A lot has happened since my last blog update. For starters, Morgan and I finally moved out of the backpackers and we have a permanent address here in Phuket (see Contact Me section). We moved into a new apartment building in Phuket Town. It has a pool, a small gym, a great view of Rang Hill (at the top of which you can look down upon the entirety of Phuket Town and Chalong Bay) and it’s no more than a 15-second walk to a number of great street stalls where we can grab dinner. (Keep an eye out for pictures of ‘The Noodle Man,’ the Thai businessman who runs what I believe to be the best noodle stall in all of Phuket!)
And the job hunt? DONE. As of Monday, I have been working as a kindergarten teacher at Kajonkietsuksa School (one of the largest private schools on the island). I am the homeroom teacher of K1 Watermelon (K1 is identified by fruits, K2 by animals, K3 by colors and so on). I’ll be teaching English and social science to 3-4 year old Thai students (many of which have one non-Thai parent). In the classroom, there is also an English-speaking Filipino teacher who teaches the students math and a Thai teacher whose lessons are completely in Thai. It is customary that teachers refer to each other as ‘Teacher Kassie,’ ‘Teacher Sheryl’ (the Filipino teacher), and ‘Khun Kru Jiab’ (the Thai teacher). It is also customary that the students line up and ‘wai‘ to the teachers each and every morning.
This past week, even with all of the administrative support, has definitely been a ‘sink or swim’ experience, but I’ve enjoyed getting ready for the kids to come on Monday. I’ve been living on websites like SparkleBox, a website no grown woman would ever visit unless she was teaching kindergarten. I’ve already spent hours waiting in line to print from the school’s only color printer alongside the other 300+ teachers, 97 of which are foreign teachers from the U.S., England, Ireland, South Africa, Canada, Switzerland, India, New Zealand, Hungary and the Philippines. I even bought the kids the book, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” a childhood favorite of mine that I remember from kindergarten. While at dinner with friends last night, I ran across the street to a purchase a brown bear stuffed animal that the kids could associate with the story and subsequently, maybe associate with reading.
Although I have high hopes of being a great kindergarten teacher, I would be lying to myself and anyone reading this if I said that I truly knew what I was doing. I’m hoping that my love of kids and my eagerness to learn will be enough to start with and that I’ll learn more with each passing English lesson, nap time and kindergarten morning assembly. Luckily, Teacher Sheryl and the teachers of K1 Strawberry and K1 Grape are there as friendly people and fantastic resources.
Until Monday, however, I plan to enjoy simply living in Phuket. Morgan, Will Greta and I are heading to Nai Harn Beach this afternoon to enjoy the last month of the ‘hot season’ (‘rainy season’ sets in next month and runs through October). The big weekend night market is also on the agenda… and hold thumbs/cross your fingers for Morgan’s job interview on Monday. Assuming all goes well, he’ll be teaching 14-15 year olds at Satree Phuket School until April 2012.