Living in Thailand, it’s often easier to post about the traditional ceremonies I take part in or interesting places I visit than it is to reflect on why I moved to Southeast Asia in the first place. Today I thought it would be good to share some of the daily experiences with my students, especially since the time in which I have to do so is quickly winding down. It is hard to believe that ten months ago today I began my journey, parting ways with my parents at Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee to meet who I now refer to as my WorldTeach family in Los Angeles for our departure flight. With only a handful of weeks left to teach I am becoming increasingly aware of what little time I have to spend with the students I have grown to adore.
It is impossible to pinpoint one specific aspect of my day that keeps me looking forward to the next. It’s really a combination of all the little things: the daily bouquets of flowers presented to me, freshly picked from trees lining the school grounds. The way my students hide behind my desk as I’m walking into my classroom and shout “Surprise!” (one of the vocabulary words from our emotions unit) to startle me. How my students exclaim “Bingo!” now when they are finished with their work (the game was apparently a big hit). And how I catch them practicing the pencil-bending trick at their desks when they should be paying attention to the lesson at hand. Each day brings a new twist and I never know what I am going to expect.
Today was a great example of this. One of my favorite first graders recently discovered that he could close his mouth and suck in his nostrils, a trick he felt the need to show me several times throughout the day. My third graders were appalled to see pictures of a snowman, which was a part of our weather unit activity in class, and were also really interested to know whether or not they could eat the snow. I said yes, but I probably should have mentioned to stay away from anything yellow. And I was surprised to get my first encore after class from a second grader, who requested The Hokey Pokey as a closing song to our alphabet lesson.
There never seems to be a dull moment at my schools, which makes for exciting (and often comical) days. I’m hoping to soak up as much as I can during the following weeks as well as fit in a few more magic tricks and songs to leave for them after I return to the States.