Thai students smile with TEFL teacher in a classroom in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Home Display, Teaching, Thailand

Last Day of School

By Alexis

Well, it’s official! I finished a year of teaching English in Thailand.

It’s crazy to think how fast this school year went by…I started back in June and remember feeling like March was sooo far away. And now here we are! To be totally honest, there were a lot of times throughout the year where I considered quitting, but now that I’ve made it, I’m glad that I stuck it out. On Friday, the last day of school, I was a weepy mess thinking about leaving all these kids and never seeing them again. Even now, I’m getting a little teary thinking about it…

All you veteran teachers out there are probably laughing in my face right now, but I really really hate goodbyes. Unfortunately goodbyes happen regularly when you’re living the nomad lifestyle, and I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.

Luckily, the last day of school was filled with fun activities to distract me. It was “Teacher Respect” day, so each class gave the teachers flowers and gifts and chanted requests for forgiveness in Thai, and afterwards we all danced till we dropped (or in one of my first grader’s case, puked) and gorged ourselves on snacks. I ended up going home with a massive bag of Thai treats and toys that the kids kept handing me; it felt like I was literally taking candy from babies…but it would have been rude to refuse, right? Right??

Treats for teacher in Chiang Mai, Thailand

For the actual forgiveness ceremony, one by one, the students lined up in front of the teachers and wai’d (bowed with their hands together), allowing us to sprinkle their heads with special Buddhist water and tie a string bracelet around their wrists as a blessing. Some of the greedier kids came back for “double blessings” and wanted multiple bracelets, haha. It was all pretty cute.

Students bow and give baskets of food in Chiang Mai, Thailand Even though I had nearly 200 students as a phonics teacher this year, I spent the majority of Friday dancing and playing with my original 32 kids — the first graders who I taught as a homeroom teacher for two months in the beginning of the year.

Thai ESL students offer flowers on the last day of school

Their homeroom teachers and I each gave farewell speeches, and when my turn came, I could only talk for about 20 seconds before my voice started cracking as I held back tears. I got a lot of good little hugs afterwards though so that made me feel a lot better :)

I know that moving on is a fact of life for David and me and I’m really excited about what our future travels will hold, but I’m just gonna miss my sweet kiddos ♡

To end on a happy note, I leave you with this video of my kids’ killer breakdancing moves…

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