Five Reasons I Get Out of Bed and drag my ass to school even when my coteacher won’t be there and no other teachers will be in their classrooms.
Because Someone Has to
I still don’t quite ‘get’ this about Thailand. How I can walk by classrooms and no adult figure is in sight. For the entire third-sixth grade section of the school. Well, besides me. You can tell what kind of chaos this usually guarantees. This has been occurring more and more often these past few weeks in preparation for the academic competition we had this week. I’m not required to go to school when my coteacher is elsewhere and there have been quite a few times I’ve skipped out. Lately though, I just can’t take the one hour of learning away from them because other teachers/society consider their other responsibilities more important than their students.
This ties in with the paragraph above. We’ve started a weekly spelling test in my three grade levels. I’ve gotten tired of kids asking me how to spell things I know that they know already. Cat, dog, TV (totally serious) and the vocabulary words we just learned. So my hope is in providing some kind of consistency in their spelling tests, they’ll become more diligent with their studies in general. This means going to school on days I don’t have to and finding time in the day, sometimes my free period, to make sure they take the test that week. That and I can restrict their online gaming and uno playing until they spell correctly. Insert evil teacher cackle here.
Most Thai schools have many stray dogs roaming around because of the easy access to leftovers. My favorite dog, Ma-brang, looks like a normal dog, is knocked up, and is tiny. Naturally this preys on my weaknesses. She wasn’t quite sure of me until one epic morning I went to change out of my biking clothes in the English room, which is upstairs. The computer room is also up there. So if there is no English, usually no one comes upstairs, unless they’re going to use the computer room, which doesn’t happen every day. I heard Ma-brang barking relentlessly, but though she was downstairs howling at the microphone as usual. Turns out, she was locked inside the computer room from the previous afternoon to morning. This isn’t too out of the ordinary for a dog from the West, but for most Thai dogs that rarely enter any buildings for fear of being hit by humans, I can’t imagine how scared she was. There was a big hullabaloo about finding the keys, but a few sixth graders and I got her out in time for her to run downstairs to find some grass immediately after giving us a few licks (also weird for Thai dogs). She’s been following me around ever since.
Better or Worse
Most days I’m exhausted once the school day is complete. And that’s just on a normal day. Sometimes I want to cry from frustration, annoyance, lack of effort from my students, and people laughing out loud at me for no reason other than I’m not Thai. I have on many occasions. But most days, there is this one moment that I find something good about going to school. My students making me laugh. Five girls in fifth grade getting 100% on their spelling test. Watching sixth grade sit down and review their words before coming in the room. Ma-brang sitting on my feet (fleas, smell, and all). A kindergartener mustering up the bravery to say ‘good morning’ instead of ‘Look! The white teacher!’. These are the things that make those long days worthwhile.
Last, but certainly not least…
Because These Lunatics Desperately Want Me To