This was my first GCW trip, and, although I simply stayed here in Bangkok, it was truly an amazing learning experience. Many would say that it’s “courageous” to be teaching a group of twenty-two, full-of-life four to five year-olds, however, doing so is definitely one of my most treasured experiences as yet. Before this trip, I had never really spent so much time with so many children of this age, and I honestly didn’t expect that I’d enjoy this trip as much I did!

Teaching and spending time with the students of Klong Toey Kindergarten was an excellent learning experience, as, not only did I discover some aspects of Thai culture and language, but I came to know more about myself as a person. I realized just how much I missed being a four to five year-old, always playing and messing around, without ever having to worry about anything at all. Initially, I thought that I’d find it problematic to handle these students, as I am a non-Thai speaker. However, I was surprised to discover that, despite not being able to verbally communicate with them effectively, I was able to connect with them quite well through understanding gestures and facial expressions. In addition, I learnt several aspects of Thai culture, such as how the students greet one another and their teachers. I was truly delighted to see how much respect they paid to their teachers and to us as well. Moreover, I have learnt several Thai expressions, such as “Chu arai?” (What is your name?), “Dee mak” (Very good), “Sue mak” (Beautiful), and “Ja gone prunee” (See you tomorrow).

As a result of this trip, I honestly feel that I have become more of a child at heart, as compared to before! Singing nursery rhymes, dancing, coloring, painting and playing around with children of this age group reminded me of when I was their age. Due to this, despite being a sixteen year-old taking the IB Diploma, I now allow myself to “fool around” more, as compared to before. Furthermore, I feel that this has had a positive effect on me, as I now feel more relaxed and cheerful from within.

Overall, this teaching experience was next to perfect. However, we did face certain challenges. The prime challenge I faced was not being able to verbally communicate with the students effectively, as I am a non-Thai speaker. This thus made it difficult for me to give instructions to the students. However, the main reason as to why I regretted not being able to speak and understand Thai was being unable to comprehend what the students talked about with one another, as I was really keen on learning what the children of this age group found to be interesting. In addition, at times, it was difficult to manage the students, as they got over-excited very easily. However, I still felt that this was not such a major issue, as they’re small children after all!

I feel that this entire experience itself was rewarding. I personally felt so alive, energized and cheerful just by being around them. I truly admired how, although the students connected with us as friends, they respected us immensely. The children of Klong Toey Kindergarten are absolutely adorable, and I would love to visit them sometime soon in the future!

            

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