By Ajarn Payow Chuntaramongkol
2007 Fulbright Administrator Exchange Program
Nonghuakoopuangprachanukror School, Udonthani
An exchange program in the U.S. is considered a blissful yet challenging for scholars. Besides academic challenges and climate unfamiliarity, sometimes they also have to cope with their exchange partners for better or worse. For me, my exchange partner was one of the crucial factors influencing the success of my Fulbright time, and I am glad it was for the better!
Mrs. Jan Ormasa, is a wonderful and outstanding working woman with strong leadership qualities. She works very hard for her students especially the disabled as she has a strong belief in education and its significance. Her family is also very supportive and generous to make life easier for her to stay committed to her work. Their generosity was extended to me as well during my six-week stay in the U.S.
Jan and I had contacted each other long before I departed to the U.S. Thus, she helped provide me with sufficient information of the host country and make sure that we were on a common ground as several different aspects needed to be adjusted. All the credits went to her for that preparation!
My job and hers are slightly different. I work as a principal in a secondary school with 420 students and 19 teachers. On the contrary, my exchange partner works as a director of special service for 14 Hopkins district schools with many teachers. She organizes and conducts the meetings for school committees, school board members, coordinating teachers, social workers, special teachers, nurses and parents who join hands to work mostly with the disabled. She operates the organization to create new strategies and runs its assessment process. She can make decisions on most issues all by herself.
On my first week, I followed her to most of the school meetings. Then we came up with a schedule for me to visit high schools, elementary schools, pre-schools, transition plus, home schools, and St. Thomas University. I really enjoyed visiting educational institutions there as scheduled because of extensive learning from talking and sharing ideas with school principals, professors, students and parents. Visiting schools, observing classrooms and joining community activities were great time for me. Due to some language and cultural differences, I sometimes felt awkward and confused, struggling to fully explain what I tried to convey. I could get through it eventually with my partners close assistance. Her seriousness and enthusiasm to carefully plan my schedule combined with her full attention to me were incredible. I definitely knew how much experience she wanted me to reap, similar to what she has gained while being in Thailand earlier on.
The other good qualityI have learned from my exchange and my partner is patience to learn. When problems occurred especially while in a different country, I have learnt to calm down and solve problems in our Buddhist ways.
As a Fulbrighter, its my responsibility to develop our staffs capability so they will be able to stimulate more alternative viewpoints for students learning development. I will encourage and urge our school colleagues to contribute more to our students.
I would like to thank Fulbright for selecting me to join the Fulbright Administrator Exchange Program and give me a chance to explore the U.S. where abundant resources of learning, diverse cultures, and cutting-edge knowledge are not only available but valuable.
Thanks to Jan, my wonderful partner, for being my mentor and true friend during my rough time in a foreign land. Her great persuasion led me to realize even better the sacrifice to children especially the disables. I highly appreciate this fortunate opportunity that will eventually benefit our students, schools and the country. Thank you very much.
ข้อเขียนทั้งภาษาไทยและภาษาอังกฤษทุกเรื่องที่นำเสนอโดยมูลนิธิการศึกษาไทย-อเมริกัน (ฟุลไบรท์) ผู้สนใจสามารถจะนำไปใช้ประโยชน์ต่อการเรียนการสอนและกิจกรรมทางการศึกษาที่เกี่ยวข้องได้โดยขอความกรุณาอ้างอิงถึงแหล่งที่มาให้ชัดเจนด้วย
All the Thai and English articles written and posted by the Thailand -U.S. Educational Foundation (Fulbright) could be used to benefit the academic community. Please give appropriate credit to the author(s) and the Foundation.