Thai Students to Global Citizens

Today, Worachapha Banyongkid (Fair), an alumnus of cohort 3 of Teach For Thailand (TFT), continues to work as an Integrated Mathematics teacher at Roong Aroon School. Fair's choice to pursue her career in education reflects the ambition she honed since joining the Fellowship program, as well as the determination her two-year experience has motivated in her. But what change has she made along the way?

"Joining TFT, I've decided that people development is my passion, especially developing younger citizens so they could grow up to be quality adults and expand positivity to parts of society."

     We asked her, why education?

     “Because education is challenging for many children, and I don’t want them to suffer from a lack of quality learning experiences. I was fortunate enough to have had a good teacher, however, this shouldn’t be a matter of luck; it is a basic right.”

     For Fair, TFT has influenced her career decision as it exposed her to the reality of Thai education. 

     “TFT clarified my career path in education and the problems within the field, much more than my prior experience as a student. It also connects me with those who share the same passion, and it helps me keep going. If we just accept things as they are, then no change will happen, and we’d all burn out.” 

     During her two years as a TFT Fellow, Fair inspired her students through activities, such as using the game “Arena of Valor (RoV)” to motivate them to study.

     “I believe I’ve sparked something in the teachers at our school, with whom I’m still in contact. They are the newer generations who wanted to create change but were limited by the system. I joined them, and because we actually made a difference in the classroom – and outside of the classroom – those teachers are still putting in their efforts to make classrooms a fun and bonding experience between them and the students. 

     “I’ve also started new projects, showing the teachers that they can use new methods to win students’ hearts, such as the RoV competition we hosted. The rule was simple: to participate, you can’t have an F or a W (waiting for results) on your transcript. So students brought their friends to study more so they could play together.” 

     “We’ve made our students realize that playing games is okay, as long as they are also responsible for their tasks. The project also demystified the notion that gaming is bad,” Fair shared. “And the teachers now know more ways to encourage their students.” 

     The prize for the competition was a meal with e-sports players and well-known game developers, which inspired future career choices for the kids.

     Moreover, Fair also starred in a series of videos produced by the Thai Health Promotion Foundation that changed the attitudes of parents who placed overt expectations on their children. 

     At present, being a teacher is Fair’s main way of making a difference. 

     “As a teacher, I want the 80-90 kids under my care to become active citizens,” Fair told us. “We’ve hosted a TED Club so they have the space to voice their thoughts and tried to create a safe space for them.” 

     “Active citizens are global citizens who can add value to society on topics of their interests and what they’re good at.” 

     Fair’s mission aligns with TFT’s goal that one day all Thai children will become active citizens who endorse a just society and community through having access to quality education. 

     “Despite being a small part, change is possible. If I’m not here, the learning environment for students and other teachers might not be the same,” Fair concluded.