The People You Will Meet in a Thai School
Meeting people is a way of life. People will come and go continuously throughout your entire life and well, that’s just the way it is. The best part about meeting new people is that each person, regardless of the type of relationship you have with them, is a unique being and has something unique to teach you. It’s my belief that every person that comes into my life is there for a reason and I’m always keeping my eyes and hears open for what that person is there for. I’ve been especially doing this with everyone I meet here in my Thai High school.
My students are the cutest! Well, most of the time. I love my students with all of my heart; even the ones who don’t like me because I know they are teaching me about myself. Meeting your students during the first week of teaching might be a nerve racking experience if, like me, you have never taught before. If you don’t already know how to make a good first impression, you might want to spend some time researching/thinking about it!
The best advice I can give you is to smile. You will want your students to like you but you will also want them to respect you. There is a nice teacher/friend balance you will want to keep if you want the right amount of respect. Even though I am the teacher, my students seem to be constantly teaching me about myself! The bad classes definitely test my patience and the very smart classes teach me ways to think on my feet when I have finished the lesson plan in 15 minutes. The good students will worship you, want to take photos of you or with you, and will always say “hello!” when walking around school. The bad students might not give you a second glance. I guess this is just life though; not everyone is going to love you!
Also, teenagers will be teenagers, regardless of the country you are in. To think that every student will be fully engaged all of the time, when I have at least 500 students, is unrealistic. In the end, my students are the reason I am here, and you spend a lot of time with them, so you better be excited about meeting them!
The Thai Teachers
In the school, there will also be the other Thai teachers. If you are lucky like me, you will have some very helpful and loving teachers. The Thai teachers at the school have saved me and helped me through this entire experience. They are whom you go to for any questions about the school or even the town you are living in. I have two very good Thai teacher friends who are always checking up on me. They ask me how I am doing in my classes, take me out to lunch, and just help me in any way they can. I even had a very cool cultural experience of having a Thai teacher take me to her parents rice farm where I learned how to harvest rice and then had a very authentic Thai lunch!
It will be beneficial to get to know your Thai teachers because, like your students, you will also be spending a lot of time with them. You will have a much different relationship with your Thai teachers than your students and, for me, is a chance to learn more about the Thai culture. I can have full (English) conversations with them so I use that ability to understand things about the culture that I may have questions about. The Thai teachers are your coworkers, your friends, and a wealth of information for your time you spend in this foreign country.
The Lunch Employees
Lastly, but definitely not least, are the lunch employees! Well, every school is different and at your school you may have a sit down lunch every day, but at my school we have a canteen that we go to. My meals are around 20 TBH (less than 1$) and I find them very tasty!
My relationship with the lunch employees is somewhat shallow but nevertheless a good relationship. They cannot speak much English so every day when I see them; it’s usually a very short relationship consisting of a lot of smiling. These people can teach me a lot about the Thai culture as well, without having to say anything. They are always smiling, and always happy. This, in itself says a lot.
Being a “lunch lady” back in the States, is not socially defined as a very good job, and I remember them being so unhappy. This is not so here. They are so happy! Remember, everyone has something to teach you! The other reason you will want to get to know the lunch employees? FOOD, obviously, they will hook it up!!
The school in your new town will become your second home and the people you will meet will become your new best friends. The relationships you have with these people will have a defining factor on your experience as a whole, so you better create some good ones!
Yes, you are here teaching English, but don’t forget that you are also a student to life, where everyone you meet is a teacher.