How did you learn how to make friends? How did you learn how to express your emotions? How did you learn to be polite and problem solve? I can’t speak for everyone but I definitely learn these through play. I learned how to play and use my imagination with my sisters, friends, and at school during recess time. As a 90s baby I guess my generation was the last one to play games without a screen, like double dutch, numbers hand game, tire swing, barbies (I had a nice doll collection and would forbid people from touching my dolls lol), Pokemon cards, and of course riding my bicycle. The only digital game I played was Nintendo 64 and solitaire from the PC in my home. As a young adult and teacher I’m glad to be back in an environment where playing is a central role of learning.
My new job :)
My school follows a creative curriculum that emphasises play and creativity for students to learn. Through these methods students learn how to count, identify colours, encourage curiosity, speaking English, writing, and manners. It’s a big change from teaching high school students, which I enjoyed (it’s not for everyone) and being a person of fascination given my “unique look” to my students, who are mostly Japanese, Thai, or mixed. One student pointed to my smile and asked why I have chocolate on my gums! Very cute, I guess he never seen brown gums before. Or all my students staring at me and my hair with wide eyes nearly not recognising me because I decided to put it up in a big bun. I really cherish moments like these.
I started working at the end of the semester so my first week I shadowed a teacher whose class I will take over while she’s on holiday. Many students have developed emotionally and socially over the year as they began school shy and awkward and now are full of energy, talkative, and confident. The structure of the school is centred around playing, as classes and lessons are organised into 15-30 minutes with many play activities such as swimming, P.E. bicycling, cooking, free play, and language learning. The biggest differences between this school (or schools in Thailand) and traditional American schools are that lunches and snacks are healthier, as kids eat a lot of vegetable, rice, and little processed foods, and children are treated equally regardless of their culture, faith, ethnicity, or class. I won’t get too political but as a “minority” (I really hate that word) from the US, and educated in Massachusetts, “the brain state,” there is a lot of bias and implicit racism in the education system. I won’t digress any further, but it’s just nice to be seen as an American first and teach in a positive and tolerant environment and society. Anyways, I really like my colleagues who are all from around the world, US, UK, New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, and Canada. All who are around my age and at the beginning or middle of their teaching careers.
I love this job, my colleagues, and my students so I definitely will be here for the long term as I build Healthy Hair Asia.
Thank you for reading!