It’s been one week since I landed at Bangkok International Airport, and today is my first day of teaching a first grade class how to count numbers one through ten in English.
I’m nervous after observing the students during our initial orientation. Why am I nervous? Because I truly want to help and for the following reasons:
- I have no experience teaching younger children.
- The children in our Thai public school have to follow the government’s text book.
- The children have not been taught the basics, therefore how do we help them progress to the next level in the textbook?
- The children learn by repeating and memorizing, and often repeat your questions without understanding that you expect an answer.
- I am a volunteer, and want them to succeed, but how do I get the entire class to pay attention?
- It seems that they listen when you’re loud, but I don’t like to shout.
- We are only here for a short period of time, so we have to continue with the same methods. I hope I remember the correct steps.
Besides being nervous,and wanting to make a difference, there is the added pressure of adapting to living in a communal atmosphere, and sharing bedrooms and bathrooms with my fellow volunteers who are as young as 17, and as “old” as 38.
I love young people, and admit that at first, I kept wondering if they questioned why a woman my age, was in this program.
It took me a few days to realize that I should just be myself, and not try to apologize for being older, or wanting to participate in their activities. I am treating this experience as pre-training for the Peace Corps, where I shall be living mostly with young people for 27 months, as a volunteer in Lesotho, Africa.
I’m pleased to say that I’m adapting to life in a foreign country without the luxuries of home. Brushing my teeth in the shower, only having cold water to wash, and often no toilet paper, but a small hose to rinse off, are some of the things I’m getting used to.
Now my frizzy hair, is something I cannot get used to taming, but that will come with time.
I believe that discovering new places, new foods and new people, make up for the lack of luxuries from home. At least that’s what I keep reminding myself.
Bravo, Sonia! You are doing what I hope to be doing soon. I finished CELTA certification in July and we are making plans to move to Thailand in October. I’ve been enjoying following your posts as we are on similar journeys. Good luck!
Jenni recently posted..The intensity of CELTA
maria orozcodo says
Wonderful Sonia and yes it’s so much fun and satisfaction to learn other cultures,and places. What a blessing, really, to be able to partake in such experience. I’m sure your lessons will stay with them with your earnest effort, sincerity and abilities.
Penelope James says
Fascinating adaptation process. Rinsing with a hose? Frizzy hair. It’s amazing how you have to learn to do without things you’ve always taken for granted in our culture. One thing that is similar anywhere in the world or so I suspect, is teaching children, whatever the language.
Linda Luke says
I have a feeling that you are there to model what a gutsy, wise woman looks like to those younger volunteers as well as teach the kids.
You are a mom. You are smart. You have a big heart. You will do just fine.
Linda Luke recently posted..How a Little Yellow Lamborghini Taught Me to Stop Comparing Myself to Others
Miss Footloose says
You’ll do fine. It’s an enormous challenge, so don’t expect to be perfect! As to not having all the comforts of modern life, well, that too will take an adjustment. I (we) did this in Africa when we were young and my husband was in the Peace Corps. I have to admit I wouldn’t be eager now to do without the comforts of modern life, so kudos to you for going on this adventure! PS: Below one of my Kenya stories 😉
Miss Footloose recently posted..Expat Foodie: Of Dog Spaying and Curry Cooking