Back To School: Teacher Hamant Returns to Phuket

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This term, the Foundation was overjoyed to welcome back Teacher Hamant. Hamant began teaching for the Foundation in 2015 and stayed for 2 school years. Because he was only earning a humble stipend from the charity, he went abroad to Indonesia in 2017 to help set up a Singaporean preschool in Jakarta while also acting as the Head Teacher there. After a year working for the affluent families, Hamant felt something missing from his life and contacted Tina, the Director of Operations for PHBGTU, to express his eagerness to return to Phuket to teach children of low-income backgrounds.

In May 2019, a teaching position opened up at Kamala School and Hamant was able to join our team of devoted teachers and volunteers once again. His energy in the classroom motivates students to participate enthusiastically and his sympathy for the orphans and disadvantaged students drives him to provide the best classroom experience possible. He even sacrificed his lunch breaks to teach students who wanted additional learning and organized engaging Coconut Club activities every Tuesday.

Now with his first term coming to an end, we wanted to catch up with Hamant to see how it felt to be back in our classrooms once again.

What was your motivation to return to Phuket Has Been Good To Us?

Working away from Thailand, I found it really hard to find suitable charities to work with. I originally left [Thailand] to help open a school in Jakarta, Indonesia and I did visit some charities. Several of these charities dealt with children from disadvantaged backgrounds, but seemed to have more than enough support. I found myself with a desire to make a change and that motivated me to return to the Phuket Has Been Good To Us Foundation. The work that we do here is amazing.

How has it been returning to Phuket to teach? 

The return has been great! I really love seeing how the children have developed in the 2 years that I have been gone. Times have changed indeed and Kamala no longer looks the same. Still, some things don’t really change because the issues that the students face seem somewhat perennial. The new students that have joined the school come from very similar backgrounds as the students that were there before. With that said, every child is different and unique so each day is something new at the school.

You worked at Kalim school before. How is it returning to Phuket and teaching at Kamala school?

No two schools are identical in any way whatsoever. Previously, I had been partially involved in the Kamala school but now being in it full time has revealed many things that I had previously overlooked. This allows me to better perform my role as a teacher and social worker for the well-being of the students. The Kalim school was amazing and still is. Being a smaller school, everything feels more like a family. With only a hundred students or so, the small group of teachers were all close friends that would help each other out at a moment’s notice. A smaller school also has the added advantage of control, both academically and socially. Teaching there allowed me to closely monitor students’ progress and development and even meet parents and family members. One often gets lost in a very large school but a bigger school allows for more opportunities to develop students. Also, with more Thai teachers around, our foreign teachers have added guidance when dealing with cultural issues and understanding how large schools work.

Now that the term is completed, how do you feel about the progress made this term?

This has been a very hard and long term indeed. However, my students keep me inspired, especially my Primary 3 class. They are a delightful, energetic group and simply a joy to teach. Their thirst for exploration and knowledge makes my work easier. Also, this class has a proper spirit of helping one another. Students who complete their tasks earlier are often seen mentoring the slower students. Their learning journey is a shared one and they have greatly benefited from the English, Math and Science classes provided by the PHBGTU Foundation.    

MontAzure’s sponsorship of Primary 3 English Integrated Studies allowed us to teach English, Maths and Science to this class. Sponsoring this class means they supported classroom supplies and a portion of the stipend for the 3 teachers: Jerlin the Science teacher, Jes the Math teacher and myself as the English teacher. We thank you MontAzure for your continued support! You have made such a difference in the lives of these disadvantaged children.

What do you look forward to doing next term with your students?

Coming to Kamala School has taught me a lot and helped me improve many skills such as student behaviour management, classroom organisation and the awarding and recording of grades.  The things I’ve learned are going to benefit the students in so many ways next semester and I am really excited for another successful term!

What do you have planned during your holiday?

My holiday will be spent doing the things that I have missed out on during the school term. My hobbies include cooking, riding motorcycles and swimming. I may do a 3-4 day ride up north of Phuket, weather dependent. Also, I want to learn and practice new recipes. At the end of October, I will return to Singapore for my father’s 60th birthday.

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