Teaching In a Foreign Country

September 15, 2015

Despite how cute my kids are, if there is one thing that I know for sure at this current moment, it is that I never wish to be an elementary school educator. For a couple moments after I signed up to teach abroad, I contemplated changing my major to elementary education; however, after dipping my toes in the water of teaching, that idea has long past sailed!

I am a child. I am a nineteen year old child who is trying to control other children. In a foreign country. Who do not speak the same language. Kids are crazy. They are loud. They are nuts, off the wall, always shouting and hitting each other, and did I mention loud? It doesn’t matter what country they’re from. They do not listen, they are constantly moving and getting out of their seat, and I am almost positive some children do not have the capability to keep their mouths shut and refrain from screaming for more than two seconds. There have been instances where these little humans have caused my head to ache, my heart to hurt, and my anxiety and stress levels to rise to unhealthy heights. Sometimes I feel useless and like I am unable to do anything at all, let alone try to teach them a foreign language.

Teaching is hard. Although, it is not impossible… even though every morning when I wake up I feel that it may be. I do find that sometimes putting myself into the perspective of my students helps. On Tuesday evenings, we have culture class where we learn Chinese, as well as more about the culture. When we are being taught Chinese, I feel hopeless, frustrated, confused and find my attention drifting. The Chinese language is so damn difficult! But again, not impossible- because over a billion people in this world speak it. This must be how my students feel. English can be extremely challenging to learn for the non-native speaker and they may be feeling just as confused and frustrated as I do in culture class.

I’ve had some good days teaching , as well as a couple very bad days so far that made me just want to curl up in a ball and not leave my now-comforting wooden plank bed. I tried to come to class today with a better attitude than yesterday and I think it was my new mindset that made today better than my rough day prior.

There are some moments within a crazy day that make it all turn around for a split second. For example: One of my students, Katie, tapped on my arm and said “Teacha, you are so cute!”. Also, one of my sassiest students, Barbie, hugged me when she saw me one day and also gave me a heart she cut out in arts & crafts. Another one of my students, Hannah, gave me the flower she made during arts & crafts. It’s sweet times like those that can really surprise me about my students and teaching.

I’ll continue to hope that teaching gets easier. We are all still getting into the groove of our routine.. our children included. Once we have more experience, I think the sailing will be far more smooth for all of us.


First rotation group of my adorable second graders


My sweet fourth graders on Teacha Ily’s 20th birthday


“YUMMY!!” these babies love kitchen more than anything.


Two of my crazy boys from my home group


My baby, Barbie


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