Where do I begin? I planned to have have multiple posts between my first week of teaching and my last, yet here we are! When I accepted my position as a teacher in Thailand for five months it sounded like a long, and adequate amount of time to spend here. Of course, it was not, it is not. Time, as I learn more and more each day, goes so quickly, and as I prepare to leave I feel like I am leaving not just a town and new friends, but my home.
With anything that is about to be taken away from you, you start to feel nostalgic about all of the moments you’ve shared with it. I know haven’t I had enough moments, and that I’ve only started to scratch the surface with life here in Maesot, at Ratwittaya, with my many students, and new friends. While packing my things, however, I relish in the fact that I have these moments as tangible memories, and not ‘what ifs’ or dreams from a land afar.
To recap I was teaching just over 800 students each week, ranging in age from 7-18 years old, which translates to grades 1-11 – teaching all of the odd grades. I taught 25 hours, or 25 classes per week. My last weeks were filled with fun, sad good-byes, and more ‘I love you teacher’s’ than I can count.
My experience as a teacher, for the first time, in a foreign country, where English is not the first language was an exciting, awakening, and challenging experience. An experience that will always hold a small place in my heart. There were frustrations along the way – albeit most of them laid within my teenage students, no surprise there, but mostly there were many many smiles, misunderstandings, and laughs to counter those misunderstandings.
When a student said hello and approached me on the street with their parents, or responded to my question with something new they learned in class, it was an exciting moment for us both. These were the moments I cherished because there were many times I questioned why I was here, why am I in the classroom with these students who seemingly don’t care, why am I trying to teach them? But then I remembered if I don’t, who will? Yes, it was my job, but more than that I wanted to inspire them, I wanted to elevate their level of education, I want them to go as far as their dreams will take them and I had the opportunity to be apart of it. English will be a beneficial tool as they transcend their journeys and I hope that I helped push them a little further along with my teachings, and optimism.
I am sad to not be returning to the students I’ve become so fond of, but I hope that I left them with a desire to continue learning the English language, with curiosity, and a truer understanding of Western Cultures.
I am very proud of what them, and I have both accomplished over the last 5 months.
Top 10 Things You Come Across Teaching in Thailand:
- Teachaa, may I go toliet?
- *Stand-up* “Good morning teachaa… I am fine tank you, and youuuuu?” *Sit down*
- White out.
- Show up to class. To find out there is no class. Maybe it’s holiday, maybe they’re busy with something else… you will never know.
- Crepes with hotdogs, pork, or some sort of fish thing for snack.
- Coats and scarves in 80 degree weather.
- Cartoon/animation covered zip-ups. Every child wears one.
- Stickers!!! Valentine’s day especially. The popular kids get a lot.
- Students bring candy/food for the class and all of their friends on their birthday. We’re talking 10 pizzas, 10 buckets of KFC chicken, soda, and a cake.
- Teachaa, free day?! Pleaseeee.
I couldn’t be more thankful for my experiences as an English Teacher abroad and for a second chance to visit Thailand. Being a teacher, without a doubt, has made me a better student. A better student of life, and hopefully, a better, future Graduate student.
“Remember me and smile, for it’s better to forget than to remember me and cry.” Dr. Seuss