The month-long summer holiday comes to an end this week, following another long weekend stretching from Labor Day on the first to Coronation Day on the fifth. Most students will return to their schools next week for the start of Term 1 for School Year 2015-2016. I believe the next special days will occur next month but don’t include any further school holidays until mid-July.
I won’t be returning to Koh Siray School as my agency lost the contract to an upstart from Bangkok who had a low-ball bid. I won’t lose any sleep over the loss as teaching at that school, on an island just east of Phuket Town populated mostly with Chao Le (a tribe of sea gypsies) was more akin to working in inner-city America than rural Thailand. It was the first school in this country where I experience widespread violence with children abusing drugs and trying to engage in underage sex. A scary and depressing place and I have it on good authority that some of the Thai teachers participated in the abuses, which explains the general lack of discipline and complete respect of authority. No, I’m not sad I don’t have to return.
Instead, I will continue doing my in-house work at the language school deep in the bowels of one of Phuket’s largest shopping malls. My continuing line-up includes the business manager who cancels his lessons so often that I believe he may be terminally ill. My Saturday afternoon just-out-of-high school soldier has just returned following a month in the Deep South. My annual classes teaching staff members of Thailand’s fifth largest bank are due to begin in a couple of weeks. These all keep me busy enough to keep me happy (and able to buy food and stamps – my two priorities in life) and completely stress-free.
I also expect that a few of my other students will return in due time – a very lazy high school boy and his big brother who is rather in-over-his-head in IELTS exam preparation but puts competitive swimming first in his many weekly activities. Although he dreams of living in the United States, I believe his English lessons rank ever closer to the bottom of those activities (below his physics lessons even, which he’s told me he despises). That sort of thing really makes a teacher feel loved!
Seriously, I would rather teach young ladies than the high school boys as they have their learning priorities straight and actually study outside of the classroom. The boys are the complete opposite, very lazy and tend to sneak up to shop after their parents have dropped them off. I still receive status updates from many of my former female students, many of whom are now at university or have successful careers and take great delight in thanking their former teachers for helping them get there. I miss all of them and look forward to more in the future.