First Day Teaching 4 Year Olds

By Sarah, Teach In Thailand

So a number of you have asked for more cultural differences and clarifications about the bowing. I’ll include pictures of the different forms of the “Wai” in the next post.

1) You aren’t supposed to cross your legs here because doing so causes you to point your foot at the person in front of you, which is considered rude. As I have to wear a skirt everyday, this is hard to get used to.
2) “Saving face” is a very important notion in Thailand. This basically means not embarrassing anybody. A colleague, for example, will not correct you if you’re wrong so as not to make you look bad in front of others.
3) Thailand is a very clean place. I cannot explain this phenomenon as they have NO TRASH CANS. Either they have trash eating cats or they engineered the ground to suck the trash into the cement.

I’m a teacher! I started teaching 4-5 year olds today. It’s a steep learning curve but I’m hoping I’ll get better.

Every Thai child receives an English nickname when he or she is born. These nicknames do not have to be actual names. The following are the names of some of my students:

1) Egg
2) Eiffel
4) Thyme
5) Friend
6) Best
8) Dear
9) P
10) Focus
11) Guide
12) Note
13) New
14) Pet
15) Atom
16) Peak
And my favorites…
17) Pancake
18) Oops

Other teachers have kids named: Fat, Name, and Fak (pronounced the way you think it’s pronounced)

They’re adorable to the point of distraction. I can’t handle it.

We were trained during orientation to do roughly four activities per class period. 4 activities for a 40 minute class? WRONG. Their attention spans are roughly 47 seconds before they start picking their noses and yelling “TEACH-UH” (what they call me). I’ve learned that turning everything into a song is one answer to chaos. Dances are good too. Even then, I can’t get Oops to concentrate… he’s such a space cadet. Apparently he used to have .. uh… accidents a lot and his teacher would say “Oops made a poop!”

Thai children have a very difficult time with pronunciation. They don’t have the syllables “th”, “sh”, “r” and “ch”. As a kindergarten teacher, I spend tons of time getting kids to learn to pronounce words correctly.
The kids also completely leave off the final syllable of whatever word they say. Gate and Game might sound the same. We have to emphasize to them the importance of the last syllable of we want them to do it right.

–One of my teacher friends got her syllabus and in place of her name at the top of the paper it just said “The White Lady”. Meanwhile one of the other teachers started calling her Angelina Jolie. Both good nicknames, no?

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