tash, maddy, and i walked into sanguan ying (school) today at 8 a.m., just as planned. everybody stared at us when we walked through the middle of campus, like we were celebrities. it was just like that scene from 500 days of summer. we needed more group dancing, baseball hitting, and campy music.
we were shown to our desks (hell yeah i have my own desk in the teacher office), so we sat down and started sifting through papers left behind by former english teachers. we were introduced to some other english teachers who would also be our co-teachers (typically they pair a westerner with a thai teacher for the sake of order in the classroom. westerners can't really discipline the kids, so we leave it to the thai teachers. other than punishment, the westerners are in charge). at about 8:35, miew (who is my co-teacher for my M4, or 9th grade, students) came up to me. here's pretty much how the convo went:
other teacher: "nicki, you ready to teach?"
other teacher: "yes, at 8:30."
me (after i look at the clock and realize that's five minutes ago and i have a minor freak out inside my body): "umm...yeah, i think i can. i would rather start tomorrow, if that's okay."
other teacher: "relax, nicki. just play game."
well, okay, sure. that sounds easy enough. so i get all enthused but also nervous, so i sweat, but that's okay because there isn't a/c in the classroom so i'd be sweating anyway.
the thing about this situation that's most baffling to me is that it wasn't even that big of a deal that i was just thrown into my brand new job with little introduction. the thai teachers didn't seem to mind that i hadn't actually had teaching practice or that i didn't even know what a thai classroom looked like. it was just like, "okay, go on, start teaching. everyone does it. you'll be fine. just head on out. we'll help you if you need, but you probably won't. you'll be great."
and surprisingly, i didn't even do that badly. i used up all of my class time and my students seemed to like me, so it's all good. i did some simple introduction activities (introduced myself, had students pair up then interview and introduce each other) and learned thai kids are their own breed. for example, dark brown and gray were both favorite colors in my classes (and these are classes full of girls). when asked where they wanted to live, more than a handful of my girls in the smart class* said places like "belgium, germany, luxembourg, and "holliand."
since i only have each class once a week, i figure i'll get to use this same lesson until next wednesday. ballin. this teacher thing is the best. we also get free lunch every day, and next monday we foreigners will be participating in the holiday (koy kratong or something like that...i'll probably be able to explain more next week) by doing a traditional thai dance on stage in front of the whole school in the full get up and everything.
*this is really what the thai teachers call the kids in the gifted class. they openly favor them and like them better.