Encounters of the Third World
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Yesterday started off as "one of those days". You know those days where you wake up and just think (and sometimes actually say out loud) "UHGGG!" Well yesterday morning was one of those days for many reasons. One, I had a splitting head ache from the moment I opened my eyes, my stomach started hurting as soon as I sat up, I had once again woken up in a pool of sweat because its so damn hot inside my house, and to top it all off, I had to get up and go do the one thing I hate most in life. Thats right, you guessed it... I had to get up and teach :-(.

Now I've taught English before in another school, and quickly stopped that after about 2 months of trying to teach these rowdy, annoying, but albeit cute kids how to speak English. Once winter break was over i promptly hide from the principle for a good 6 weeks so he wouldn't be tempted to ask me back to teach English. So I know now you are asking yourself why, if I hate teaching so much, I am teaching again at another school. Well the answer lies in my kind and nurturing heart ;-). As was the case with the first school, I just felt really bad at how these kids were learning (or trying to learn). More often then not these kids are simply being told to literally sit in front of a tv and follow along as someone on the screen teaches about some particular subject. Most of the time these kids are doing everything they can to not pay attention to these lessons effectively defeating the purpose of being in school in the first place. So as you can imagine, I felt pretty bad for these kids. I would have liked to offer more then English language skills to help them, but trying to teach science in Thai is a little beyond my linguistic range at the moment. So I found myself agreeing to teach another term of English after I so expertly got out of the last teaching gig.

So I got out of bed, got dressed and headed out on my 4+ Km bike ride to school to teach English. I made it about 500 meters before my ipod ran out of battery; after which I almost crashed my bike into a rice field attempting to avoid running over a snake sunning itself in the middle of the road. This of course caused me to use my feet as an extra breaking system, and I landed right in a larger then average pile of buffalo poop... Clearly my day was just getting better and better.

When I finally made it to the school all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball and weep. But I forced myself to go teach my lesson. It was 4th, 5th, and 6th grade that day. Three hours of what was sure to be some horrible rendition of "Rugrats; All Growed Up". I literally braced myself for the impact of the day, but to my surprise, It was actually pretty nice. I decided to teach my 4th and 5th graders together so I could cut an hour out of my teaching time, but to my surprise, the kids wanted me to continue teaching after the first hour was up. They gave me a complete and obvious rationale that since they combined the classes, I had another hour of teaching left to do. Their enthusiasm astounded me so much, that I didnt even mind spending the extra time teaching.

So, at the end of every lesson, I usually ask the kids what they would like me to teach them the next time we meet. Last time I was there they said they wanted to learn animals, so yesterday's lesson was about animals. I taught them the names of a bunch of animals in English and the "Ol' McDonald" song, which they loved, and for the second hour, we learned all about the body. But I ran out of time before I could teach them the Hokkie Pokie. So at the end of this class, like every other class, I asked, "so what do you want to learn about next week?" These 8 and 9 year old kids actually said they wanted me to give them a TEST of all the stuff I had taught them in the past 3 weeks!! I was completely floored. I had to ask them again, just to be sure I understood them correctly, and they actually went and got an old test for me to look at and said "We want you to give us one of these!" I must have stood there with my mouth open for quite some time because they all started laughing hysterically at me. Later that afternoon at lunch with the other teachers at the school, I was answering questions about how my day went and how I liked teaching. I told the teachers that the students actually asked me to give them a test and they were even more surprised then I initially was. They didnt believe me at first, and asked a student from one of my classes for confirmation. Apparently it was a first for them too.

I guess this just goes to show you that you truly do have more of an impact on people then you can possibly imagine. Here I was dreading teaching, and for all intense and purposes just trying to make it through the day, and here are these students who are actually looking forward to my lessons. Partially because it is the only actual teacher interaction outside of a television set that they will get all day, or all week for that matter, and also because they were generally interested in the material. That really touched me more then anything else I have experienced thus far. Just the simple act of caring enough to do something that I otherwise wouldn't do has made a positive impact on these kids. That revelation completely made my day. The headache, stomach ache, barely averted snake/ rice field disaster, and even my ruined shoes (which still reeked of buffalo dung) were all forgotten. And I still cant believe I am going to say this, but I, Porscha Winston, am actually looking forward to teaching next week!

Until next time...
posted by Porscha @ 6:56 PM  
  • At February 24, 2010 at 7:22 PM, Blogger Pia said…


    I think that is AWESOME! Your really do have a positive effect on people! I could see it while I was visiting you! I'm glad that you're enjoying teaching for the very first time in your life and that you didn't feel the urge to throw a child out of the window like you so often do ;-) I'm so excited for you and its a blessing that things have so completley turned around!!!

    The heat and the snakes I can't even fathom right now (I'm still thanking god that I didn't see a snake while I was there) And that really sucks about your shoes (where those the while nikes i sent you?) but at least you didn't get bitten by a snake! I'll take buffalo dung over a snake bite ANY DAY! Just try to stay positive sister, and always look on the bright side of every situation :-)

    I Love you and I can't wait for your next installment!!


    P.S. The new background is super cute!

  • At February 25, 2010 at 11:55 AM, Blogger ~~~ said…

    omg...it may be because it's that time of the month, but i almost CRIED reading this! look at these cute lil' kids, all interested and attentive! and look at teacher porscha!!!! you wouldn't even think your toes had tasted the foul fate of buffalo dung lol. it's clear your life has meaning and purpose in thailand - i am SO glad you made this decision and took this trip, SO glad you're beginning to see in yourself what others have always seen in you: your passion, dedication, selflessness. this is beautiful - just like your new background. PLEASE, PLEASE WRITE EVERY WEEK! I'M ENJOYING THIS TOO MUCH!!! =D
    <3 mic mic

  • At February 25, 2010 at 9:29 PM, Blogger Lia said…

    You have always been a positive influence to people around. You inspire me every day. I find myself often asking God what I did to deserve such shining light in my life and thank Him for the fabulous blessings that He saw fit to give me. You are so destined for great and wonderful things because of the great and wonderful things you give to others. I love these passages of your life you are sharing. I can't wait for the next one. The thing about the snake is making me want to come and bring you home though.
    Write again soon!

  • At March 1, 2010 at 5:32 PM, Blogger ~~~ said…

    speaking of revelations: i found my blogs! lol. if it weren't for firefox...i'd probably still be at a lost. as you know, one is located at http://mic-tre.blogspot.com. the other one is http://checkmic-tre.blogspot.com. sorry it took so long...i forgot.

  • At March 4, 2010 at 10:52 AM, Blogger Brandelyn said…

    I'm just waiting for you to admit that you love the kids. =D THis blog made me smile. Big. Love you!!!


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Name: Porscha
Home: Chai Nat, Thailand
About Me: The opinions of this blog are mine, and mine only. They do not reflect the opinions and/or views of the Peace Corps or the United States government.
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