Lessons Learned From a Teacher in Thailand with Hannah J.
This super special edition features one Global Traveller in particular - Hannah J! You may well have seen her stunning snaps featured all over our Insta and she's already inspired heaps of other Global Travellers to take the leap! Now she's taking us through the highs and lows of her Teaching Trip in Thailand with The Global Work & Travel Co. Get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth as she spills on settling into a new country and her placement abroad.
Those last ten seconds before entering my first class were the worst. I’m talking heartbeat through the chest, stomach locked tighter than any pair of skinny jeans I’ve ever worn, body heat through the roof… I had sweat on my calf muscles. I didn’t even realise you could sweat on your calf muscles! Turn back the clock two months and this is where I was: petrified, frozen, flung into a situation I believed wholeheartedly I was well underprepared to cope with. Still to this day, if I’m honest, I feel I’m not even really up to scratch.
Seems pretty cool on paper, don’t you think? Teaching abroad? Imparting your profound wisdom and knowledge to children who are far worse off than your own privileged self? People sure as hell get around all my Facebook posts and Instagram pictures. Want to know the reality of it all though? Those first moments in that first ever lesson you teach, particularly when you have never, ever, taught before in your life… They’re the worst. I’m pretty sure I forgot my own name at one point. My story may not be too unique. I’m one of tens of hundreds of ESL teachers – and that’s just here in Thailand.
Hi. My name is Hannah. I’m twenty years old, and I am a foreign English teacher at a kindergarten school here in Bangkok, Thailand. Did I ever want to be a teacher? Ha, that’s funny. Truth is, I never originally intended to be on this path. I am what you could call your stereotypical millennial. I love my travel, I love my independence, and I hate the idea of staying in one place for too long (some would call it fear of commitment; I call it ‘venturesome’). I came looking for a practical income source to fuel that travel demon affixed deep within my skin. What I found, however, was a purpose.
A self worth obtainable only through an experience like this. A passion. A drive. A devotion and an admiration for people and a place – the place of which I now have the privilege to call my home. Those last ten seconds before entering my first class were the worst, but what followed were, and are, some of the best moments of my life so far.
These kids show love no boyfriend has ever given. These streets show life not mimicked by anything else I’ve ever seen. I fell in love with this country and this city, and this job I am yet to actually consider as work. Nobody teaches abroad for just the money – quite honestly, I’m earning less than I’ve ever earned before. You come here because you are missing something – something in your life is lacking. Whether it was adventure, direction, or simply just a purpose. You step on that plane to enter into your new life, and you leave everything that was once you behind. Because this is literally a new you.
You don’t go home the same person. If you hate it, or can’t hack it, or you give in to the temptation and the yearning to fly back home to your beloved family and friends… at least you made it here. You tried. You made that decision. You took that step. And no matter how little or how long you endured it for, you enhanced yourself as a person.
It’s the people you meet through orientation week gaining insights into your new way of life. The lifelong friendships you form, battling the emotional barriers and the confidence issues - all as a unit. It’s through your work placements, mastering your charades skills while trying to ask where the closest toilet is. It’s the kids in your classroom who re-enact scenes from the Hunger Games every single morning, simply just trying to be the first to hug you… because to them, you’re special. You have a gift – a gift you didn’t even realise you had. You were born speaking a language you’ve taken for granted from the moment you were born, because to you - It’s just English.
#storytellinggoals: Not only does Hannah shoot awesome travel photos, but her updates are like mini blogs on the moves she’s making
I’m yet to walk into my local 7-11 without the cashier getting all flustered, mustering up the courage to use her English counting knowledge just to impress me. I get people stopping me on my scooter at traffic lights just to say hello; parents scoping me out en route to school in hope I can provide their child with extra English lessons.
Has it been total smooth sailing, all rainbows and butterflies? Of course not! It’s been seriously hard some days. Things don’t go your way, you get Thai tummy for the fourth time that month, kids pee on your feet… It’s testing, for sure. But what great experience has ever been a walk in the park?
I came to Thailand two months ago hoping just to volunteer for a short period, gain a wicked tan and cross off another country on my bucket list. What did I get? A year long contract, no intention of returning home anytime in the near or distant future and a life that I’m proud to call my own.
Hi. My name is Hannah. I’m twenty years old, and I don’t feel I’m lacking absolutely anything in my life right now…
You can follow Hannah on Instagram, to keep up with her truly inspirational journey OR you can get going on your very own Thai Teaching adventure just by clicking that little red button!