Coming from teaching elementary school in America, I knew the first couple days/weeks of teaching would be a little overwhelming, and as I am writing this during week 4 of school, clearly, I was correct in what to expect. But hey, Mai Pen Rai! We began our journey heading from Bangkok to Chumphon on an overnight train. That experience was pretty cool in and of itself! We left Bangkok around 7 pm on Sunday night. This sounds totally normal, but let me put it into perspective...
The first day of school started Monday at 7:30 am. We arrived at the train station in Chumphon around 6:15 am and were driven to our housing by someone from our school. We arrived, but our baggage was in another car, so it took a little longer to get to us. By the time our baggage arrived, it was around 7 am. We quickly showered, got dressed, and headed to our classrooms just in time for school to begin. After that, everything went perfectly fine! Haha, oh how I wish this were true; however, unfortunately the day was just getting started. I show up to my classroom (I'm teaching Toddlers by the way) and the shelves are bare, there's maybe 3 books, half a computer for me to use, and my student's parents were going to be spending the day with me watching me teach and making sure their children were alright. To be blunt, I was freaking out! Finding the resource room was a lifesaver! (TIP: make sure you know where this room is at your school, trust me you will spend a lot of time in there!) Honestly, the first day was a blur. Not only for me, but for all the other teacher participants as well. Being thrown in like that was a lot, BUT I can say it has 100% gotten WAY better since then! Once my room started coming together, I settled into my new role as the toddler teacher. My husband (he teaches grades 4-9 science, language arts, and technology) has never taught a day in his life (unless you count him helping me out in my classroom back in the states as teaching) and after the first week he felt like he settled in as well. The first week will most likely be overwhelming but stick with it because it will get better. You learn how things go, your kids learn that you are here for them, relationships begin to grow, and your time in the classroom becomes more enjoyable!
I know every school is different, but I know that kids are the same. They need to feel like they can trust you and rely on you before they will ever settle in and begin learning from you. Put in the work to build those relationships with your students up front, and then the teaching will come easier after that!
Until next time: keep life simple, travel, and be kind!
If you would like to follow along on our journey, check out my Instagram @morganmoellering