Last Wednesday, I ventured off to school with Nathan and Anthony. Twice a week they go and teach English at a school in a city about 2 hours away. I can barely say the name of the city, so I won’t even attempt to write what it is. Since there is a good chance that I might have to teach English here one day, I figured I should go and see how it was done. It was interesting to say the least.
The kids got a kick out of seeing a tall skinny black guy. 🙂 Nathan let them ask me questions at the beginning of each class. These were 4th, 5th, and 6th graders so they were still a little shy. Nathan does the “big” kids and Anthony teaches the “little” ones. Anything not in high school is “little” to me. I have never been one for teaching little kids, don’t have the patience for it, but over here I think I could do it. The kids here are so respectful. There is a level of respect for the teacher that we just don’t see very often back home.
When class begins, all the students stand up and say (in English), “Good morning teacher!”, almost halfway singing it. You respond, “Good morning, how are you?” To which they say “Fine, thank you, and you?” Too cute. I forgot I had my camera with me and didn’t get that on film, but the next time I go I will definitely try to get that on film.
Speaking of kids, I did learn a cultural thing about them. There is a lot of bowing that goes on over here. It is part of the process of saying hello. In my eagerness to fit in, I was bowing, they call it whying/wieing/wying (sp?) everyone, including little kids. That is a big no no. You never bow to a person younger than you first. I’m not really sure on the reasons why but it is not smiled upon at all.
A few other cultural things I’ve picked up.
If you want someone to come to you, you don’t cup your hand upwards like we do in the states. You place your palms down and do the same motion. You can do the upwards motion to animals, but not to people. The upwards motion means you want to fight. lol I can just visualise myself forgetting this one and end up getting into a fight with someone. Oh and you usually just don’t fight one person, you end up fighting the whole village! haha I guess I should remember that one.
Thai’s also are very cognizant of walking between people. They will usually try and go out of their way not to walk in between you and someone else. In the states we just say excuse me. Nope not good enough here. Also, they try never to step over anyone. Laying on the mats close to the ground is common here, so it would seem that stepping over would be easier. It probably is, but they still don’t do it.
A weird one for me is that Thai’s usually won’t sit on anything that has food in it, like a cooler or something. Most Americans see it as an available seating space. Here it is seen as very…not sure what word to use here…nasty, unclean, not good…you get the idea.
Lots to remember, hopefully I won’t get beat up or kicked out of the country for doing something I shouldn’t have. 🙂