October 3, 2013

Meghan TEFL graduation tefl plus phuketIn our fourth installment of the TEFLPlus Spotlight, we caught up with Meghan who completed her TEFL training in our April 16 TEFL course last year. Almost a year and a half of living in Phuket has treated her well. She’s been happily teaching English in a place where you might not expect.

What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Meghan J. Haversack and I am from Lodi, California, USA.

It’s been over a year since you completed your training at TEFLPlus. Can you remember why you decided to teach English in Thailand?
While on a working-holiday in Australia, my previous boss enlightened me towards the prospect of moving to Asia. My visa was about to expire and I was not ready to go home. Marian, my general manager at Hard Rock Café Sydney was from Ireland, and a real no-nonsense type of woman. She basically looked me square in the eye, and said, “Why don’t you just move to Thailand and teach?! You would love it there and you could actually do something with all those years you spent in school!” I sat there for a moment and thought, “Why not?!” It was one of the best decisions I had ever made.

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How long did it take for you to get a job after completing your TEFL training?
During the last week of training in the TEFL program at TEFLPlus, I started sending out resumes. Once I completed the TEFL training I then printed out about 20-25 packets. I knew that I needed to go in person to these schools so I hired a motorbike taxi to take me around Phuket for the week. I was called and asked to interview for many schools, but was hoping for one in particular. This place however, was not a school; it was for an English instructor position at Phuket International Hospital. I had seen the job application on the TEFL Plus Phuket Facebook page, I applied and was called the following day for an interview. It took me about two weeks in total to find the job that I truly love!

Where do you currently live?
I currently live in Patong Beach. My condo is a two bedroom, one bathroom flat with a kitchen and living room. One of the best things about Baan Siri is it has a secured entry, in which you are only allowed to enter via key card! Also, it is located off the main roads so it is quiet and has a pleasant garden in the front. Rent tends to be more expensive in Patong, but I enjoy living so close to the beach especially all the madness that comes with living there. Plus, it is only a 20 minute motorbike ride over Patong hill to work.

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What are the good (and bad) things about living in Patong?
The good thing about living in Patong is that there are many things surrounding you for your enjoyment. The bad thing about living in Patong is that there are many things surrounding you for your enjoyment–if you are on a budget! Honestly, I love the many different cultures that encompass this little village; modern in some aspects while still keeping the Thai traditions.

Your situation is a little bit different because you are the on-site English teacher at one of Phuket’s major hospitals. Can you describe one of your typical days at work?
One of my typical days at work begins with checking emails and obtaining a ward census to see the types of patients we are assisting. I then prep my lessons for the day according to the patient census (as things change daily and flexibility within the curriculum is a must). Currently, I am teaching six different departments with training four to five times a day for one hour per each department; this includes but is not limited to: registration, insurance, and public relations etc. During the low season (May-September) I teach the non-clinical staff. During high season (October- April) my focus is on the clinical staff, where I teach within the nurses’ stations and wards of the hospital. Training includes basic conversation, vocabulary, some grammar, and various homework assignments. For the hospital, the emphasis is on speaking and listening to medical conversation. I am not a trained medical professional nor have I had any medical practice. My curriculum stems from observations, feedback from the head nursing department, and plenty of research. I teach a new nurse orientation every month, English for Fun program on Saturdays and edit various medical documents pertaining to the different needs of the hospital.

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What are your students like?
My students are both male and female between the ages of 18 and 65. Some students were given English training in secondary school, and some students gained speaking skills in their previous jobs. However, because the staff work for an international hospital, speaking skills are redeveloped to include medical diction.

What is your overall compensation package? Are you able to save any money?
I make average salary for teachers in Phuket, with a yearly bonus. Yes, I am able to save money each month and, if I didn’t live in Patong I could save heaps more. I treat myself to a nice dinner out with my significant other once a week and try to visit something new around the island every month.

How long do you plan on staying in Thailand?
I plan on staying in Thailand indefinitely. I feel that I am just beginning to make a positive impact in my student’s lives and cannot imagine living anywhere else at this time. Life is just too amazing here!

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Are you involved in any other projects or groups?
I am currently a member of The National Society of Leadership and Success, InterNations, and the International Sociology Honor Society. InterNations has just opened a Phuket chapter, so if you are looking to network or meet some new friends this a great organization to be a part of. There is also a group called Phuket New Era Expats on Facebook giving you insights to restaurants, policies, jobs, and life on Phuket Island.

What are your future plans?
My future plans include continuing to make a positive impact at Phuket International Hospital; my goal is to teach all 800 staff members in the next two years. This year I am planning a trip to Bangkok for Loy Krathong and hope to visit Myanmar for the Songkran festival in April. In the coming years, I will try to visit many of the other beautiful Asian countries that are so vast and remarkable!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with those planning on moving abroad to teach English?
Simply put, don’t think about it, just do it!

Thank you for your time and hope you enjoyed hearing about what makes my life in Thailand so rewarding and fascinating.

Thank you Meghan!

Well as you can see, Meghan has definitely been keeping herself busy. She’s focused on making a positive impact, and after a year and a half on Phuket, she has helped hundreds of students to improve their English. Everyone at TEFLPlus and Patong Language School is extremely happy to see Meghan working at a job she loves, and we all wish her continued success in the future.

If you’re ready for a change of scenery and teaching English in Thailand sounds like something you would like to pursue, contact us today.

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