It has only been one week since I arrived in Chiang Mai, Thailand, but I have already seen a myriad of beautiful and ornate temples around the city, drove up to the top of a nearby mountaintop on the most agonizingly twisty road, and made priceless connections with the students at the EarthRights International School (ERI).
The students at ERI are from Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. They are involved in environmental justice-related careers in their home countries and have come to ERI to improve their English and learn more about environmental justice and activism. The students are incredibly hardworking and passionate, so working with them has been a joy.
My day-to-day responsibilities consist of recording the morning class lecture in the form of a lesson plan, as well as working on homework assignments and essays in the evenings with the students. I am also helping to create English lessons the students can practice on a couple of nights of the week to help improve vocabulary and writing ability.
I love the informal nature of the classes at ERI. The students are all encouraged to participate, think critically, and share their cultures and experiences with one another. Working with the students at ERI, knowing that they will take the skills they learn here to do good in their own communities, is very rewarding for me. Helping the students refine their English skills certainly isn’t easy— it can take an hour or more to go through one short essay to explain everything in ways the students will understand. However, seeing the progress the students make over the course of various drafts is an accomplishment for them, and for me as well.
The students and administrative officials here at ERI are very kind and passionate individuals. The students are all so supportive of one another and help one another out constantly. I’m definitely very lucky to be able to work in this environment; it is inspiring.