There are a group of young, adventurous children who live in my neighborhood. The first time I rode my bike past their house they stopped me to ask what my name was. I replied and asked them what their names were and how old they were. They were able to tell me their names but they didn’t understand the second question about their age. Trying to strike up a conversation I said I was a teacher and huge smiles came to their face.
“Oooh Teacher Kelsey” they all said. “Yes, Teacher Kelsey.”
After our brief conversation we parted ways and they screamed goodbye to me until I was out of sight.
Two days later I was wandering around 711 to get out of the sweltering heat and the 3 children popped out of no where.
“TEACHER TEACHER” they screamed.
We introduced ourselves again since they couldn’t remember my name. They started asking me questions in Thai which I was unable to answer so once again our conversation was short. I went to check out with them following right behind me. Once outside we said our goodbyes and I hopped on my bike to head back to my apartment. Not 2 minutes later as I turned into the neighborhood I heard loud screams from behind me. The kids had followed me and were screaming my name. I stopped, turned around and there they were right behind me. The oldest girl decided she would hop off of her brothers bike and on to mine. Normally I wouldn’t mind but my bike here is pretty old and rickety. The steering handle is broken and the brakes don’t work. I can barely ride it by myself let alone with a little girl on the back. It was a slow start getting the bike moving again and the boys were not having it.
“Faster teacher faster!!” is all they screamed the entire way back to my apartment as I was just trying to make it back in one piece and not hit any stationary vehicle.
FYI I am buying a new bike tomorrow so I can actually enjoy riding a bike around town and not have to worry about running into another vehicle. After safely making it back we ran into my neighbor and fellow teacher, Grace. We decided to head to Tesco(basically an extremely unorganized Walmart) and had to part ways with the kids.
The children said their sad goodbyes and said “See you tomorrow Teacher Kelsey and Teacher Grace!”
Sure enough the next morning around 9:30 the kiddos were pounding on our door and yelling “Teacher Teacher!”
I had just woken up and did not answer, so eventually they left. They would pop up every 45 minutes or so to see if we were there. Around 5 p.m. I was in my living area cleaning and I look out the front window and there are 5 children staring at me.
They start screaming hysterically and bang on my door “Teacher Kelsey Teacher Kelsey Teacher Kelsey!!!”
I open the door and they all run up to me with huge grins on their faces. We sit on the bench and Pim, the girl I had met before introduces me to the other children I have not met yet. After our brief introduction she says that she wants me to write the Alphabet for everyone. I come back inside to get everything together and I write each kid the alphabet on a sheet of paper. I brought out a folder with paper, crayons and some miscellaneous items still in it from my TESOL course.
The children here have no sense of personal space and will pry through anything that you have next to them. While two of them were looking through my phone the others were searching through my folder. That’s when they found it. The envelope that had my cell phone number on it. Luckily I had just switched phone numbers several days prior because they went nuts. They each took out a blank sheet of paper and a crayon and wrote the phone number on the paper with my name next to it. They said thank you for stealing my phone number and put their paper, neatly folded up, in their bike basket.
Throughout this whole experience they kept asking me questions in Thai which I couldn’t understand. It was getting late and I was hungry so I tried to politely tell them I needed to eat dinner. They got upset and didn’t want me to leave so I decided to stick around several more minutes. Pim then told me that Mu, the youngest of the girls loves me.
“Mu loves Teacher Kelsey” “Teacher Kelsey loves Mu.”
“Yes” I replied. “Teacher Kelsey loves Mu and she loves you all.”
Their eyes got large and huge smiles covered their cute little faces.
“Mu loves Kelsey” Pim said again as she stroked my hair.
That sentence was repeated for a solid 5 minutes while they ran around my front door screaming and giggling.
Although I will probably have 5 cute little kiddos pounding on my everyday for a year wanting to play, there is nothing more sweet. The genuine excitement, fascination, and desire to learn these children have is incredible. In moments like this I am reminded why I moved half way across the world. Although I moved to see more of the world, I also moved to inspire young children. Based on my month and half here I have a feeling they will be teaching me a lot more than I will ever teach them.