A Day in the Life: Teaching English in Thailand

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Adapted from her blog, here is Amanda H's story: 

Time for Something Different.

I wanted something really different, and different I got. That was the whole reason why I was in Thailand, right? A change from the norm, a shock to my system. Changes can be beneficial in so many ways. A week into my new life as an English teacher in Thailand, and I can confidently say, yes, things are different. From the moment I wake up to the last sleepy thoughts before going to bed.

A typical day in Thanyaburi, Thailand, for this American is never boring. Here’s the rundown from cell phone alarm to Netflix and chill sweat in my bed all night.

English Teacher in Thailand probably looks something like this.

I wake up at 7:30AM, in a slightly damp bed from my sweat. Full disclosure, this is my fault since I do have the option of A/C in my studio apartment. Bravely, and maybe naively, I thought living without it may help me adjust to the constant 90-degree heat & humidity of Thailand. So far– not quite. Will report later.

I shower. Like most Thai showers, hot water is considered a luxury, and many don't have the temperature option. Fortunately, the water isn’t like cold water at home. Instead, the one temperature option is more of a luke-warm, which feels refreshing considering the heat.  [:)]

Getting ready is a much quicker process than at home in the States. Here, less is more, again considering the heat. It's a lesson in minimalism and low-maintenance. 

I put on either my knee-length dress or skirt, flats, and grab my cardigan. Thai schools have a strict dress code for teachers, since modest dress is ingrained in the culture. This means that while teaching, your knees, shoulders and toes must be covered. Yes, in Thailand. In 90+ degree heat. That being said, students across campus choose to wear wind-breakers and long sleeves all the time. Refer back to my thoughts on hopefully gaining the ability to adjust to the heat^.

I leave my apartment building, hit the unavoidable heat wall, begin my aforementioned sweat, and maybe swing by the coffee shop down the street. If you order a coffee in Thailand, it will come iced with ample amounts of sugar and condensed milk. You either love it, or you hate it.

I walk to school, cross the bridge over a canal, am now definitely glistening, and stealthily walk to the second floor to sign-in to an appropriately titled folder ‘Foreigners’. This is where the English teachers sign in and out each day. And ah, air conditioning. Then I follow my daily schedule which is set up in two 3-hour blocks– 9AM to Noon, and 1PM to 4PM. I am either co-teaching a class, meeting with students in the English Speaking Corner, or having a break. Our schedule allows us two Speaking Corner shifts and four co-teaching classes per week. 

The students here are usually very shy when they first meet a native English speaker, which is then hastily followed by a series of random and not-so-shy questions, including: “Do you have a boyfriend?” “Do you believe in love at first sight?” “Are you homesick or lovesick?” and “What do you notice first about the opposite sex?” Every day is something new and unexpectedly hilarious. So far, I have loved the ability to truly help students with writing essays, pronunciation and teaching them new vocabulary words. Oh, and selfies are ever-abundant. Peace signs included.

The English teachers usually converge again for lunch around Noon, and we venture to one of two campus cafeterias or “canteens.” I have been able to successfully eat most meals for 30-35 baht ($.84-$.97) So far, I stick with rice, chicken, noodle dishes, and sometimes if I’m lucky enough to find the correct line, potatoes. It takes a week or two to truly ace ordering food, given the language barrier. 

The rest of the day is finished around 4-4:30PM, and I venture back to my apartment. 

I try to exercise as frequently as possible (read: carbs) at the University stadium that is usually packed with students running, playing soccer, or cheering in the stands. I love all of the activity at night. Oh, and in case you were wondering, it does not get cooler once the sun goes down. A solid 90-degree night-time temp is considered normal. Sweat update: unreal.

I end my day with Netflix, and by finding solace in the little things, like my ceiling fan. I <3 Thailand.

-Amanda H., Teach in Thailand

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