I did it! I made it through my first week! Since many have been asking, here they are, pictures of my place!
**The main room- no decorations yet- working on it!**
**Western toilet AND a shower curtain! This is like striking GOLD in Thailand.**
**Microwave is also like striking gold. Blinged out my fridge with China magnets! The bathroom is the door on the left.**
And the best part of my day:
**The neighbor’s dog**
The town isn’t actually that small. It’s about 150,000 people but I refuse to get a motorbike since I can walk to school and therefore I am limiting myself to a certain radius. But I think I have what I need around here.
The lake is beautiful and I love having it here. I have started running again, which has been really great for me and I’m hoping to sign up for a race soon! Something to have my sights set on for the future.
The actual school part was much less painful than I thought it would be- but I know I’ll be punching myself next week for writing this because that’s when real school starts. This week was all intros and pre-tests.
Our school is both a primary and secondary school, but here they are called Prathom and Mattyom with the grade levels ranging from 1-6 in each. But our English department is only for the M’s. M1 is 7th grade up to M6 being seniors in high school. In our English department there are four foreign teachers and a few Thai co-teachers as well. Shay and Chris, from Australia and Michigan/Texas respectively, both came from Uni TEFL, a program very similar to mine- with a month training in Chiang Mai and a placement. Jinky is from the Philippines and she has been here for a semester already- but taught in another city so this is her first semester at DKT school.
We were given flowers and introduced ourselves to the entire school and everyone has been so warm and welcoming!
If I haven’t explained it before, many Thai people have nicknames in addition to their Thai name (thank GOD because I’d never be able to remember the Thai names). They range from practical to super duper awesome.
New is the director of the English department. He is hilarious and amazing as well as being extremely helpful. There are also several other teachers who are also incredible and I am extremely excited to be working alongside them!
I am teaching M1, M2, M3, M5 and M6. I have 11 classes and I see them twice a week. I am the only teacher who is teaching M6 which is pretty cool. Those lesson plans are all me and I can help them before they go off to college! The only problem is that there are a lot of students doing prep work for college and during the first week many students didn’t show. In true Thai style there would be classes where, “Oh, that class isn’t here today.”
Introduction week has been tricky because I am asking them to pull from prior knowledge. It is pre-tests and talking about things they like. The English level varies quite drastically here and it’s extremely difficult to get points across. I am really excited to start actually teaching which will hopefully make things more clear. But it’s a constant struggle because sometimes even a simple task takes 10 minutes to explain because they don’t understand the directions. And it’s hard for them to ask me questions because I don’t understand them either!
But Thursday was great! There was an academic competition which meant no classes and an AWESOME opening ceremonies where we got to see traditional Thai dancing plus a full out concert at like, 9 am.
With week 1 in the books I’m really looking forward to week 2 and really getting off the ground. This is just as much of a learning experience for me as it is for the kids. I am really doubting myself and my teaching abilities. I was so confident after graduation but now that I’m in it- really in it, I start to second guess myself. And I’m worried that no matter what I do, the short amount of time I have with them won’t make a very big difference. I posted last week about the culture shock that I’m experiencing and that still holds true for now. I know that most of my doubts and fears are the culture shock talking and I have to stay positive because those will soon fade. I have to stay positive for both myself and my students to get anything out of this experience. After meeting those sunshine smiling faces, it’s just hard not to get emotionally invested in each and every one of their futures.