Preface: I wrote this as a draft before I left for my incredible two month backpacking journey that was my summer break from teaching in Thailand. Due to packing, ADHD, and pure adrenaline I never actually finished or posted it but I want to include it on my blog even if it is retroactively because it accurately depicts my feelings in the moments leading up to yet another life changing adventure in South East Asia. And as promised I will be back and better than ever at keeping up with my blog in the coming months 🙂
After a semester of teaching in Thailand I have learned more than I learned in all four years of undergraduate and graduate school. These lessons have been hilarious, frustrating, sad, eye-opening, jaw dropping, infuriating and exciting. As a whole, I am embarking on my summer break feeling awesome about the community I am a part of, proud of myself and my students and eager to get back for next semester. Yes, that’s right American teacher friends… I am eager for school to start again. I wake up every morning and I feel happy and excited to go to work. It is one of the best feelings in the world. I will never be able to settle for a job that I do not love and I especially will never hold a job that I do not feel valued and appreciated. If you are reading this and you are interested in teaching abroad yourself , you are a teacher in America or you are simply curious about my experience teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) here are some absolutes I have taken away from this experience that I will carry with me throughout my teaching career and my life.
1. You simply MUST go with flow
2. Laughter is a universal language
3. Respect is crucial inside and outside of the classroom
4. Students can tell if you like what you do. Everyone can tell when you are passionate about something.
5. Learning from your students is just as valuable as teaching (especially in terms of cultural/language)
6. Life & school work can seem VERY overwhelming at times… BREATHE
7. You don’t have to speak a word to touch someone’s heart
8. Sometimes there are no answers
“If people did not do silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done.”
“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.”
“It is in fact a part of the function of education to help us escape, not from our own time — for we are bound by that — but from the intellectual and emotional limitations of our time.”
To all the teachers out there: You may not be a “teacher” in a traditional manner but we should all strive to go through life with intentions to teach, learn, grow, and celebrate. We must explore, absorb and cherish this world around us with hopes to leave those we’ve met better than they were before.
Cheers mates! Xoxo