This just in Brenna has finally succumbed to her health and is now lying in her hot Thai bedroom waiting for the day to end.
Hello loyal readers! (That means you, Grandma)
I feel like you may be anxiously awaiting the post where I let you know that I have finally gotten a handle on my life and everything seems to be moving forward in a good direction. I know I am really looking forward to writing that post and to getting to the point where all of that is true…alas it is not.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s a constant progression. But if I’m being honest I feel like for every step forward there is 2 steps back.
Take this week for instance.
So I had my lesson plans in to Teacher Rodel on Friday before I went to Chiang Mai, so you would’ve thought this week would’ve been a breeze? It was not.
Let’s start out with the fact that first thing Monday morning I’m out of bed at my usual 7:09 in the morning (after pressing snooze every 9 minutes since 6:30, part of my typical morning routine here in Thailand) and I realize that Rodel had told us last week that the Engish teachers are supposed to greet the students at 7am on Mondays.
Off to a great start.
So I run into Bris room and she’s just lounging like she’s ready for a chill Monday morning and I’m like “girl we are supposed to be down there greeting already”. Fuck.
About 12 minutes later and the fastest I’ve managed to get myself together since I’ve been here, and were down at the front of the school apologizing for even existing again. And I’m dead tired. I had taken a sleeping pill the night before that hadn’t quite worn off and I didn’t drink coffee and I’m expected to go up and get kids out of their cars? Needless to say, the traffic guard was directing people away from us so they could exit their cars to respectable adults and not a couple of doped up, half dressed, foreigners.
On a side note: the crossing guard is actually super sweet. He always says hello to us and calls us beautiful when we are wearing our normal “not black” non-work clothes. Though I do have to say that he’s a bit over-zealous with the whistle. Which begins every morning for us at about 7am and closes out the day for what feels like 3 hours.
Anyway back to Monday. First thing teacher Rodel calls us into his office.
I don’t think I’ve taken the time necessary to talk about Rodel. He was Teacher Johns brother who was missing the first few days I was teaching. And I now understand why literally nothing functioned without him because he seems to simultaneously control every single thing that happens in the English program.
So we get to his office where he proceeds to tell us that in addition to the two morning assemblies we have to go to, we also have to go again on Friday. And we have to each read some sort of passage one day a week after lunch during announcements. (Or I think they’re announcements. I’m not sure. It’s all Thai).
And then the real kicker. They tell me that instead of having homeroom at the end of the day I will now instead be teaching 7th period to Kindergarteners every day….
Good lord, why are you doing this to me?
And I kindergartener straight up sneezed in my face.
And I watched one of them spit in his hand and put it in his pocket.
Clearly I am blaming them for getting me sick. I had to skip my Friday classes. I am still processing my guilt for that. But I realized that I really had been neglecting my health. I haven’t been eating much more than rice and noodles. And I’ve really been stressing myself out over my classes.
I remember telling myself the first day that I’m not gonna be perfect at this. In fact, I said I might not even be good at teaching, but of course I still want to just be really good at this. Teaching english to foreign kids is freaking difficult.
My third graders are monsters half the time. This one kid named Pooh just says really aggressive things to me in Thai and I’m like “I know you’re disrespecting me, kid, but I don’t know what you’re saying”
And this kid A.J. I go “sit in your seat!” And point to his seat, and he straight up walks in the opposite direction. I’m like…am I really supposed to just wait until you are all seated to teach anything? Cause I don’t think that’s physically possible. And the girls are in the back playing with stickers. And I’m like…I am trying to make this fun for you all. Why d you think I have so many games?
I spent all this time making this Clue game and the kids are like…we don’t like this game. I finally understand what it was like for my mom cooking dinner for us as kids when she’d slave away and we wouldn’t eat anything. That’s exactly how I feel.
And I think the Kindergarten thing just really pushed me over the edge this week because I had no idea what to teach them. And I can’t explain anything to them. They are literally running around the room like crazy and I’m just like “how about 5 of us do the hokey pokey for like 30 minutes”
So, this post isn’t quite the happy upbeat “wow, this is changing my life” post you were expected. Because honestly I’m not quite having fun yet. Especially now that I’m sick. But it’s really, really hard (especially for a perfectionist) to be thrust into a job that I’ve never done before, under extremely difficult working conditions, in a different country, and to expect myself to be good at it. So, I’m trying to get myself to settle for mediocre. So, I can at least start getting to sleep at a reasonable hour.
But all things considered:
Bri and I did cook our first dinner in our apartment.
And I posted pictures of my fourth graders on Monday because it was the Loy Krothong festival and I got to help them put their flower float into the little river/stream/moat that runs through the school.
And I also got to witness as in the shallow water, literally none of them floated.
And I put my own float down the river. And then I got to experience lighting a lantern and watching it float up into the sky. Like all those amazing videos of Thailand. That was pretty magical.
So, the moral of the story is: Cheers to being a mediocre teacher!