As much as I may have complained about being the only foreign teacher at Surasakwittayakom School - at least in my head, as I had no one to complain to - finishing teaching here still feels bittersweet, with with an emphasis on the sweet.
Being the only foreign teacher at a Thai high school has been nothing short of an endurance test. I was constantly ill-informed about crucial announcements, and forced to navigate the politics of the Thai school system on my own. Luckily, I befriended a few co-workers whom, despite their broken English and nearly double age difference, became my informants and friends. Still, not having communication with English speakers at work occasionally felt lonely. On the worst of days, the un-airconditioned classrooms combined with the absurdly humid climate mirrored being trapped alone in a sauna. Responsible for teaching the entire school, the majority of poorly-behaved classes and my unclear duties at times seemed a pointless effort. That being said, the motivated, kind students provided me with just enough inspiration to keep going. Reflecting upon it all, my life here in Thailand has been shaped by this unique experience. Because of it, I have become a better teacher - certainly more flexible, understanding and with the ability to think on my feet, having not been given a curriculum or any resources. Given the environment, I was forced to learn world's more of the Thai language and culture. Although I leave behind many remarkable students and co-workers, I am eerily excited to have accomplished what I hope to be the more challenging of my jobs in Thailand.