I have successfully finished my fourth week of being a teacher. I am slowly getting used to the routine of waking up early, having a desk, being referred to as “Teacher Kyle”, and my life being a constant game of charades. When I first moved here, I could never have imagined that this type of life would become “normal”. Everything at first was overstimulating and required so much effort to do even the simplest of tasks like calling a taxi. I am no longer overwhelmed while walking through downtown Chiang Rai surrounded by Thai writing and locals, yet it has become a part of my life. I know that I still stand out because I am 6’3” and white, but I finally feel like this is my life and home, not just an extended vacation.
Teaching has been something that has challenged me in many ways thus far. Like I have previously mentioned, I am teaching 9th and 11th grade general English classes, and I am teaching 11th and 12th grade public speaking classes. I am getting better at planning lessons, grading papers, and having classes that teach students
while still having fun. Since I was so accustomed to the American way of life, the transition of working in Thailand has been a bit difficult at times. Over the last 3 weeks my schedule has changed at least 7 times (1 of which I was not told about resulting in me missing class), I have shown up to class and no students were there because there was a function I was not told about, and I was finally given the workbook I was supposed to teach from at the end of the 4th week.
Being an American, we are used to schedules and deadlines in every aspect of life. Everything must go according to plan and we freak out when it doesn’t happen that way. Here in Thailand, everyone has a “go with the flow” mentality and you are expected to keep calm and relax even when things do not go to plan. Everything that has happened thus far has been a lesson in letting go and fully enjoying my work here. In the Foreign Language Department, it is completely okay to take a nap during the day or run to the local cafe for a coffee not because people are lazy, but because Thai people want to thoroughly enjoy all aspects of life regardless if they are at work or out to eat with friends.
No matter how stressed I may get or how different the way of life is here in Thailand, I know that this experience is the perfect way to push me out of my comfort zone and help me learn more about myself than I ever though possible.
PS. Enjoy my photos from a recent trip to the Golden Triangle (where Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet).