Musings, Travel & Adventure

The Kids at Korpai

Our weeks at Korpai Kindergarten were filled with singing, games, flashcards, and all sorts of fun (slash exhausting) activities that I don’t usually get to do at my teaching job back in the States. “Teacher Tom” and I had a lot of fun during our teaching experience there. We taught little English lessons with different topics every day, from insects to zoo animals to things at a park. I think Teacher Tom was a bit of a natural, actually. If he wasn’t going into secondary science education back home, I think he would make a pretty good elementary teacher. He sang enthusiastically, he led games that were loud and boisterous, and the kids loved him.

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One day, I did get a pretty good laugh, though. I was preoccupied taping flashcards of insects up on the wall for our next activity, so I let Teacher Tom handle the transition by singing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” with the kids. He started too high. “Wait, stop,” he said. Then he started too low. Then his voice started cracking. Then, he skipped a line. Then, another kid sang the wrong line, so Tommy went with it. I found myself laughing harder and harder, unable to step in and save him. Tommy glared at me. “Thanks for the help,” he said. I just laughed more. The kids probably didn’t know much different, although I think a few of them had an inkling that Teacher Tom didn’t know much about “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

When it came time to say goodbye our last day of teaching, it was pretty sad. We sang the Shark Song one more time. I watched Dtang-Mo run around the Duck-Duck-Goose circle one more time. I watched Teacher Tom yell at the top of his voice during Red Light, Green Light one more time. The hard part was knowing that, more than likely, we won’t see these kids again in our lifetime. Hopefully, they are in good hands.

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When we packed up to leave at the end of the lesson, the kids asked their regular teachers where we were going. “America,” she said. The kids rattled off something to their teacher in Thai, which we didn’t understand. She said something to them, and they looked at us pretending to rub their eyes and cry. “They are sad,” she translated.

When we walked away, they gave us a pretty sweet goodbye for us to remember. To leave every day, we had to walk by a gated doorway that looks from the kindergarten out onto the street. This time, the kids rushed to the gate when we left and stuck their arms out in little waves and little peace signs. They were smiling, laughing, sad. It was a pretty touching moment.

Happily, I snapped a picture before we left for good:

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I’m going to miss those little rascals.

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