I made a quick transition to my next placement because the first placement did not have many interactions with students. I spent most of my time sitting in a classroom with my cooperating teacher for a few hours or walking from room to room observing and assisting secondary classrooms. All of this was possible with communicating to Dr. Conrad and making sure all participating parties are aware of changes. Student teaching overseas has its own pros and cons, its own difficulties that shapes you as a professional educator.
Every morning before school starts, the Thai national anthem song is played and we end with prayer. I love that we start our day as an entire school with prayer! Today, being a Friday, the elementary students had chapel and it brought a familiar atmosphere to me. Chapel reminded me so much of VBS at church with my little kids I volunteered my time for the whole week. Elementary definitely has a different atmosphere environment and I’m realizing more and more that I am definitely fit for primary than secondary. This is what it looks like to student teach. It helps you get a feel of where you fit best as an educator. It is all about trial and error, and learning from those experiences.
It is actually quite interesting student teaching overseas because you get to compare and contrast US schools and international schools. They are very different culturally and a few other things in the school, but the system of schooling is almost as identical as western schools. One great thing about student teaching overseas for myself right now is that my school is actually opening a second campus in Udon Thani, and they hope to open by 2020. Udon Thani is in the North Eastern part of Thailand, close to the board of Laos, just right below Vientiane. As they are in the process of finding students and building the school, ICS is also seeking individuals to work for the second campus. This is quite exciting for me because I am interested in being a part of this second campus. The location and reasons for a second campus in Udon Thani aligns with my career and life passions. I have been told that ICS does not accept first year teachers, however, the only first year teachers they would accept are student teachers at ICS. I hope and pray for an opportunity to come back to Thailand for this reason of being a part of this school community.
This past week was October (Fall) break for Thailand, so I decided to take a week vacation trip up north to Chiang Mai. I was greeted by familiar faces and stayed with someone who I call “Phee” (พี่). This word is commonly used in the Thai culture, as well as “Nong” (น้อง) . “Phee” is referred to someone older than you and “Nong” is to call on someone who is younger. If you add them together, “Phee, Nong” it means brothers and sisters (of all ages). It doesn’t matter if you know the person well or not, every one uses these two words. I have known my Phee for six years. I met her when I went to Thailand for a mission’s trip and have always kept in contact with her.
Bangkok is always so busy with its constant traffic, so I was able to enjoy a quiet and slow paced life. During my trip, everything I did was all planned the night before or on the spot. I really had no plan and it felt good to truly be spontaneous. I had great rest and spent good quality time with my Phee’s family in Chiang Mai. I had the privilege to eat Hmong-Thai food. I boast about the chicken I ate because it is a specific kind of chicken that only Hmong people raise and it is one our parents and grandparents back in the States crave to eat. I also had the opportunity to go to the mountains in Chiang Mai and check out a few coffee shops I found on Instagram. I tell you, instagram is your best friend when traveling. It helps you find aesthetic locations, which, I guess, is the new trend in today’s society. One of the highlights from my trip in Chiang Mai was that my aunt and grandma from the states were visiting as well and they were staying in Chiang Mai for two days. On their last night in Thailand, I went to go see them with the help of my Phee’s husband driving me late at night. It was such a great feeling to see family and be around them even if it was for only a few hours.
I am loving Thailand more than I did before. The longer I stay here, the more I want to stay in Thailand forever. I am continuously telling my family that I do not want to go back. Friends in Thailand are always asking “What’s next?” I honestly don’t know, but my hope is to come back to teach in Thailand. I would love to work in international schools to pay off my student loan debt and eventually work in local schools because that is where my passion lies. I hope to someday be able to accomplish this dream!
Last modified: October 31, 2018