Tag Archives: students

MA TESOL (part 2)

I started the MA TESOL program at Payap University in the fall of 2015.  My first semester is competed and I am gearing up to begin the second semester of classes.

Going from teaching and hanging out with Thai people all day to being a full time student in an international program where I speak English all day was a hard transition for me.  The amount of homework was more than I expected and my normal, social personality was traded in for a focused, much more introverted version of myself.  But, I handled the transition and finished the first semester with a 4.0.  (Yes, I’m bragging.)

The semester wasn’t without its bumps and chaos and the school work sucked out most of my time and energy (thus the lack of blogs…) but now, after a full month off, I am refreshed and excited to start the second semester.

God, being the Good Daddy that he is–knew that in order for me survive the intensity of the semester, I would need to be surrounded by a memorable cast of characters to go through it with.  I mean, it wouldn’t be my life if it didn’t somehow resemble a sitcom…

There are 13 people in my program, representing eight countries, and in honor of the new semester, I want to introduce you to a few of my favorite characters (using the nicknames I gave them the first week of class before I knew their real names…).


 1. Holy Spirit Woman

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Holy Spirit Woman is the classmate that I respect the most.  She is from Burma, married an American, has two young children, is the head of a ministry that works with Burmese refugees, this is her second Masters Degree AND she somehow is able to balance all the demands of her life as well as get (most) of her assignments turned in on time.

She’s amazing and inspiring.

2. GQ Man

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As his nickname suggests, this young man is quite the looker.  As a young, single woman, the first week of class, I took an inventory of my male classmates.  GQ Man cannot go unnoticed.  Unfortunately (or fortunately?), my personality is not attracted to the overly beautiful and so GQ Man’s perfectly quaffed hair did not distract me long.  Though I can not deny that he is very “easy on the eyes”. 🙂

3. Magic Man

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Ha!  Where do I even begin.

Magic Man is from Iran and has some of the biggest arm muscles I have ever seen in my life.  These massive muscles of his are well complimented with his incredibly insecure man personality… mix these two features together and you get quite the combination.

Magic Man is on the prowl.  He’s looking for love. He’s very interested in Thai women, however, can not speak Thai.  Over the course of the semester I was commissioned to interview potential dates, set up rendezvous times and was even asked to accompany him on a date as a translator (which I had to turn down–much to my disappointment).

Oh!  AND Magic Man is a magician whose card tricks blew me away class after class.

4. Laser Eyes

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Unfortunately, this classmate got his nickname due to the fact that every time he opened his mouth, the entire class glared at him with laser eyes of death.  So… you can pray for me with this one.

5. Ellen Degeneres

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Ellen is effortlessly cool.  She and her husband moved to Thailand and have built for themselves a personal retreat center at which she throws extravagant parties and invites any and everyone she knows.

At one such party, I noticed she had a wall full of ceramic Dutch row houses–as neither her, nor her husband originate form Holland, I was confused and asked for the story behind them.  She responded with, “They are the free gift we receive whenever we fly KLM Business Class.”  There were over 50 houses…

6. The Brit and 7. The Romanian

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 2.55.31 PMThis dating duo are the only other Westerns in the program.  The Brit never (ever) shows up to class and the Romanian never sleeps before coming to class.  These two are the “cool cats” of the program with their outspoken personalities and aloof attitudes.


There are a couple other people in the program, but these are the ones that I come home with stories about most often.

As the second semester is quickly approaching, my goal is to better balance my school work with other aspects of my life–which includes this blog.  Sooooooo, hopefully I will do a better job bringing you all into the sitcom that I call my Masters Program.

 

 

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With the Faith of a Child

I teach first level English.

Most of my students are 6-7 years old, from Buddhist families and prior to this school year have never been introduced to the Kingdom of God.  Most of them, when they go home, have no one to discuss matters of the Kingdom of God with, no one to reinforce what they are learning about this great God of Love, no one to affirm their young faith.

In fact, most of my students, when they go home, are strongly discouraged from believing these stories and expected to keep the tradition of Buddhism in the family.

I teach first level English… how much can they really understand anyway?

***

 

I start each morning off with Bible and prayer.  The school provides a Bible curriculum with memory verses and stories that the Thai teachers and English teachers should be teaching together.  I followed this structure for about the first semester, telling the great stories of the Christian faith and emphasizing the Character of God along the way.

I taught about relationship with God, about freedom in prayer and against methodical religion.  I also made it a habit to lay my hands on each student and declare the truth of God over their lives.

Around semester break, something began to shift.

I would come to class with a general idea of what the Bible theme was and what I was going to teach, but would end up teaching about something completely different.

One class we had a whole discussion about whether or not God can hear us if our hands aren’t folded and our eyes aren’t closed.  (He can.)

Another class we had a discussion about whether or not a child can be a Christian if their parents aren’t and whether or not we can pray to Jesus at a Buddhist temple. (2 Kings 5:17-19)

And a different class we had a discussion about whether or not God is able to heal someone who was born with a major ‘defect’ and why they were born that way.  (John 9:1-7)

Each morning I would walk away stunned at the depth of conversation I was having with my students.

But something even more profound than our conversations was unfolding before me.

***

Remember Folk?

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(He’s the boy.)

This little man was one of my main criers for the majority of the first semester of the school year.  I didn’t really know what to do with him and his habitual crying, so I would just let him be.

After semester break Folk was a new, little man.

I’m not sure what to attribute this change to, but he stopped crying and went from being my lowest performing student to being in the upper half of the class.  He also started wanting to pray.

Folk wanted to pray.

Whenever the opportunity presented itself to pray for a fellow student or situation, Folk was the first to volunteer.

I had taught one class about Jesus healing whomever was sick around Him and how Jesus tells us to do the same.  I explained the laying on of hands and that if the Spirit of Jesus lives inside of us, Jesus says we will do the same works as Him, and greater works yet (John 14:12).  Then, I asked the students that weren’t feeling well to stand up and those of us who were feeling well would pray for them.

I led that one prayer.

That one time.

Folk was one of the students that prayed and that day a fire caught inside of him.

Anytime a classmate was sick, this 7 year old, buddhist boy, would go over, lay his hands on their body and ask Jesus to heal them.

It has been astonishing to watch him walk out his young, un-jaded faith.

***

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This is Bootay.

Bootay is one of my rascaliest students.  He is very intelligent, very funny and very naughty.   He’s tough, he’s creative, he’s the life of the party–everyday.

Yesterday Bootay wasn’t feeling well, by morning break he was in tears due to his stomach hurting.  Bootay is not a crier.

I asked him if he wanted to go to the office and call him mom, he said ‘no’ and that his mom wouldn’t come pick him up.  I asked him if he wanted to go to the office anyway and he refused.  He left my class in tears and went to get his morning snack.

This is unusual behavior.

Caleb and another teacher noticed his silent tears due to his stomach ache and urged him to go call to his mom.  Bootay didn’t budge, he just stood there in pain.

At the beginning of the next class period I told Bootay to go rest on the floor in the back of the room and asked Folk to go pray for him.

I wish I would have taken a picture of this.

Bootay was laying face down on the mats in the back of the room and Folk was sitting on a chair, hands folded solemnly asking God to heal his friend.

While this is going on in the back of the classroom, I stood in the front talking to the rest of the students.  I gave them the run down for the period and told them that Bootay wasn’t feeling well, if any of them wanted to pray for him they could join Folk in the back.

All of the students went and laid hands on him and prayed until they were done.  One by one the students returned to their seats and started with their projects and Bootay was left in the back of the room resting.

Ten minutes later Bootay was 100% better.

100%!!!

100% better.

He came and told me that God healed him and then started doing the project with his friends.

By the end of the class another student was complaining of a headache so Bootay faithfully prayed for him in order to pass the blessing of healing on.

Wow!

Go Holy Spirit!

THIS is real life!

This is only one of the stories of crazy things God’s been doing in my classroom and with this school year coming to an end and a new year with new students on the verge, I anticipate many, many more.

“Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, will by no means enter it.”

~Jesus. (Luke 18:17)

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