Work Mode, Beer on ice & Pay Day.

6 May

First Week of Training… Getting to know the System

I’m going to apologise in advance if I sound like one of those really annoying, happy people who are just over optimistic about life… But after our first week of training, I genuinely feel like one of those people! After spending so many tedious hours trying to secure a job, accepting we will be living in Bangkok, living on an extremely tight budget etc etc – we anxiously awaited this week to determine whether we had made the right decision to teach/live in Bangkok or not. I will try to summarise it all as quickly as possible…

Basically, Kyle and I are working for a private company which is hired out by school’s across Bangkok. The company is fairly large with about 45 teachers currently employed to teach English as a foreign language. Including Kyle and I, there are 12 new teachers – 8 guys and 4 girls. We are the only South Africans, the rest are from either America or England. (Hearing these lovely people attempt to discuss Die Antwoord is particularly amusing…) So, how it works is – teachers are separated amongst school’s across the week. So, every Monday I will teach at a certain school, Tuesday another, Wednesday another and so on. Each morning, all teachers meet at the company office in Ari where we are then transported with our Thai assistant teacher (TT) to our designated schools.

Whereas friends we know (as well as people we have met since being here) teach at one school, every day – our setup is different. The last week of training has been amazing – we have learnt so much and met so many great people! I love the fact that everything is structured, that there is constant assistance and none of the new teachers are expected to be exceptional from day one. On Saturday, new teachers went into the office to observe Weekend Club. We sat in on classes in order to get an idea of what is expected of us and what to expect from the children we are going to teach. After two, 90 minute sessions – I returned home and could barely string a sentence together. I was exhausted.

Photo Credits: kylevdm8.wordpress.com

Photo Credits: kylevdm8.wordpress.com

Beer on Ice

It is completely acceptable in Thailand – particularly Bangkok – to drink beer, on ice. Something I just cannot get used to… Others (someone I know particularly well) seem to have no problem with the watered-down beer taste – which I have found considerably amusing. When such beer-on-ice occasions occur, I am begged not to tell anyone… And if my phone is taken out to reveal photographic evidence, the beer is covered and the begging erupts once more! ;)

Across the road from where we work, there is a little restaurant which serves beer and is clearly the watering hole for teachers to meet at after a long day of teaching and planning lessons. The experienced people we are going to be working with, have been in Bangkok for at least 3 years, most pushing onto 5. I know it is early days, but I do believe we would have known after the first week whether we were going to enjoy ourselves working for this company or not. I know we have yet to teach a class on our own, but I genuinely feel like we made the best decision to come to Bangkok. I just cannot emphasize enough how wrong people are about this City – give it a chance, leave Khao San Road and you will be exposed to an entirely different world!

Chatuchak Weekend Market

A perk associated with training is that you get a little bit of cash each week to get you through until payday on the 31st. Since I have been wearing the same clothes since February (which consist mostly of shorts and t-shirts) I literally could not wait to go shopping! So, yesterday we went to Chatuchak Weekend Market – probably the most popular and well known market in Bangkok.

When we woke up in the morning, it was raining. Not drizzling, raining. I looked outside and could not believe my eyes – there was a big black cloud hanging over the city, rain splattering against the windows and a gusty wind – combining to make shopping conditions not particularly pleasant! It must also be noted that Chatuchak is notorious for being crowded and extremely hot… So I had spent most of the week subtly preparing Kyle for what was to come. Anyway, nothing was stopping me from going shopping, so up we went. In the rain.

To be quite honest, we probably went on the best day, at the best time. The rain seemed to put a lot of visitors off and the area was relatively relaxed. We managed to get quite a lot of shopping done under reasonably pleasant circumstances… As the sun started to clear the clouds away after lunch, hoards of people slowly but surely began to pack the narrow walkways – and that was when we knew it was our cue to leave!

People had told me that this market was cheap but I generally prefer to make these judgements for myself. But yes, Chatuchak really is that cheap. I got home and tallied up all that I had spent (ok I did not buy a lot, but enough) and I was shocked at how much it all came to! I spent a total of 550 Baht – which is the equivalent of R180 back home!

Oh, before I forget – we nearly bought a bunny. Actually, I think we will get a bunny. Another thing I had been warned about was the Pet Section. We made a joint decision prior to departure, to avoid this section at all cost as neither of us wanted to see puppies, kittens and basically any animal you can think of (domestic or not), trapped in a cage. But, we walked straight into the bunny section. These poor little dwarf bunnies are trapped in these MINUTE cages – they cannot stretch their legs or move about – nothing. Kyle said we could get one – so the decision is unanimous. We are getting a bunny. I also fell in love with the Labrador puppies… But I think a bunny will best! :)

Last week signified the start of a new adventure – no more traveling, for now – but time to make new friends, learn from others and become a teacher. I know from my gap year that kids demand a lot of energy and I am preparing to be absolutely exhausted after my first week (if not month!) Saying goodbye to our dear South African friends (Cleo and Kirsty) on Thursday was difficult as we knew we always had them to share a laugh, go for dinner with or just generally understand us. I questioned my decision about coming over here a few times – but now I know we have made the right decision… As cliche as it sounds – our time over here, how everything worked out, the people we have crossed paths with and could have missed by a minute – have all reassured my belief that Everything Happens for a Reason.

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2 Responses to “Work Mode, Beer on ice & Pay Day.”

  1. mushette May 10, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    Great post and I love your excitement and happiness! I can’t wait for the next installment of how teaching English in Thailand is working out for you and to hear more about living in Bangkok :-)

  2. jessicajhill May 11, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    There’s nothing wrong with being excited about life! More people should follow suit. Your new journey sounds like it’s shaping up to be fantastic – and I’m eager to hear more about it. Which agency are you going through? Bouncing around to different schools in Bangkok should be an experience.

    As for the beer on ice, I too used to hide my face in shame (in the Pacific Northwest in America, home of the craft brews, I would definitely be shunned) but now I look forward to an ice cold beer!

    JJ is one of my favorite places ever. I’m headed there today!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and following along. I hope you enjoy the journey!

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