Paul taught EFL at a Thailand Catholic School from 2008 until 2014. He also assisted in the school's extracurricular activities.
Extracurricular Activities at a Thailand Catholic School
From 2008 until 2014, I taught English as a Foreign Language (EFL) at a Thailand Catholic School in Samut Prakarn. In addition to spending an average of 20 hours a week in the classroom, my teaching contract required that I assist in several school extracurricular activities. These activities ran throughout the school year. Some were for multiple days and others required my presence off-campus.
In this article, I recall many school activities that I participated in during my six years of teaching.
Catholic School Extracurricular Activities
I began assisting in school extracurricular activities during my first year of teaching in 2008. From 2008 until 2014, I took part in the following activities. Each one is discussed in this article.
- English Day
- English Camp
- Sports Day
- Christmas Fair
- End of Year Teacher Show
- English Program Show for Parents
- ASEAN Day for Students
- Father's Day Activities
- Chaperone Students on Field Trips
- Prepare Students for Public Speaking
- Morning School Front Gate Greeter
- Attend Morning and Afternoon Student Assemblies
- Attend Teacher Seminars
1. English Day
I had been working at my school for only six weeks when I was told to prepare English Day activities during the middle of February 2008.
As a newly hired teacher, I had been tutoring school Thai teachers in English. Since the school year was almost finished, I had no idea what the purpose of English Day was.
Over the next six years, however, I learned that English Day was a special yearly occurrence to showcase how English can be fun for students.
On my last English Day in February 2014, I was part of a four-teacher team charged with introducing Marvel Comic heroes to fourth and fifth graders. Two of my team members masqueraded as Iron Man and Captain America. My job with the aid of prepared posters was to introduce five or six characters in English and quiz the students about them.
English Day at Saint Joseph Bangna School
2. English Camp
English Camp was an off-campus English language immersion for students enrolled in my school's English Program. The English Program offered English language instruction in science, math, and social studies in addition to an English language arts class by foreign English speakers. Students in the Thai Program had a foreign English teacher only for English class.
Our English immersion in August 2008 was held on the grounds of a hotel in Kanchanaburi. For three days and two nights, four or five foreign English teachers led the students in fun English activities during the day and evening. Broken into small groups during the day, we had class outside and enjoyed games and songs. In the evening, the students were in larger groups and put on small plays.
Although I had a bad case of the flu, I was still required to go on the English Camp immersion.
3. Sports Day
Sports Day was the most anticipated extracurricular activity at my school. This annual activity was usually held in November at the beginning of the dry, cool season.
Students loved Sports Day because it was held like a one-day Olympic Games. The highlight of the day was the grand opening and entry of the four or five participating teams with members from grades one through twelve.
Led by majorettes and the school band, the Green, Orange, Blue, Red, and Yellow teams paraded through the school's all-purpose sports and assembly area.
Some of the students were on chair ball, tug-of-war, and relay-racing teams. Most of the kids, however, were there to follow the cheers from cheerleaders who got to wear make-up and fancy colorful outfits.
Foreign teachers were assigned to one of the color teams. We were expected to sit with our team spectators and cheer for the team. In fact, however, many teachers were able to sneak off campus and spend a couple of hours in a nearby beer bar.
4. Christmas Fair
The annual Christmas Fair was the second most popular student extracurricular activity. It was always held a few days before Christmas following the school's mid-term exams.
I will always remember the Christmas Fair of 2010. That year, all teachers and twelfth-grade students worked in teams to raise money for the school.
My team had a Santa Claus and a guessing game. I dressed up as Santa and students paid to have their picture taken with Santa. Since many parents were present with their children, there was a big demand for a picture with Santa.
Two other team members ran a game in which students paid to guess the number of small pieces of candy in a fishbowl. The student with the guess closest to the actual number won a small prize.
The money-making games ran until 2:00 p.m. From 2:00 until 4:30, some teachers and students entertained with singing and dancing performances.
It was a festive occasion since the multi-purpose sports and assembly area had a big Christmas tree, ornaments, and colored lights all over.
Christmas Fair 2019
5. End of Year Teacher Show
At the end of the 2013 school year during the last week in February, both Thai and foreign teachers were required to put on a show for all of the students. There were one morning and one-afternoon performances.
An Australian female co-teacher and I were chosen by the school administration to sing a duet. The song was one I can not remember. Although the Australian and I practiced a few times, I was never comfortable singing the song. Thankfully, the students enjoyed it.
I remember Thai teachers putting on a classroom skit and an Austrian English teacher dancing the Blue Danube Waltz with a Thai teacher.
6. English Program Show for Parents
In August 2011, foreign teachers were tasked with preparing their students in the English Program to put on a show for their parents.
The performance was held on a Saturday morning under the school's English Program building. I prepared my sixth-grade students to put on a short drama skit. Other teachers assisted in arranging choral reading, singing, dancing, and puppet shows.
7. ASEAN Day for Students
In August 2012, my school decreed that all students must know something about the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) of which Thailand is a member.
Working in teams, foreign teachers had to present something about the nature of ASEAN.
I remember introducing simple greetings in the languages of each ASEAN nation - Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, and Brunei.
On one school day, we set up our stations on the ground floor of the English Program Building. Students came to all of our stations, viewed our presentations, and answered a few questions about them.
8. Father's Day Activities
Father's Day also known as King Rama IX's birthday is celebrated on December 5. Every year on the school day preceding Father's Day, my school had activities honoring King Rama IX. One of the activities was educating the students more about the King.
Foreign English teachers had to prepare activities in English about the King. Working once again in teams, my team did a presentation about the royal accomplishments of the King in Thailand. They included the construction of dams and agricultural projects for hill-tribe people.
9. Chaperone Students on Field Trips
In August 2010, I had to chaperone my sixth-grade students on a one-day field trip in Bangkok. We visited Wat Arun, Wat Po, and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in the morning. In the afternoon, we visited a museum.
10. Prepare Students for Public Speaking
For three or four years, I had to prepare my fifth and sixth-grade students for public speaking in front of the student body at a morning assembly. I initially let my students choose a topic and write a draft of their speech. After editing the student's speech, they would practice it with me during school recesses and lunch hours.
On the big day of their speech, I would stand behind them as they delivered a two or three-minute speech.
Student Speech at Morning Assembly
11. Morning School Front Gate Greeter
During my final year of teaching, I had to serve as a front gate greeter to all students as they entered the school campus in the morning. This lasted for 10-15 minutes before the start of the school morning assembly. I was on duty once every two months.
12. Attend Morning and Afternoon Student Assemblies
In addition to time spent in the classroom, a teaching contract required all teachers to have a homeroom class and spend time with them on daily morning and afternoon assemblies before the start of classes.
From 7:30 until 7:50 every morning, I had to stand with my homeroom class in the outdoor multi-purpose sports area for school announcements, prayers, and playing of the national anthem.
In the afternoon from 12:50 until 1:00, I had to once again be with my homeroom class to recite the "Our Father" prayer before leading them to their homeroom where all classes were held.
13. Attending Teacher Seminars
My final extracurricular activity was attending teacher seminars that were held semiannually. Some of the seminars were held all day long on both Saturday and Sunday. Thankfully, all seminars were held on the school campus.
© 2020 Paul Richard Kuehn
Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on December 31, 2020:
Thanks for commenting, Mary. The Catholic sisters I know work at Saint Joseph Bangna all around Thailand.
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on December 31, 2020:
This is interesting. I know some religious sisters; in fact, we talked this morning. They work at St. John's College, a Catholic school in Bangkok.
Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on December 23, 2020:
Actually, no more than one percent of the population is Christian. Students didn't have to be Christian to attend the Catholic school where I taught.
Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on December 23, 2020:
It is a good idea and the students really liked the show. Too bad that I am not that good of an entertainer.
MG Singh emge from Singapore on December 23, 2020:
Very interesting article, I didn't know there were so many Christians in Thailand as I go there often and see all Buddhists.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on December 23, 2020:
This is an interesting article about these activities, Paul. I think the teachers putting on a show at the end of the school year is a great idea.