My academic teaching experience goes back to when I taught English at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand, as an English language lecturer. I was there for two years, and it was an invaluable experience for me. Here are examples of what I have done throughout my teaching years there:
- Introduction to Morphology and Syntax
This is a graduate class that I taught for half a semester. (The other professor taught the syntax part.) I taught a number of theories and, at the end of each lesson, I gave students language problems to do. We would then discuss these problems in class the following week. For class project, I had them pick a language they’re interested in, and then interview a native speaker of that language. The students were required to analyze the data from the interviews and discuss their findings in detail using theories they’ve learned in class.
- Foundations of English I, II and III
Kasetsart students have to take four, mandatory English classes. These are the first three of this series. All of us English language lecturers were required to teach them: we served all students from every faculty for the entire university and had to spread the workload over as many instructors as we could. Although the class sizes were usually large (over 50 students) and not ideal for a language class, it was still fun. It was also a good opportunity to practice teaching English as a second language to students of all proficiency levels. Besides teaching, I also was one of the Foundations of English III’s coordinators. Since there were over 60 sections open each semester, we had to make sure every lecturer was on the same page. We did everything—ranging from “labor” work (for example, counting teaching supplies and ordering them for the next semester, distributing teaching materials to all teachers, collecting money from the book sale)—to more teaching-related tasks—such as creating course syllabi, selecting books for outside reading, designing tests including designing and recording listening tests, etc. These courses were a lot of work, but well worth it.
- Reading English for Mass Communication
This was one of the classes that students could choose as their English IV requirement—the last of the mandatory, four-course class series. I absolutely loved teaching this class! My students were really fun to teach, and the teaching materials were extremely creative, and intuitive, yet very practical, informative and resourceful. We learned English through reading different types of articles or excerpts that were extracted from newspapers ranging from news, editorials, classifieds and even comics. Creating exercises and tests for this class were so much fun. The best thing about teaching this class was getting to work with Associate Professor Pikul, who created the class and wrote the textbook. I learned a lot from her. (Thank you kha, Na Pikul.)
- Technical English (for Agro-Industry Students)
This class was designed especially for students from the Faculty of Agro-Industry. They can count this course as the final English class they need to fulfill the university’ English requirements. The main goal of the course is to teach them reading skills, from context clues, pointing out main ideas and supporting ideas of an article, etc. We used articles related in their fields (that’s why it’s technical English) which are Biotechnology, Food Science, Packaging, and Products Development. Besides teaching, I also helped design tests. I learned quite a lot from teaching this class and learned a lot about the subject matters from the students. I was a teacher to them when it came to English, but the students were teachers to me when it was about, say, genetically-modified organisms. These students were brilliant. Also, again, I was very fortunate that I was given this great opportunity to teach this class. The professor who designed the course, Dr. Methinee, was a very knowledgeable, intelligent, energetic and kind to all of us who helped her teach. So, thank you kha, Na May.
- English for Secretaries
This class fell into my hands by accident, and I was glad it did. I was in the middle of a conversation with the Head of the Foreign Language Department, telling her I used to work as a secretary (more like coordinator at Toshiba, but my responsibilities overlapped between that and an administrative assistant). So, she suggested I try teaching the English for Secretaries course that was offered to students in the Department of Career Science whose major was Secretarial Science. I only had about a month to prepare, so I gathered what I had, and essentially wrote up the lessons myself. The students were great to work with and extremely good at English (reading, writing and grammar), but they still needed to strengthen their conversation skills. So, I created a conversational class based on functions such as receiving visitors, answering the phone, etc. Meanwhile, I would mention grammatical points regularly used in particular lessons. I also focused some of the sessions on writing minutes and memos so they could brush up their writing skills.
Non-academic teaching is what I prefer to call “tutoring.” Here are some of experiences that I have:
Elite Language Institute, Bangkok, Thailand
This is the place where I first discovered my love for teaching. My first student was Ma-Praw, a half-Thai, half-Japanese third grader who was absolutely adorable—but hated English. I was working at Toshiba then, but I also knew I really liked language and kids and would like to do something that could let me do both, so I applied for a job as a part-time language tutor at Elite Language Institute in Bangkok. Since my major was Japanese, my first assignment was “Ma-Praw.” I was hooked. It was a tremendously enjoyable experience and influenced my decision to further my studies in linguistics so I could become a language teacher.
I have extensive experience tutoring both English and Thai one-on-one.
In Thailand, I often tutored English on the side of my full-time job. Younger students were elementary and secondary students and older ones were mostly adults preparing to take language standardized tests, such as TOEIC, TOEFL or IELTS.
In New York, I offer private tutoring in Thai for both non-Thais and Thai-Americans. I also occasionally teach in association with Berlitz, ABC Language Exchange, and the Thai Cultural Center in Queens. I tailor lessons to each student’s specific needs, interests and proficiency level. I also offer a “Thai for Tourists” sequence for those who want to learn Thai just for getting more out of a trip to my beautiful home country. For those who are serious about the language, I offer “Thai for Beginners,” “Thai for Intermediate Learners,” and for advanced learners, I usually use a different, much more tailored approach.