Teacher Diaries / Thailand

The Last Job I Ever Imagined Falling In Love With

Taylor Benton

Taylor Benton

October 8, 2019

Allow me to tell you a story of how I ended up falling in love with the last job I ever thought I would want. If you were to ask me ten years ago what I’d like to be when I grew up, 14 year-old Taylor would not have had an answer for you. My response would have been something like, “I want to be a doctor, a vet, or a physical therapist”. However, there was one thing I was always sure of: I did NOT want to be a teacher – that was at least until I discovered that teaching English in Thailand is an actual thing you can do.

I did NOT want to be a teacher

Sure, it was cool that teachers got government holidays and summer vacations off of work, but even as a young girl the concept always scared me.

As a teacher, you would have multiple human beings’ lives in your hands. Teachers are responsible for ensuring that kids are receiving all of the knowledge they need to succeed in life.

What if I became a teacher and I couldn’t meet these requirements? Would the students grow up to be failures and it would all lead back to that one incompetent 4th grade teacher they once had? 

ESL teacher in Thailand exploring the town of Tak

Here I am now…a TEACHER in THAILAND!

Here we are, present day, 2019. Ask me what my current job is? Yep, you guessed it – I’m A TEACHER…and in Thailand of all places!

How did this happen, you ask?

Well, it all started 3 years ago with me traveling abroad for the first time in hopes of completing a 500 mile-trek across Spain and France: the Camino de Santiago. I had no idea what a life-changing trip this would ultimately be and where it would lead me. Turns out that 30 days of walking would provide me with a true sense of self and a passion for traveling. 

Just weeks after returning from the Camino, the “back to real life blues” really sunk in. I was plagued with a million questions for myself:

  • Where would I travel next?
  • When would I have the free time to travel again?
  • Did I really want to deal with 20 hours of air travel to be in paradise for 6 days and then travel another 20 hours back home to return to the same boring job?
  • How can I combine my passion for travelling with some skills that would allow me to make a liveable income but still feel that thrill of adventure?
  • Is there a way I can make a difference in other people’s lives as well as my own while doing this? 

American teaching abroad in Thailand

I immediately knew that TravelBud’s Teach English in Thailand program was something I needed to be a part of

Cue the extensive researching, and BOOM! TravelBud’s website appeared.

Upon reading about the programs they offered and about their company, I immediately knew that TravelBud’s Teach English in Thailand program was something I needed to be a part of. Looks like I’d be a teacher after all. 

Within 24 hours, I had applied, set up my interview, and informed my family and friends of my plans. Five months later, I was all packed up and on a plane to Thailand, unknowingly headed into one of the most challenging but rewarding experiences of my life.

My original plan was to head to Thailand to teach English for 1 year. Looking back now, what a joke that was. My “year” finished 2 months ago and I have just extended my contract for another 6 months.

Teaching in Thailand allows you to celebrate holidays like Wan Wai Kru

This is one of the many amazing holidays celebrated in Thailand: Wan Wai Kru

It didn’t take long for me to get hooked on teaching

The amount of pure love and appreciation the students shower me with has my heart trapped in Thailand for now.

I’ve been teaching the same students for the last year now, so being able to compare their English proficiency from the beginning to now, makes my heart beam with success.

I feel intense pride when I think about the language barriers me and these 8-10 year olds were able to overcome in order to form the interpersonal relationships we have today. 

Moving so far away from home has been challenging in itself, but the students effortlessly and unknowingly find a way to make being 10,000 miles away so worth it.

From Saturday morning FaceTime calls, to Sunday morning play dates in coffee shops, these students have managed to make me feel like I truly belong here.

I’ve also met new life-long friends from America and the UK who I would probably have never met if I didn’t choose to embark on this program.

I’m so blessed and thankful that I was given the opportunity to come to a country like Thailand and help expand students’ minds in ways that I never thought were imaginable. 

English teacher in Thailand with her students

Who is the real teacher here?

There is however one question that I am always asking myself: who is the real teacher here?

My students have taught me patience, kindness, intercultural empathy, and how to open my heart more.

They’ve taught me a new way of life. I’ve learned how to become more independent, as well as dependable, and I am now able to communicate better with others.

They have shown me how to look at the world with a whole new set of eyes and how to have an appreciation for everything I’m so fortunate to have, as well as things I don’t have.

I think I may have learned more from my students than I have been able to teach them. And yes, I may be biased, but what a beautiful story that is.

Many participants are drawn to TravelBud’s Teach English Abroad programs because of their love of travel and desire for new experiences, but many have never been teachers before.

Despite being nervous at first, our in-class TEFL/TESOL course and certification combined with an in-depth cultural orientation establishes a strong foundation, allowing new teachers to enter their classrooms confidently and be effective educators.

Like in Taylor’s case, they often find themselves really enjoying the profession and have a life-changing adventure you can only truly understand once you experience it for yourself

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