17 things I learned about Thai students

November 1, 2016

The stacks of midterm tests that surrounded my desk have been corrected, grades have been recorded in the appropriate spreadsheets and much to my chagrin, make-up tests have been scheduled. I thought high school teachers were kind of whiny about exam time (sorry to any who are reading this) but I've learned that it really is time consuming to write several tests then flip through copies of the same completed papers until your brain is numb.

 

Anyway, my semester teaching in Thailand is over. How is it possible for time to move so slowly and so quickly at once? To celebrate submitting final grades to my director, I've gathered a few reflections about Thai students.

 

ONE: Approximately 98 percent of a Thai student's diet is sugar. A class of 7th grade boys right after they drink soda and eat candy at lunch is similar to the jungle scenes in "Mean Girls," minus the sassy drama.

 

TWO: When one kid says, "Teacha can I go toilet?" and you approve, at least four more students will follow him/her out the door. My favorite way to address this is by asking, "Oh, is he going to help you in there?"

 

THREE: Regardless of how hot and humid it is outside, they will play football at lunch and return to class disgustingly sweaty. However, if it's raining, they won't leave the building.

 

FOUR: You can count on a few students in every class to incessantly "shh" their peers, thereby making more noise than you were originally dealing with.

 

FIVE: They think every American has met Barack Obama and/or Donald Trump.

 

SIX: It's always a good time for a selfie. Always. 

 

SEVEN: "Doing their homework" means one student completes the assignment and the rest of the class texts photos of the answers to each other.

 

EIGHT: They love to overshare about bathroom habits. Have you ever wondered when your students have diarrhea? Me neither. But they tell me anyway.

 

NINE: "Free time" is their favorite phrase EVER. 

 

TEN: Foreign teachers who hang out with the school dogs are automatically considered weirdos.

 

ELEVEN: Some Thai 7th graders are the size of American 2nd graders.

 

 

TWELVE: You look your best in photos when you strike what we call "the handsome student pose."

 

THIRTEEN: Most of them have better handwriting than native English speakers.

 

FOURTEEN: A favorite after-lunch treat is ice cream on a hot dog bun.

 

FIFTEEN: If you say, "Hello," someone will always respond with, "It's me." Thanks, Adele.

 

SIXTEEN: There is no such thing as a verbal filter for these children. Students will tell you when they think you look beautiful…and when you look ugly. Forget to wear makeup one day? They won’t let you forget it.

 

SEVENTEEN: Like most kids, they can make you incredibly frustrated one minute then melt your heart the next.

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November 1, 2016

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