Teaching in Thailand: ready for a roller coaster ride?

Interactions circa college-aged Anna:

Insert friend/family member/etc.: what are you majoring in? 

Me: English

Insert friend/family member/etc.: Oh so you’re going to be a teacher?

Me: Haha no wayyy…


Life is full of surprises…

Fast forward to less than a full year after graduation, and I’m looking online and quickly commuting to teaching English in Thailand. At that point, I have to admit that I wasn’t as focused on the teaching aspect of things. Teaching served as a means for travel and new experiences, I had no idea that I would enjoy it so much. 

Teaching experiences in Thailand are like snowflakes, they’re all extremely different. Younger kids to older kids, 20 different classes a week and hundreds of students to 1 home room class of 20 or so, rural schools with country farm children to fancy internationals schools with privileged kids. My agency placed me in a Christian Montessori school in south Thailand teaching a class of about 20 kindergarteners, ages 3-6. My first few weeks were a blur of being confused about what I should be doing, having no control over the kids whatsoever, getting frustrated with the language barrier and just feeling completely useless. Fortunately, my coordinator and co-workers were patient with me. Gradually I learned the ins and outs of teaching kindergarteners who speak a different language.

 Discipline is one game changer. I remember the first student I put on “the chair”, a then 3-year-old named Proong. Not going to lie, I felt completely unsure of myself and mean for doing so but I knew something had to be done. When I noticed how well-behaved he was following that moment… Lightbulb! I get it now. Discipline still isn’t my strong suit; I’m very thankful to have a co-teacher who is awesome at it and has the full respect of the students. I’m working my way there. Even as teachers, we’re the ones continuing to learn too. 

Being comfortable singing in front of and basically entertaining 5 year olds. I would consider myself an introvert as well as a terrible singer. The Montessori method of teaching doesn’t really allow electronics into the room, it’s very kinisthetic based learning