I really need to stop thinking about my teaching job with the mentality of “Well, I hope I don’t get fired today.”
If you read my last post, you already know how overwhelmed I am by the placement I was given. And I go into this next week of school with anxiety because last Thursday, I was told by a Filipino English teacher that I needed to be more strict with the children and pick up equal duties with my “partner” Thai co-teacher. Apparently, the 45 hours I spend at the school each week and the lessons I spend hours outside of work preparing aren’t enough. And the icing on the cake was when my co-teacher hinted at me coming in on Sunday to work on a bulletin board I’m supposed to make to go with the week’s topic. I politely declined. I’ll do that during the, oh wait, break that I don’t get.
I spend a lot of time at school thinking, “I’m sorry, but I’ve never done this before. I just came to this country two weeks ago, and not only am I adjusting to a different way of life, but experiencing the classroom for the first time. You all have been teaching at this school for years. You can’t expect me to be super teacher after one week. I am trying my best.” The Thais have this way of not telling you what you are doing wrong to your face, and maybe I’m just overreacting, but I’m getting a vibe that I’m just not good enough. And I always want to be good enough at everything I do.
And then on Friday, just a week into teaching, I woke up with horrible stomach cramps that left me on the bathroom floor in tears and resulted in having to take a sick day. For all you worriers, I’m okay. And I get sick days. But I feel like that’s just another reason for my school to think I’m inadequate. And I feel bad because I had an awesome lesson planned for the kids.
Last week was one heck of a ride. I had a yucky cold (seriously, how can someone as small as me produce so much snot? And really, powers that be, two colds less than 3 weeks apart? Not cool.) And then, with frustrations of teaching, and waking up ill on Friday, let’s just say, I hope this is a better week. I’m not 100% over the cold, but I feel like I’ll have more energy and am also more prepared with typed up lessons.
So that’s my feeling on the whole teaching thing right now. But I got some good advice from my dad and some other friends this week – don’t worry about the job and the expectations, do your best and have fun. So that’s what I intend to do.
But enough on teaching. That’s only half of the Thai experience.
This past weekend was pretty relaxed. I went along with some friends who had plans to go see a teacher from the high school in Rayong play the banjo at a local ex-pat bar, Wizards. It seems that Rayong closes up pretty early, even on the weekends, but there are a few places to go for drinks and good times with friends. On Friday, we mostly talked about future trip plans. It’s pretty exciting because we’ve set a date in December to go to Ko Samet, an island in Rayong province that’s about an hour’s trip. We still need to book lodging, but it will definitely be something to look forward too!
Saturday and Sunday mostly consisted of running errands. We went to TESCO Lotus, the Thai version of Wal-Mart, and I picked up a few things for the apartment. The big purchase was an electric cooker, which I hope to be able to make dinner with some nights. The food options around the apartment are pretty limited and as delicious as street food can be, a lot of it is processed, fried, or greasy. I think that’s a big reason my stomach got all weird on me last week. I got some chicken, pork and veggies to cook and am excited to have a way of cooking things…I really miss cooking. I tried the cooker on Saturday, and I can tell it’s going to be a bit of a trial and error device. I think it’s more of a hot pot or fryer, and has three temp settings, hot, hotter, and hottest. The hot setting boils water extremely fast, so I guess I’m going to be eating a bunch of boiled meats and veggies. Maybe I’ll splurge on a $12 rice cooker on my next trip to TESCO.
I’ve spent about $150 on things for the apartment, which I feel is a lot, but, in comparison, everything I bought would have probably cost double at Wal-Mart or Target back home. Getting “set up” in a new place is kind of expensive, no matter how low the cost of living may be.
Anyways, as frustrated as I sound with all the teaching stuff, I am actually enjoying my time here in Thailand. I feel like I’m settling in and there are definitely pangs of homesickness with the holidays coming up (all you people posting Christmas pictures, just stop!), but even with being sick in a foreign country, and feeling lonely at times, there haven’t been any meltdowns (except for the teaching meltdowns) where I’ve been looking at plane tickets home…yet. But I think that’s a good sign.
I think there are lots of things to like and dislike about Thailand. You have expectations before you go places, and I thought it was going to be a lot like Vietnam because it’s SE Asia, but I was so wrong. It’s got it’s own things going on, both good and bad, and you have to treat every place you visit independently of every other place you’ve been. If you find yourself saying, “Well I like XYZ better because it had 123″, then you’ll never appreciate where you are. Am I right?
So with all this said, I’m excited for the next week(s), so I’ll leave on a positive note with all the things I’m looking forward to!
Anyways, miss you all and wish you were here! Thanks for following all my ups and downs on this little journey of mine! XO.
PS. Oh, I guess you were highly disappointed there weren’t any pictures here either! It takes a long time to upload, and there are lots of pictures I want to share that don’t really correspond with “ugh…my life…” type posts, but I promise I’ll try and upload a post of pictures (not necessarily in chronological order) for all you visual learners out there. You can also follow my travel photos through Instagram online, or through the mobile app (search username: plhuyoung)