Today was the last day of school for us English teachers (we don't have to be here for finals week next week), which marks the end of my high school teaching career. Teaching was a great experience and I vividly remember the feeling of anxiety I experienced sitting at my computer at home thinking about what it would be like teaching a class of 50 Thai high school students (850 students in all). I have gotten to know some of my students well and have grown to love them all (well almost all). It took me some time to figure out how to teach certain classes, but I do feel like I figured it out and now some of the classes I dreaded going to the first month here have become my favorite classes with some of my most loving and passionate (which meant loud and obnoxious at first) students.
|One of my favorite senior classes|
Our teaching situation hasn't been close to ideal: classes are huge, there is incredible lack of communication and organization, we are underemployed and spend way to much time just sitting in our office, the grades in our class do not effect the students, and most things are just for appearances. I don't think I would recommend Thailand to people interested in teaching abroad (mostly because countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos need us more from what I know) and the city I live in is not what I expected when I imagined myself teaching in Thailand. That being said, I do not regret teaching here. I think I have reached some students (and that is worth it to me even if it is just a handful of students), I have developed a few relationships that I hope will last the rest of my life, and I have learned more about myself and how I respond to negative situations. My underemployment has motivated me to learn about things that interest me in my free time and I am looking forward to working hard at my future job (although I do not know what it will be).
I have been teaching for about four months and now I have four more months of some amazing travel opportunities ahead of me. This weekend Eric and I will head north to Chiang Mai to meet my cousin and spend 2-3 weeks in that region. We actually have to come back to Suphan for 1-2 weeks to teach the science and math teachers english (a very silly and pointless little project) and then my mom is coming to visit for 3 weeks! After my mom leaves, Eric and I will work our way across Laos, down the coast of Vietnam, take a quick trip to Cambodia, spend 2 weeks in Sri Lanka, and I will end my travels spending a month with my sister, Mollie, in Nepal! My travel plans are loosely based around Room to Read as they work in every country I just listed (besides Thailand). My hope is to visit regions that they work in (although I can't just drop in on their schools) and plan on doing an official school tour in Nepal. I will continue to fundraise for my Run Vietnam for Literacy campaign and hope that by the time I get home my friends, family, and I will have raised enough money to build a library (in turn changing the lives of thousands of kids) in one of the countries I visited. The work I have been doing for Room to Read has definitely kept me engaged and excited about life when things got a little stagnant here and I am so greatful for my growing passion for the organization.
Our last day began similar to our first day being told to give a speech to the entire school minutes before it was speech time. There was a ceremony for the freshmen and seniors (M3 and M6), my students, and I was given a ton of candy and some flowers from my favorite students saying their goodbyes. I am a sucker and saying goodbye usually makes me tear up, which definitely happened when some of my favorite classes and students came to say goodbye. We had a goodbye dinner with the foreign languages department, which was delicious as always (it is great going out to dinner with people that can order more than the same stuff you are used to). We gave another speech to our department and were presented with gifts which we found out were hilarious when we got home. Eric received a tie with pink hearts all over with a matching pocket napkin thing and cufflinks. I received a black clutch purse covered in rhinestones, which would be perfect for any high school prom. Our little party really did make me realize how much I love some of the other teachers and came home only feeling good about my experience teaching.
|Goodbye dinner with our department|