.


Suzanne said...


That's really neat that you have seen this so early in your time there! I'm glad that your heart is attuned to the needs of the children. I'm praying for you.


Derek Knight said...

Keep up the hard work! I'm sure it will pay off, if it hasn't started to already.

Anonymous said...

Is it time yet for the "Elizabeth, you're a great teacher" coments? We continue to pray fervently!


Anonymous said...

Is it time yet for the "Elizabeth, you're a great teacher" coments? We continue to pray fervently!


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