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“Teacha Fef”

So, a week ago today I was sitting by the pool at a resort on Railay Beach. Crazy, right?!

I started teaching this week! Thankfully it was only a 3 day week! I’m not sure I would’ve been ready for a full 5 day week right off the bat!

Day 1 of teaching was EXHAUSTING. The kids were crazy. They looked at me like I was crazy. They weren’t very responsive to my lesson. I had no idea what I was doing. After my morning classes, the only thing that kept me going was the fact that my next few classes were older and have been in the program longer, so they should know what they’re supposed to be doing. I hoped for the best, but that wasn’t really how it turned out. The kids pushed my limits, because they knew they could. I was someone new to them. They wanted to see how far they could go with it; climbing on tables, banging on tables, screaming for no reason. There really was no end to the stunts they were pulling. I came back from class that day and took a nap. Part of me felt slightly discouraged and curious as to how I’d last an entire semester doing this. The other part of me knew that if I made it through the first day, things would only get easier from there, and I was right!

Day 2 was so much better than the first day! My subject was “Shop” this day, which is basically arts and crafts, but the final product has a purpose. My younger classes were much more receptive and responsive to my lesson, and spoke a bit of English, rather than staring at me blankly or falling asleep (yes, that actually happened on Day 1). YAY, making progress!! The afternoon classes were better too! I got tons of laughs with one of my lessons and got a few hugs at the end of the day. It’s truly the small things, like the hugs and the laughs and their tiny voices calling “teacha” that start to win your heart over.

Day 3 was better in some ways and worse in others! Each morning after “opening” (weather, day of the week, songs), we line the kids up and take them to the English Building, a building a little further onto the school’s campus. Well, it rained all night and majority of the morning, so we stayed in the Thai building. Typically, each class is split up into 3 groups of no more than 10 kids, all in individual classrooms in the English Building. Because of the rain, each class was still split up, but we were all in one classroom, which made for a very noisy and distracting environment. Luckily, this was only for the morning classes. One of my younger girls, Ping-Ping, was SUPER responsive to my lesson, and I was SO PROUD! My subject was “Drama” and the kids tend to hate this one most. “Drama” involves trying to get the kids to act out a story. Hear me out for a second, though. Imagine someone reading you a story in a language you barely know. Boring, right? Between the unusual setting in the morning, and the overall subject of “Drama”, today wasn’t the best day as far as lessons go. As I said before though, it’s truly the small things that make my day.

Just to list off a few of those small things:

  1. I walked into one of my afternoon classes and a few of the kids yelled “Teacha Fef!” (They can’t say Steph.)
  2. I keep all the items I use for my lessons in a basket. When I was getting ready to switch classes, I had my basket sitting on the table in front of one of the students, Tonkla. A piece of string was hanging out, so he obviously started playing with it. When I noticed, I tickled him and asked what he was doing, and he laughed so hard! This went on for 2 or 3 minutes before I had to switch classes. His laughter was enough to make anyone’s day, but this story gets even better! The way classes worked this week, I taught both of my afternoon classes twice everyday (which was a blessing and a curse, but that’s a story for another blog post.) Anyway, after my second lesson with Tonkla’s class, I was passing out stickers and high-fives. Tonkla goes, “teacha, what are you doing”, wiggles his little fingers at me, pretending to tickle me from a distance, and laughs.

That’s it. My heart = stolen.

Now all I can think about is how hard it’ll be to leave these little kiddies in 3 months. If I love them this much after 3 days, I can’t even imagine how much I’ll love them by the end of the semester.

Yours truly,

“Teacha Fef”

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