I have officially been in Thailand for one month! Crazy how fast it has flown by!! I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to sit and think about what to summarize until now… Ok, so orientation back in May was great and I met a ton of amazing people who I will stay in touch with for a long time. Now I am settled into my town of Chonburi, in a house with two other girls teaching at my school- one who was also new from my orientation and one who had already been here a semester. We live in a traditional Thai house with 3 stories and 6 bedrooms, although only 3 of us live here for now. I have my own little room and share a bathroom with another girl and we also have a pretty big living room area downstairs good for having people over.
I am teaching at Anuban Chonburi School, which goes from Kindergarten through 6th grade and has about 3,000 students total. I have a homeroom class in 1st grade and also teach 8 other classes of 1st graders. I teach English conversation, grammar, phonics, and reading & writing. It was definitely overwhelming at first, but I am starting to get the hang of it and get used to how the school works. I submit lesson plans every Monday and am basically responsible in full for what I teach and making sure the kids are learning what they need to. The other foreign teachers in grade 1 are all from the Philippines and are very sweet and helpful. The Thai teachers are also very nice, although I usually don’t understand what they are trying to say to me. The very best part is of course the kids! They are absolutely adorable! They are just as devious and crazy as kids back in the states, but they are so sweet and love to have your attention. I get random gifts of handmade book marks and pencils along with tons of hugs and kisses on my arms! Some classes are very well behaved, while some just never go as planned. It is definitely a trial and error experience, but it is important to be stern with the kids or they will never stop talking! 😀
Every morning, school begins with a ceremony for about 30 minutes where the students sing songs and recite stuff in Thai. Also, any announcements are made about school activities and a short English speech is made by one of the foreign teachers. The students have classes with different teachers each period, however the students stay in their classrooms and the teachers rotate. I rotate to 8 different classrooms throughout the week. The students have lunch from 12-12:50 each day and sit at long tables and eat their first serving and then the teachers gets a pot for their class and refills the bowls if students want more. After we finish helping the students, the teachers get to go eat. I typically eat lunch at the school which usually consists of rice or noodles with some kind of meat and veggies and then a soup. It’s not the best but it’s good enough. We also have the option of walking off campus to eat, but I typically don’t have time.
After lunch the kids are all sweaty and they put baby powder all over their faces when they come in- as seen in the pictures. Then classes continue until 4pm where we get to leave school.
After my hot walk home from school, we typically go into our rooms, strip down and stand in front of our fans lol. The heat is so intense here, we just sweat constantly every second of the day. Thank god there is air conditioning in the classrooms! When I get home, I usually prepare my lessons for the next day, take a nap or watch shows, and then go with my roommates to the market for dinner. We typically get a meal for between 35-60 baht, which would be $1.50-$3.00! It’s pretty great and definitely my favorite part of where we live. We also have a park, gym and track right by us too so I occasionally will go there at night.
After a long week of teaching, the weekends are what I look forward to most! So far i went to a different island for 3 weekends in a row, and then this past weekend I just went for a day trip to Bangkok to go shopping. It is so much fun to meet up with my other friends from orientation and travel to new places together! So far my favorite island was Koh Samet, closely followed by Koh Chang. Koh Samet had the most beautiful, relaxing beaches with the fluffiest sand! We spent one night there and just layed out on the beach, enjoyed the ocean and got dinner and drinks with friends. In Koh Chang, we got to go on a full day boat tour where we stopped at 5 different smaller islands and went to the beach and snorkeling at each! We also got breakfast, lunch and snacks on the boat. After that we all got Thai massages 🙂 The next day, some of us did an elephant excursion where we got to ride the elephants through beautiful paths and then get in the water and bathe them. It was a crazy experience being that close to those huge creatures!
Well, that’s just a little about what’s going on here in Thailand! Basically teaching all week like a responsible adult and then going and traveling on the weekends! I’m pretty much loving it 🙂 Check out my Facebook for more pictures and feel free to comment or message me if you have any questions!! –Megan–