I talked about in a post two and a half months ago about a quote I came across, who did I help and what did I learn? I wanted to reflect this on my time in Thailand. I’ll move the concrete to be abstract.
1. Basic Thai: needless to say learning some of the local language smooths out intersections. I can hold with rudimentary conversations on topics such as pleasantries, numbers and haggling as well as instructions. Besides that I can talk about technical topics such as Muay Thai, flirting and classroom management. Not sure how useful Thai is now that I am no longer in Thailand.
2. Public Speaking: Being a school teacher didn’t much leave me much choice in this department. Surveying university students where I had people stare at me also landed itself in my confidence and ability in this skill. You can judge for yourself from my lectures.
3. Leadership/Classroom Management: Being f̶e̶d̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶a̶ ̶d̶e̶n̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶w̶o̶l̶v̶e̶s̶ thrown into a class full of teenagers you either quit or you learn how to handle yourself, in other words, sink or swim. For me it was the later. I wanted to quit the TEFL position prematurely, but I developed the leadership instinct see things through as a way to set an example (lead) for those following.
4. Muay Thai: Getting thrown on the canvas over a hundred times teaches you a thing or two. It got to the point where I’d laugh when I thought punched in the face and I’d wonder what’s wrong with me.
6. Seeing myself on camera: see my face and hearing my voice made me cringe for more than a decade. This is a mental hurdle I got over in Thailand through recording and forcing myself to watch my lectures, singing on video and starting this YouTube channel.
7. “Bend it till it breaks”: I averaged a complaint a week as an EFL teacher. I learned I love to rock the boat set the point that it tips over. You get more of what you want. I do as I please within reason. As I told some 9th graders, it’s better to seek forgiveness than ask for permission.
8. “Not an Employee”: lastly, I discovered I am no employee. It’s something I’ve been working towards subconsciously since I left America and the comforts of home over a year ago and now Thailand with its security of a job.
I smash things to chaos and work worth shifting the bell curve (ie. how good I am at something) to the right.
Kingston S. Lim
March 20, 2020