Congratulations new teachers! You have now finished your TESOL/TEFL course or just flown abroad to teach English in Thailand! Teaching in Thailand is quite the adventure and the fist day of school is definitely nerve-wracking. Here are some tips to get you smoothly through your first day teaching!
Be prepared for the unexpected!
Teaching in Thailand is unlike anything I could have ever imagined! Not everything is organized and you will most likely just be thrown into the middle of all the craziness with little support. Things are bound to go wrong, just roll with it.
Bring tissues/ toilet paper
For Obvious reasons!
Bring plenty of snacks and water
It is HOT in Thailand! Make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day! It may be a bit hard to remember to drink amidst everything going on, but you must force yourself to keep drinking. I like having a small bottle to mix an electrolyte packet in that you can pick up for 6 baht at any 711 or Tesco.
Wai all of the school staff
This is one of the most important things you should remember! First impressions really count and you do not want to offend any teacher on your fist day. Also make sure you reach out and introduce yourself around. Many teachers may be nervous to speak English around you and it is important you take the first step.
Have plenty of simple and easy introduction games ready to go
Some of you may be informed before school starts what exactly you should be doing and teaching for the term….but this is not the case for everyone. Create a list of fun and easy games that you can play with your students on the first day. Make sure that you have extra ideas as you will find some games do not work with your classes. *It may be best to also prepare extra games that can be played with students who have a VERY very low proficiency in English.
Ideas: Anything that involves throwing a ball, making name tags, games that involve asking questions that let you get to know your students, State two items (Ex: Ice Cream to the left or Hamburgers to the right) students should go to the side of the room that they like the best,
Speak slow and smile
It is important to not let your students know that you are nervous or afraid
Be prepared to make 100 lessons the next day
Your school may come with or without a curriculum for you to abide by. Either way your teacher may ask you to create ALL of you lesson plans for the term in a day or two ( Yes this definitely happens). Don’t panic you should have plenty of lessons created from your course and you can always go back and change them. * Make sure to talk with your department chair if your school requires you to turn in lessons and how they should be formatted.
Bring a notebook and plenty of pens
Try your best to write down teachers names as soon as possible so you do not forget them. It is also important to write down contact info of a teacher or two at school in case of emergency or if you have any questions at all.
If you are not aware of your school dress code before hand, try to dress as modest and simple as possible. Wear a pair of flat closed toed shoes ( Bring band aids just in case you have not broken them in enough), a plain skirt that covers your knees, and a nice ironed blouse that covers your shoulders and chest ( My school loved anything with a collar, lace, or bows). Remember you will probably be running around with the kids doing games your first day so wear something with easy movement. Guys be sure to wear long pants, button up, and even a tie!
Relax, if you have a bad day, things will still get better!
Moving to a new town is hard, especially moving to a small/rural town where you may be the only westerner. Its VERY overwhelming at first, but just remember things will get better as you become more adjusted. If you have any worries or questions about small town living feel free to send me a message and I would be happy to talk!
Bring a small gift for your school director or department chair. This is NOT required, but is always a nice gesture
Bring a map or pictures of home to show your students and other teachers. Throughout the term my students LOVED to see pictures of my life in America.
Don’t be afraid to let the locals know you are the new teacher in town. This way they will try to look out for you as many will be excited to have you there.
ENJOY YOURSELF!!! Yes your fist day( week, month,year) will be crazy and a bit stressful, but try to just take it all in remember mpai bpen rai and smile.