A first week is always full of surprises, students register on the appointed day, and the day after, and the after and the day after and probably a week after. Classes have started and teachers are asked to be lenient and we are.
The second session started so far with 94 students, of which 37 are new. The students come from every section in the camp, and the majority is female.
Students sharing ideas in a brainstorm session…
Writing questions to an undisclosed artist.
Other class, same exercise.
A rapper thinks hard.
Today we also had a small farewell as our teacher Wah Wah Htoo Say is leaving ESC for another future. She was with ESC for almost two years and has been very helpful with setting up the school again in 2017. Her enthusiasm in the classroom will be missed.
And also Tun Hla will focus on other topics. He was the person who started the talks in November to restart the school and he helped clearing the compound and some maintenance of the buildings. Without him ESC might not be the school it is now.
A small fruit filled farewell party for Wah Wah Htoo Say and Tun La.
Tun La inspects the fruit, while Saw Peacock tries some mango.
Wah Wah Htoo Say and son in the office.
The school compound added to the farewell with being beautiful.
Just in time for the rainy season we had the roof fixed.
The sunset at ESC is amazing, each and every day.
The first mangoes of the small trees in front of the office.
Next to the mangoes, this frangi pangi. (?)
The first session of 2017 started in January, with an placement test on the 7th and the first classes on the 16th. The week in between we had a badminton tournament and 136 students sat the test and signed up for classes. A school working group was already in place although one of the three original members had to leave because of other commitments. Our new set up meant that we started with two office managers and three local teachers, on top of that Marco from the USA would arrive later for the Intermediate and Upper Intermediate classes. Until his arrival Ton would take on his classes.
2017-01-07 Placement test ESC, Students in a class room.
2017-01-07 Placement test ESC, Students outside of the classroom.
2017-01-07 Placement test ESC, Tun La making sure all goes well/
2017-01-07 Placement test ESC, The working group, part of it, marking tests and collecting results.
During the first week students would still register until we stopped that possibility as classes had started. With Three Starter A classes, 2 Starter B, 1 Elementary, 1 Pre-Intermediate, and one mixed class of Intermediate and Upper-Intermediate we started the program.
As a team we had much to learn as most knowledge about running ESC had gone. In a way this makes the school also a learning place for the working group. Soon it was discovered that it would be better to adjust expectations to the level of development so far. Each day things would be done in a better way and right now the school independently run by local staff.
After two weeks Teacher Marco arrived and he took over the classes of Ton, and the students had to get used to the different way Marco would teach compared with Ton. Ton said it was an improvement.
San Win enters data in the school computer.
Thramu Wah Wah Htoo Say prepares a lesson.
Thara Peacock is ready for….
On April 7 was the final school day as Tingyan or Songkran was around the corner. Thara Marco stayed until the end of the month, promising to return for three more months.
Test for the 2nd session
On April 29, the placement test for new students was held and 31 new students came to the school to sit the test. Students from the first session are automatically placed, although they may opt for another level.
As it is a placement test all students will be accepted.
On May 2, the second session will start.
Welcome to this blog where I will try to create a history of English Speaking Course (ESC) in Nu Pho, a refugee camp on the border between Thailand and Burma. Since the start I have been involved with this school, although it was not something I started, that honor goes to a group of dedicated people who resided in the camp in 2006. All of them, I think, have by now moved on to greener pastures, as have many of the students that joined the program.
Those who went to countries like the USA, Australia and Norway, from time to time express fond memories of the time spend in Nu Pho and at ESC. Others went on to find employment in the camp or in Mae Sot, often with an enhanced confidence that was nurtured at ESC.
Hundreds of students called ESC their home during its existence, and it is still running, and over 30 volunteers came from all over the world to teach for 3 months, often staying longer.
It is my hope to show through this blog what a group of people can do if they have a shared objective and the willingness to aim for something higher. Several individuals made the difference between talking about a plan and executing it, the whole group made it all work.
To be part of this is humbling.