As soon as we got out of our required 15 day quarantine, an outbreak of Covid occurred in my province. The second wave hit Thailand and the epicenter of it was in my town. Because of this, most schools in Thailand were required to go back to virtual teaching for the remainder of December and all of January. On February 1st, most schools in Thailand could resume with in person teaching, except for my province. Fortunately, I live in the province of Samut Sakhon but my school was 10 minutes down the road in the province of Bangkok. That meant, I WAS GOING TO TEACH IN PERSON!!
I got a text on Saturday afternoon from my coordinator telling me that school would be reopening on Monday…. That gave me a day and a half to figure out what I was wearing, what to bring, etc. I had previously been to my school about 3 times because my students (ages 2-4) were not participating on Zoom and I would record a video to send to them. I was so excited, but of course a little nervous. I have 7 years of experience in Texas so I was confident in my teaching abilities but the first day jitters were still present.
When I arrived on Monday morning, I couldn’t wait to see the kids. My kids are between the ages of 2-4 and seeing them in their uniform with a backpack that completely swallowed them, made my heart burst. They are the cutest things I’ve laid my eyes on. I thought I would get to observe another English teacher and shadow her throughout the day to see what a typical day was like
I was completely wrong. At 8:40, I was teaching my first class. I had to teach 5 classes on my first day. I had absolutely nothing prepared and no resources aside from flashcards with the required vocabulary. I entered each class with my personal speaker, the roster, and flashcards. Because my kids were so little, they know VERY little English. I tried so hard, but to be quite honest my lessons were an absolute disaster. The kids just stared at me the entire class.
After 7 years of teaching, this was by far the hardest first week of school. I left school feeling so defeated. My lessons were terrible, I butchered all the student’s names, and I knew the Thai teachers thought I’m crazy. I cried most of the first week of school. I was confident in my teaching abilities in America but here in Thailand, I felt like I was failing the students and Thai teachers.
I’m here to tell you...
YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE HARD DAYS, YOU’RE GOING TO FEEL DEFEATED, AND YOU’RE GOING QUESTION WHAT YOU’RE DOING IN THAILAND, and that’s okay!
It will happen at some point and you will get through it. I went home and cried to the other OEG teachers that live with me. Of course, they were so supportive, sympathized with me, and encouraged me to get back up and try again, again, and again. They graciously spent the first week coloring, taping, and cutting things to help me make resources that I can use.
Days will be hard and you will feel defeated but you have to remember why you moved to Thailand. You were placed at your school for a purpose. You are making an impact on these kids even on your hardest days. You are growing, changing, and ultimately, the hard days make you a better person. It’s okay to be frustrated and struggle a bit but you will get through it. Rely on those around you to help you, give you advice, and encourage you to keep pushing on. Your hard and uncomfortable moments will be outweighed by all the fun times and great memories you make the rest of the time in Thailand!