By Rob Bradfield
Eight Baylor graduates will have the chance to teach Thai royalty.
King Rama IX of Thailand has opened eight one-year English teaching positions at the Chitralada Palace School in Bangkok and reserved them exclusively for Baylor graduates. Kathryn Mueller, director of the Baylor in Thailand study abroad program, chairs the selection committee and will be conducting interviews for the positions through Thursday.
These positions have been opened annually for 20 years, and has been wildly popular among the participants.
“It’s been an incredible sociological pedagogical experience for our Baylor grads,” Mueller said
Students of any major are encouraged to apply.
Interested graduating seniors should send and email to Kathryn_Mueller@baylor.edu, or call (254) 710-6235 to set up an interview time. Interviews will be conducted between noon and 7 p.m. at 30-minute intervals from now to Thursday.
Students must be legal U.S. citizens with a valid passport and a degree from Baylor. Those accepted will have to purchase the initial ticket to Bangkok but will be reimbursed on arriving in Thailand.
The position includes cost of travel, housing, health insurance, as well as a monthly salary. Teachers have breaks during October and frequent Thai holidays, and are free to travel across the region.
Before leaving, former teachers in the program will help introduce the new recruits to the various customs they will have to observe while working for the king.
Things that have little significance in the West, like exposed forearms and wearing white, have vastly different meanings in Thailand. The culture shock is seldom a problem, Mueller said.
“I never knew a student that didn’t enjoy participating in the program,” Mueller said.
Laura Mannes, a 1996 Baylor graduate and participant, still fondly remembers the time she spent teaching in Thailand.
Mannes taught in Thailand for a year and managed to travel widely.
It was easy to pick up the language, even though the school and many of the people speak English, Mannes said.
Mannes said it was entirely possible to pick up Thai without any prior lessons.
“You are going to have to work at it, but you can learn it over there,” Mannes said. “Your students will want to teach you.”
What struck her most about Thailand was how welcoming the people were. Mannes said the people of Thailand have a natural affirming openness, and a vibrant and beautiful society.
“The culture there, the spirituality there, and the religion there is just amazing,” Mannes said.