- Me complaining
- My infrequent and brief moments of insight and clarity
- Fun adventures around Thailand
My coverage on teaching (the actual reason I am in Thailand) is lacking sufficiently.
A day in the life of a (very) novice teacher
I am on day 12 of teaching, and I seem to really enjoy counting days while in Thailand. Every class I've experienced has been overall pretty productive.
I get to school every day at 7:45, and teach 3-4 classes a day, except Friday where I only teach one (thank the heavens). 4 hours of wrangling pre-teens and teenagers attention is overwhelmingly exhausting. The only thing I can compare it to is a 12+ hour shift working in the food service industry, but in a fraction of the time.
I leave school every day around 4:30pm, unless a monsoon traps us in the building for an extra hour, and collapse in my bed when I get home. The A/C is blasting and I try to just relax. Interestingly enough, I spend a majority of my day sitting at my desk playing on my computer, writing blog posts, or editing photos, but I am still so tired after all of it. I normally fall asleep at 8 or 9pm, once my room is chilly enough for me to wrap myself in a blanket, and wake up again at 6:45am the next day to do it all over again.
Getting in the swing of things
Comparing my attitude from the first week to this week I've noticed a significant shift. Already my anxiety has diffused towards my lesson planning. Thailand is so different than America because these students honor and respect you no matter what. Not using this to justify not teaching well, but the students will listen to you and respect your "lesson plan" even if you just play games with them for 50 minutes. I have started to understand the Teacher Talking Time ratio, and how blissful it is to have the students propel their learning on their own. This week I have been using an adjective crossword puzzle for the students to complete in pairs, and the team to finish correctly first gets a prize (candy). It makes them work together and talk in English to find out what adjectives would fit appropriately in certain sentences. This proved to be a very successful game, and helped them apply adjective use to sentences and context more than just pointing to something "tall" or "green."It also gave me a break for most of the class to not be talking at them the whole time.
A day at a time
Overall, every day keeps getting better. Occasionally I'll have a day where I get way too hot and that results in me getting very cranky and tired, and I'll sleep for 14 hours. But I'm thankful for the A/C in my room and occasionally in the English department to cool me down. I've given up on looking polished and poised with sweat constantly pouring down my face and neck, small steps in acceptance. I'm thankful that my students are ANGELS compared to some of the horror stories I've heard, and they intently listen to me. I'm thankful my department is very on top of their duties and do a (fairly) good job of telling me about things before hand. All in all, I am very blessed at the school I am at, and I just need to remind myself of that when I'm feeling down. Everything here in Thailand is slowly teaching me a lesson I needed to learn.