I 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 7thand 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.
My 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.
After 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.
After 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.
In the 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.
First Photo: 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