went to Thailand in the spring of 1975, to serve as a Peace Corps
volunteer. My assignment was a secondary education program
co-sponsored by the Thai government, the British Council, and the
World Bank. I spent two years I spent teaching English as a
Second Language to 7th and 8th grade
students in a Thai secondary school. During that time, one Thai
English teacher per semester went to Bangkok for enrichment
courses in ESL at the British Council.
group of 30 volunteers spent our first three months in country in
Peace Corps training, which meant intensive Thai language
instruction, cross-cultural training, and practice teaching. The
first portion took place in the Central Thai city of Nahkorn Sawan,
and for the second portion we moved to the northernmost Thai
province of Chiang Rai.
training, I was assigned to Thatoom Prachasermwit, a large, new
secondary school in Thatoom, a small town on the banks of the Mun
River in the northeastern province of Surin. The first semester I
lived in teacher’s housing on the school grounds. Then I rented a
large Thai-style house near the campus, inviting students from
villages too distant to allow a daily commute to live with me
during the week.
two years in Thatoom, I wanted to stay on in Thailand, so I
extended my Peace Corps term for one more year. After six weeks of
home leave back in North Carolina, I returned to Thailand and
moved into an apartment in Bangkok with fellow Peace Corps
volunteers. That year I taught English composition and literature
at Silpakorn University, which specializes in the fine arts and
all aspects of classical Thai culture.
summer of 1978, I completed my Peace Corps service and traveled
home through Asia with my dear friend Mary Claire Peceny, eating,
exploring and shopping our way through Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea,
Japan and Hawaii, before arriving back in Greensboro, North
Carolina, not far from where I live today.
Practice teaching in Chiang Rai
Second Photo: My school in Thatoom, Surin, in Northeast Thailand
Third Photo: With 8th grade students at my school
Fourth Photo: With students by the river in Chiang Rai