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Everybody had their different motives for choosing to teach in Thailand, some wanted to ‘find themselves’, some wanted to enhance their CV, some wanted to gain teaching experience, and some wanted to experience living abroad. Although my reasoning did include a bit of all of these, my true ambition was always to travel.
Teaching in Sriracha was a good experience, and it was insightful into the Thai education system (which confirms that I would NEVER educate my children here in the future!), and it taught me a lot about the Thai way of life and culture. However, it was not the experience I was looking for at this time in my life.
There were many flaws with the teaching itself. For starters, the temperature in school was bordering on unbearable, with no air con in any of the rooms I taught in apart from 2 hours a week, not even in the canteen or the staff room. At first I thought that I would get used to the heat, but no I really don’t think I ever would-this was nothing like being on holiday! Secondly, the classes were so big and the kids didn’t stop talking! I have never been one for being hugely strict but this was terribly frustrating for me, especially when I tried to tell them off and they didn’t understand a word I said!!
The classes were so huge (50 kids per class) and I saw each class once or twice a week, this meant that I taught something in the range of 1500 kids a week…! In addition to the general Thai’s lack of unique identity this made it virtually impossible to get to know any of the students. To me, this is a shame, because getting to know the students and their needs and seeing them grow is such a big part of teaching .
In comparison to teaching in the UK, this was very easy. I wouldn’t need to do barely any lesson prep (or admin, or parents evenings, or open evenings, or trips, or disciplineries, the list goes on…) because although I had 24 hours a week teaching, as I do in the UK, I only actually taught three different lessons….which brings me on to the next flaw with teaching over in Thailand…repetition! I am one to get bored easily, and as soon as I began teaching I knew that the repetition would get to me.
I can’t help really but compare teaching in Thailand to back at home. Don’t get me wrong, the students are more polite than British students and in general are better behaved, for me the lack personality and individualism was a shame. Perhaps it is because I love teaching in the UK, but this teaching experience just wasn’t doing it for me….
So I quit!
This wasn’t the first time I’ve up and left so impulsively in my life, nor will it be the last I am sure. But I believe that you should go with what your heart says….and my heart said that I should flutter off…..just like a butterfly! Perhaps that’s what the signs were trying to say to me…they were not saying that I was in the right place as I initially thought, they were reminding me to ‘go with the wind’ and to remember what I wrote in my very first blog entry, and to do what I want to do.
It was quite strange really, I was never at any point unhappy with teaching and living in Sriracha, in fact I did quite like it. But one Saturday morning I woke up thinking ‘I want to quit and go travelling…’, these thoughts did not go away and as I was thinking about it all laying on the gorgeous beach of Koh Samet and listening to my i-pod (on random) the old 90’s song ‘you’re free ot do what you want to do…’ by Ultra Nate came on, and I thought ‘well that has to be a sign!’
Unfortunately it was rather little tricky getting out of the contract with Media Kids as it specifies you will need to pay a $1000 fine if you leave before the contract is up! I won’t give specific details, but lets just say I found an ‘excuse’ to get out of it.
When I was at school I made up my mind that I would leave, I went home packed my bags and got on a bus to Bangkok where I stayed the night in a hostel. I then hopped on a bus to the Cambodian boarder where I stayed in Siam Reap to commence my nomadic lifestyle that I would adopt for the following months.
Then it was just me… which was good for me…. I do strongly believe that everything happens for a reason, and I would probably have been too afraid to fly to Thailand here with the intentions of travelling alone, so I signed up to teaching, something I felt comfortable with that gave me the confidence to go… and what a fantastic few months I had! In the space of just a few hours I went from a teacher in a Thai school to a solo traveller gallivanting through South East Asia.
My advice? Follow your heart and your dreams will inevitably proceed do the same…