03.11.2014 - 03.11.2014
I have officially completed my first semester as an English teacher at a government high school in Thailand and it feels good to be finished. I am happy for the experience, but I am glad for the break. A typical class size in a government school in Thailand is about 45 students. I taught a few M3 classes with over 50 students. It can be very overwelming to control a room of 50 people, much less 50 rowdy young boys that dont care about learning English. Like many, I have always had a fear of public speaking or talking in front of groups. It has been something that I aspired to work on, and leading a classroom everyday definitley helped me to become more comfortable speaking in front of large groups. I also had to speak at the flag ceremony a few times throughout the semester. Talking in front of 4500 people is definitely a good way to get over a public speaking fear. I dont think anybody who knew me looked at me and thought "she will make a great teacher in Thailand!". I'm not offended, I didnt think that about myself. For me, it didnt come easy or naturally, I really had to work and push myself out of my comfort zone. I challenged myself everyday, and am truly proud of what I have overcome to get where I am today. I am proud of myself for finishing the semester, because there were times I was ready to just fuck it and head south to become a beach bum instead. Now the plan is to officially become a beach bum but at least I earned it
When I decided that I wanted to teach abroad, I assumed that it had to be at a school. I also work part time at a private language center and I truly enjoy that work. Zach works there full time and is rocking it too. I believe he's truly found his passion. Our classes are either private or no more then 5 students, and the people who sign up actually want to learn. Ages vary from four year olds to university students to corporate adults. Not only is it enjoyable, but I am actually pretty damn good at it. My students love me, and I have perfected the craft of devising a fun and balanced lesson every time. The hours are also much more flexible and the students actually care to learn. I've developed genuine rapport and relationships with my students. So for anyone thinking about teaching abroad, don't feel limited that you have to teach at a school, you don't. There is plenty of other work available if big impersonal classes aren't your thing. Jobs are so easy to come by in a Thailand, particularly if you are an American female. For some reason there are not many American females, at least where I'm at, and they are in high demand. Compared to home, the pay seems low, but when you factor in the ridiculously cheap cost of living it's actually really decent. We've actually been able to save quite a bit of money.
School is out for summer until May. The language school gets pretty busy during break with summer classes so we are going to keep working and take advantage of the extra classes. The plan is to keep saving so we can take a long break and travel or go live on an island for a few months. It's hard seeing all the facebook pictures from my TEFL friends because they have all started traveling during the school break. I just need to be patient, my time will come.
Even though I won't be renewing my contract, I wouldnt trade my semester teaching at Rachisima for the world. I had some great experiences and met some wonderful people. Highlights of the semester included:
-Writing the script and helping to organize the international fashion show
-Participating in the Christmas carnival by singing on stage and judging the Christmas Boy pagaent
- Celebrating the King's birthday with parades and school events
-Getting dressed up like a Thai angel and leading a school parade. I literally had to pose for a million pictures. I'm not big on being the center of attention so this was new for me. Everyone wanted a picture with the dressed up Falang
-Judging OCOP projects. OCOP stands for one class one project. Essentially each class makes a project and sets up a booth and presents it at the mall. The students get really involved and it was a lot of fun
-My school was in the running to win a national award so they put on a show for the government officials that was literally AMAZING. reaffirmed that even though most students suck at English, they do have other talents.
-Thai teacher potlucks
-M3 graduation...I have to admit I felt proud for my students...even the ass holes
-Walking around my town and being waied at by random students. I will miss constantly being recognized (Teacher! teacher!) and respected (well respect is a loose term, but recognized yes)
Thanks for the memories. Peace out yo!