I have been teaching in Bangsaen since May. After only two days I felt a little overwhelmed. I had good days and bad days, where the lessons went ok or they didn’t. The kids are so noisy and there are 32 9 and 10 year olds- so it was very difficult to keep them engaged.
I was talking to my friend about this and he said that 32 is far too many kids to give them all the much needed attention that they deserve. Believe me, 32 in a class is low for Thailand, some schools have 50 + students. Imagine! But, he said, it is also up to the teacher to try and engage them- a 50 minute class is a long time to keep them all interested, but I needed to find ways to get them learning without them getting bored. A difficult task at hand.
Two weeks later I wasn’t feeling much better. I always looked forward to the weekend, when I could just forget about work for two days. Not that I wanted to wish my life away, but I was thinking that I couldn’t do more than a year at this school. I mean teaching was great, and the kids are cute-very noisy and some of them have proper attitudes- but they are cute, and their little characters were just starting to emerge- so some of them made me laugh every day.
Nearly two months in and, dare I say it, it was going well. I was halfway to enjoying the teaching, but I realised I prefer teaching older students. The younger ones are so noisy, and a little harder to control, and this is not helped by the co-worker who talks in Thai to them when I am trying to teach them. (This has got a little better after having a few kindly words in his ear). When the classes went well, it really is a pleasure to teach the students, but the bad classes leave me feeling like I cannot teach-it’s a little soul destroying. But I decided I was sticking with it, although I was always on the look-out for another job.
So I knew I had to get out but I didn’t know which way to turn- go back to Surin, go to Sri Lanka or last resort go home? Yes, Sri Lanka is on my mind a lot at the moment. Maybe it is time for me to experience a new country, but that’s a story for another day.
It’s the atmosphere in the office that I have never liked. There is some sort of daily drama every day, and I don’t like friction, whether I am involved or not. It really sets me on edge and it doesn’t make for a pleasant working environment.
After talking to my friend, Chris, over a few civilized beers, he told me not to go anywhere yet but to apply to his company in Bangkok who were looking for female teachers. Chris is always full of guidance and advice, and he gave me the answer I was looking for.
I applied and I got the job, so am moving to Bangkok next month.
This has made me very happy- the last three months I have not been myself. Working somewhere I don’t want to and wondering whether I would even get a new job. I was planning on handing my notice in anyway at the end of the current term and exercising my plan B- move back to UK, at least until March. But at the back of my mind I never wanted to do that.
Everything about this new job sounds great- I will be teaching older students, a week off every six weeks, plus time off in December and April, so I will have time for writing and more travel. It will be a bit of a lifestyle change working evenings and weekends but it will be worth it.
I will be living in Sri Nakarin, near Bang Na. It’s a good area, outside of central Bangkok; close to a park where I can run, and cheapish condos which I am still yet to find. I have friends there already so I have a ready-made social life. And I can start to explore the parts of Bangkok that I don’t know about more easily.
I will miss teaching the kids- they really are a lot of fun but I have got to do what is right for me. So all in all a very good move for me and I cannot wait.