In the past month or so, both of us really feel like we’ve turned a corner with teaching. In the beginning it always felt like we were dragging our feet to school, didn’t have a clue why we were trusted to teach these children anything, and couldn’t wait to pack up and travel at the end our contracts. Now, teaching feels much less daunting as we’ve grown in confidence, embracing our own teaching styles. It was always slightly nerve wracking in the first month knowing that the public schools we worked at could kick us out if they didn’t like our styles or attitudes (which they did to some of the teachers). But with positive feedback from our teaching assistants and the fact that we’re still here 3 months on has allowed us to run with new teaching ideas, safe in the knowledge that we’re doing an alright job after all!
It really is a joy to walk into school each morning feeling like a celebrity, wading through hundreds of smiling children while they battle their way to the front just to high five or fist bump you. We know when we return to the UK and settle in new jobs that we will be reminiscing fondly of the days we were cuddled into class. The enthusiasm and energy that each child presents in each lesson is what makes teaching so rewarding. It’s difficult for it not to be contagious, and we often leave school with a smile on our faces, even if we’re still drained of energy ourselves!
The level of energy required for teaching is the most challenging part of the job, along with the chore of lesson planning and thinking up new and exciting ideas each week without lessons becoming too repetitive. But most of the time we can share ideas with each other and even the simplest of games can get a whole class buzzing. It’s amazing how many games you can create using just one ball, a pack of cards or a blindfold.
On 20th November Vietnam celebrated Teacher’s Day. It’s a big deal over here, despite both of us never recalling it from our own school days. We both agree it’s a great thing and should be recognised everywhere. In the lead up to the day, the streets were full with beautiful bouquets, our lessons revolved around teacher’s day activities and gifts were offered to the teachers at our schools. We were even lucky enough to be given presents of our own, including 4 scarves between us, a gold pen and about £40 in cash (which we’ve since spent on little treats). It was very touching how generous they were (considering we already earn the big dollar) and that they appreciate the effort we go to in order to make lessons fun. Bit awkward now we’re leaving in January…
That’s not to say that some of our lessons don’t fall flat and we dread Mondays just as much as we did in London. But on the whole, teaching has grown to be a much more positive experience and we don’t want to take any of its perks for granted. We are very lucky that we can waltz into class with a handful of simple games, knowing that our Blighty accents are funding a yearlong adventure.