Teaching in Bangkok: Two weeks in

Teaching Bangkok Thailand

So, it was the last day of prep courses. The next day I would fly to Singapore for a few days, returning next the following Tuesday. I then had a day or two here and there of final training, mainly to cover things I’d missed while doing prep courses. Then, the actual school year would begin on May 15. Kinda strange that, technically, I hadn’t actually begun my real job!

Prep courses went well enough but, as mentioned, teaching science proved somewhat challenging. The level of fluency wasn’t as high as it in Korea, where I’d taught some ten years before, though this was to be expected. Josh, the other teacher, said he had similar difficulties teaching math: they could occasionally grasp the concepts but needed to get beyond the vocabulary first. There were certain concepts, however, that the kids just didn’t get, like debt. But, well, I guess you don’t really want 12 year olds to be all that familiar with the concept of debt. Josh tried playing Monopoly with them (an online version shared on the TV) and the kids cheered when the game declared them all bankrupt. So, yeah, some of it would be an uphill climb.

The good—even great—thing was that they were small groups, just 13 kids, and really a good bunch of kids. Though few knew each other on the first day, you could see that they were all friends now, just two weeks later, and even the more disruptive girls (there are two or three) weren’t malicious about it, they just couldn’t seem to shut up (one of them, the ring leader, was also too strong for the class, so I figured she got bored and simply knew she could do fine without actually paying attention). The no fail policy also worked against us, but that just meant we had to make it more interesting for them. So I’d be needing to integrate far more games than I’d expected to.

Oh, but the internet and large screen TVs in the classroom did add options. For example, the gals loved to talk about ghosts! So I told them that, if we got through the lesson with time to spare (requiring that they pay attention), I’d allow them to shut the lights off, cluster their desks together, and watch a video. I showed them this:

They loved it.

I hadn’t explored a whole lot more of the city due to the weather: the last couple weeks had been incredibly hot. I hoped to do so between getting back from Singapore and starting classes, though, as the rainy season would be fast approaching and, though it only rained for a few hours a day, and typically in the evenings only, words I’d heard used to describe the rains included “dramatic” and “Biblical.” It would be a hell of an experience in and of itself.

Otherwise, I continued to enjoy the food, though I did have one day when I was starting get sick of all the rice and stir fries and whatever, so I just ate mango and Greek yogurt all day. Luckily, mangoes are incredibly cheap in Thailand.