Friday was my last day of teaching classes in Thailand. I will see the students one more time for their formal examinations, and then it’s over. I never thought that I would be so sad to say goodbye. On the last day, we had a little party and I gave each of them awards for being the awesome little human beings they are. Although it was just a piece of paper, they loved coming up and collecting their awards in front of the class. We laughed, had a giant group hug, and I tried not to think about the fact that this would be one of the last times I would see them.
When I first started the year, I had no idea how much these kids would impact me and make positive change in my life. They have opened my heart and my mind in so many ways. Seeing their little faces light up when I enter for my lessons and knowing that I have made a positive difference in their lives has been one of the most rewarding experiences. Their English has improved greatly, and it is remarkable to know that I played a large part in that. Napat, who knew almost no English and struggled the first couple of months, earned his first 100 percent on his speaking test. He was so proud when I gave him a sticker and announced his accomplishment to the class. Most of them came into my class knowing colors and animals. They can now make full sentences, read and write in English, and communicate some of their ideas.
Change is scary. Part of me still feels like I am at the same place that I was when I began my journey through SE Asia- unsure of my future, jobless, and confused. However, that is simply not true. I have learned so much from my year in Thailand.
I have learned to trust, to be fearless, and to jump and have faith that the net will appear to catch me on the way down.
While I could have been starting my career back home, I’m still not entirely sure what I want to do for a career. I do know that I have found a passion in teaching and helping others, and that realization will make settling into a career that does those things that much easier.
I leave Thailand in two weeks and will be backpacking through Myanmar. After that, its home for a couple of months before I set off on my next adventure- teaching in Seoul, South Korea!
As for now, I have to realize that this experience is over but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Every experience is just a stepping stone. I am sad to leave my students but am happy in the role I played in their lives. I know that I did my best to teach, motivate, and empower them.
Each one of their smiles is imprinted on my heart.