Friday Five

A new friend for the Tuesday Travel Photo! Another idea I stole from another blog, but I liked it as a short concise way to tell you what’s currently going on in my brain. It’s unfortunate that the first round is a little negative, but I don’t really see them as too bad, they just happened to pop into my head the other day when I was at school. For your enjoyment, here they are, Five Things I Suck At

The whole being professional thing
After a few months of teaching, I’m still feeling like I’m a kid playing dress-up with my Mom’s clothes, back when wearing heels didn’t send me towering over everyone. Having to sit like a grown-up behind my desk, feet flat on the floor, sitting up straight, even for the small amount of time that I’m there, feels so weird and frankly, is exhausting. If I were there 8 hours a day, 4o hours a week, I think I would wilt.
Being ladylike
Thai gals my age are typically not very athletic or interested in working up a good sweat. Imagine my coteacher’s horror when she walked out of the teacher’s lounge and found me playing volleyball with the kids in my skirt and polo. They’re also fairly shocked that I bike the whole 5 minutes in my knee-length skirt. I also have trouble sitting properly at a table or desk for long periods of time…see number one. There’s also that issue of my laugh sounding and being as loud as a bullhorn and is unleashed often. Yeah, I’m not one of those seen, but not heard types.
Enforcing the hierarchy
A whole blog post dedicated to Thai hierarchy is forthcoming and this will be a prevalent theme. Maybe this is also part of number one that I still feel like a bit kid myself, but I have a really hard time putting my students ‘in their place’ by remaining both emotionally distance and keeping myself physically higher than them. I like getting on the same level to establish a more personal connection between my students, what I’m teaching them, and me. Crazy huh?
Not showing my emotions
When I’m explaining something for the third and fourth time, I try really hard not to show my frustration to my students. I don’t want them to get discouraged from studying a new language, so I just let out streams of nasty sentences making fun of them (that not even my coteacher can understand) masked with a smile. It’s the same when a Thai person says something totally ridiculous to me like pointing out a pimple on my face and asking me if I went to bed late last night (Who knew that was the reason for acne? Apparently all kinds of calamities can happen if you go to bed after 9 p.m.). I’ve learned to do a sort of half-grimace/half-smile and it’s passable for those that don’t know me well. When my students get lazy and just stop paying attention though, then I get pissed and they know it. I’ve only ever ‘yelled’ at them in Thai maybe three times, but the worst names I ever call them is a lack of being cute and lovable in a stern voice. Real tough guy I know. Although when everything is going our way, I get so happy for them, I have a hard time hiding my enthusiasm. It’s not very stoic Thai of me, but it’s a work in progress.
Not being shy
I know I wrote this post awhile ago about how I was taking on Team Shy, but despite the progress I’ve made, I’m still not the extroverted ‘greet everyone in the entire world’ person that my Thai people want me to be. I’ve explained to them, in America, we don’t typically walk down the street and bow our heads in greeting to all of the people we see that look like us, people who are our friend’s, friend’s cousin, or people we don’t know at all. They think it is odd that usually a smile and a wave will suffice, which it does not here, especially with someone relatively important. Generally though, I just don’t like being paraded around like a circus animal or when people regard me as such, so I tend to keep my mouth shut when meeting new people until my friends explain that I can in fact understand most if not all of their present conversation. Then they stop regarding me as an animal and it’s closer to a green-skinned alien.

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