No Thai in the Classroom, Please. [Faye O Yang]


  It could be surprising to most of us that how, in a matter of days, we'd transformed ourselves from mere students to teachers. Responsible ones, for that matter. Some of us spent hours poring over contents of a textbook. Some made posters with fonts easily seen from the back of the classroom. Some looked up the makeshift library -- made up of the hundreds of books we hauled from Taichung -- for story books for their students. Some, like me, had to re-learn most of my lectures; it was fun and exasperating at the same time, trying to put the text into something not only us, but our students might also grasp.

  My partner (Wei-chi <33) and I teach English in both 9th and 8th grade. We'd envied other groups for getting to teach lower-classmen, because they are practically worshipped by the children -- I heard a group of two guys receiving dozens of love letters from their second grade class! However, we were also being envied, because the older the kids grow, the more they know how to speak Mandarin, and so the less we'd have to wonder what the students were chattering about in Thai. Grass is always greener, I guess.

  Personally, the most frustrating thing more me is the disparity of the students' English levels. In my 9-Zhong class, there are a couple of girls who can write grammatically perfect sentences without much assistance, but there are also a number of them who couldn't even read the textbook word by word. It's practically impossible to take care of everybody when given such a wide range of students, not to mention the fact that some of them seem more engaged in their cell phones than anything. I was so surprised when a girl took out her Sony Ericsson and started pressing her keypad without a second thought, even as my partner stood right in front of her! -- Both of us had assumed that, given the relatively remote environment and all other circumstances, kids here wouldn't possess cell phones (and use them so boldly in class) like we do back in Taiwan.

  Coming to Thailand had made me think a lot, and I've learned from my students just as much as I've taught them, maybe even more. I already felt more mature than I was before the start of summer, and I really look forward to receive even more.

  Best of luck to everyone, and to the remaining days of teaching ahead of us!!


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