At the start of 2018 I was getting showered and ready to go to my mundane 8:30am to 5pm job and it dawned on me that I was stuck in a rut. The rut of waking up at 8am when I had to be at work for 8:30, running around like a headless chicken and being late for work most mornings. Something had to change for me.
I had three options to get myself out of this rut as far as I could see:
- Throw myself down the stairs to break a limb – Too painful and I wouldn’t escape my job forever.
- Have a child – Gotta wait 9 months to pop it out and support it for 18 years. It’s a no from me.
- Hop on an airplane and run away from all responsibility – No money.
How could I see the world with no money? Don’t get me wrong I had savings but the money eater that is my car used up a lot of said savings.
I did some research and realised I was qualified to teach English as a foreign language. Once this came to my realisation I was straight on a website enquiring more about TEFL and signing up to do my 240 hour course.
Flash forward 10 months and I am now sat in a public high school in Thailand getting ready to teach my sixth class of the day. I left my job in October and I have no regrets. I hate British winters, I disliked my job and I wanted to get away. I didn’t want to be one of those people who were born and raised in a town and never left. That’s never been for me. I’m a social butterfly and I would make friends with my own shadow on a night out given the chance.
I currently live in a town called U-Thong in the province of Suphanburi. It’s located about an hour and a half away from Bangkok and for a small town it surprisingly has everything you would need for daily life. I am the foreign girl, people pass me in the street and call me a ‘farang’ which is basically Thai for Westerner – this is not offensive to me because I am a foreigner to these people. Also, half the time I don’t understand them anyway. Every day people stare at me as if I have come from another planet but realistically I am just a small ginger girl from Leeds, England.
The people in my town speak minimal English and probably wont ever need to know it in their lives but they always offer me a friendly smile, regardless of whether it is accompanied by staring or not.
When I first arrived in U-Thong via a van from Bangkok my face looked panicked and I felt like I’d stepped into another extremely sweaty/humid world. I looked like a packed mule with a backpack on and a duffle bag, I was carrying my whole life on my back. I was greeted by a man who luckily spoke English and was the director of a primary school down the road from my apartment block. After he asked if I would like a job, to which I sadly declined, this friendly man had a conversation with my Thai consultant on the phone for 5 minutes and sure enough I felt safe enough to jump in his car with his wife and they gave me a ride to my apartment which was about a 10 minute walk away from where the van dropped me.
I have been in Thailand 3 weeks and at my school 9 days. I came to this country knowing how to say ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ in Thai but everything seems to be going well for me. I eat, I go for drinks and I sleep in my apartment, although the mattress is like sleeping on a 6ft rock (apparently it’s good for your back? Doesn’t feel it). I still haven’t picked up many Thai phrases as I have a lot of people around me who are willing to help when my face starts to look a little worried but I know that I will eventually.
I have realised that you need transport to be able to get anywhere. Walking is a word that is unknown out here due to how hot it is. It’s currently the ‘winter’ season in Thailand yet it reaches 35 degrees most days and my weather app keeps basically saying ‘feels like being on the sun’.
I now rent a motorbike to see the sights (sorry mum). After having a minor anxiety attack about the motorbike I was taken to Tesco car park by my friends and taught how to ride it safely, I even bought a helmet. My friends sat and drank beer in the car park whilst I and another friend rode around trying to get our balance correct. I genuinely felt like I was back in high school. I can now ride the motorbike more confidently than before but still not fabulous at it. Also, when I get off my hair is just one giant dreadlock?! It’s an absolute disaster.
Today is Tuesday and last week I completed my first full week of teaching, it was surprisingly very fun. Don’t get me wrong it’s exhausting but it’s so rewarding. My students seem to like me and even though I have to shout to get their attention they’re actually really great kids. I currently teach mathayom 3 (14-15 year olds) and mathayom 6 (17-18 year olds). I came into this job thinking it would be all colouring and dancing, maybe it is in the primary schools? I have no idea.
However, my 14-15 year old kids live for slapping each other on the back of the heads and yelling over me in Thai. They don’t like putting their phones down and the amount of selfies I have been in is insane. It is hard to communicate with children who are glued to their phones and don’t want to listen to what you have to say but perseverance is key, that and a really long silent stare at them really shuts them up.
My students make me laugh every day, whether it’s on purpose or by accident. Acting goes such a long way with them. Slapstick comedy is now my forte and I will be taking bookings whenever I am back in England.
This first post was a little all over the place as I’m unsure of what I wanted to say. I just wanted to let everyone know that I’m fine, I’m living a nice life and I’ve made some friends. I’m having a great time and the students tell me I’m cute every day. Honestly when you’re not feeling great “teacher you so cuuuuuute” really makes the day a little bit better. I’m not a scary teacher, I’m a nice teacher and I hope my students enjoy my lessons. Every day I get better at teaching and in a month’s time I will be the best damn teacher you’ve ever heard of.
I cant wait to see what adventures Thailand brings for me.
See you soon
P.S sorry to all my teachers that I yelled over in high school, karmas a bitch right?