One of the biggest things I’ve had to learn as a ESL teacher in Thailand is flexibility. Here, plans change by the minute and you’re expected to just go with the flow, being perpetually ready at a moment’s notice (traits that don’t come naturally to a Type-A overthinker like me).
One day this week, I had just handed out worksheets to a 2nd grade class and was having them write their names up top, when the classroom’s Thai teacher says, “Teacher, the students go outside now.”
“Pass back your papers!” I announced and gathered up the worksheets as the students ran outside. When I finished cleaning things up, I wandered around trying to find my class. After a few minutes of searching, I found them watching a presentation from the fire department.
Instead of miming what you should do during a fire (e.g. stop, drop, and roll), the firemen stayed true to the craziness that is Thailand and lit a real fire then let the kids come up and put it out with an extinguisher.
Somehow, I got chosen to go up first and put one out, which was actually quite terrifying. The kids loved my overdramatic screaming, haha.
After that, the kids went wild as they got to try on all the uniforms (so cute) and even ride a makeshift zipline that had been set up between two trees nearby.
There was some kind of gas mask that shot freezing cold air at the kids faces, and they made a long line to try it out one-by-one.
And of course they got to play around with a fire hose.
I’m not sure how much safety the lesson really taught because, at the end of it all, one of my second graders ran up to me and breathlessly exclaimed, “Teacher! I want to play with fire!”
Just your average Tuesday in Thailand…