Sr Petra Likhittam reflects on her ministry in Thailand
In 1978 I entered the Congregation of the Presentation Sisters in Western Australia, after obtaining my Teaching Certificate and teaching in Victoria. Following my profession I taught in a number of Presentation Schools in WA for the next 12 years. During that time I worked towards and gained my Masters Degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) with a view to returning to Thailand, my homeland, to minister as a Presentation Sister in an educational capacity.
In 1991, a community was established by the Congregation of Western Australia in Thailand – Sisters Joan Evans, Monica Maddox (RIP), Cecilia Phetpanomporn and me – and since that time I have been continually involved in the teaching of English as a Second Language in a number of schools. Currently I am working in the Diocese of Nakhornratchasrima and based in the town of Korat as an English Language Coordinator for eleven schools in the Diocese. Under the auspices of Bishop Joseph Chusack Sirisut I work in the Catholic Education Office with Fr John Ekachai, the Director of the Diocesan CEO. In the main I visit the schools, assist the teachers with any problems they may experience in their teaching and assist with their programmes and lesson plans for English teaching. I also conduct seminars, workshops, in-service days and supervise lessons in the classroom.
The eleven Catholic Schools in the Diocese cater for both Primary and Secondary students and by Australian Standards are quite large, most enrolling 1,000 or more students, with the largest enrolling some 6,000 students. I find my ministry challenging but fulfilling and I believe I am following Nano’s dictum to her sisters: “We must prefer the schools above all others.”