English Teacher Interview: Brieh of Odd and Abroad

Brieh made travel a priority after graduation, before choosing a longterm career. Her decision led her to Thailand where she now teaches English!

1. Where are you from?

I am from the United States in Cincinnati, Ohio.

2. What made you decide to teach abroad?

I graduated from college and after many post graduate interviews, decided that I really wanted to travel before I started in any job long term. I didn’t want to get caught up in a job, never leave, and wonder “what if…” So, I just went for it!

3. Which program hired you?

I was hired by Media Kids Academy.

4. What country did you choose and why?

I chose Thailand because it’s a beautiful and laid back country with so much to offer. It has mountains, it has beaches, it has everything! And it’s pretty inexpensive. I’ve also been told it’s been called “the land of smiles.” So I had to get in on that!

5. Is teaching abroad your first experience in Thailand?

No, I actually visited Southeast Asia last year while on vacation and absolutely fell in love with Thailand. I knew that I would be back here someday!

6. What grades do you teach?

I teach grades 1-3 (They call is Prathom 1, 2, and 3 here in Thailand)

7. Had you worked with children in education before teaching abroad?

Yes. I was a tutor in college and also worked as a Preschool Teacher and Counselor for Children’s Hospital during the summer. 

8. What surprises you the most about the education system in Thailand?

I think what surprised me the most was the number of kids that are in a classroom. They usually have 40-50 kids in a class, which is a lot larger than most classrooms in the U.S. Also, I’m teaching 19 classes a week. This doesn’t sound like a big thing, but considering the class size, I’m teaching about 800 children a week! This definitely changed my strategy for English Teaching after the first few days.

Also, they are not allowed to fail a class. Ever. This can be challenging to get them motivated and incentivized to do their work. You have to really have engaging lessons, because in the end, they know they will pass regardless. 

9. What are your favorite/least favorite parts of the job?

My favorite part of teaching is seeing the student’s progress with English and when they have fun in my class! Also, I like the hugs from the kids when I first walk into the room. I only see each class once a week, so it’s nice to see how much they like and care for me!

10. What is your favorite word or phrase your students use?

I think it’s really cute when my kids mix up good morning and good afternoon. It will be like 2pm and they will see me walking around and say, “Teacher Brieh, good morning!” They are 7-9 year olds, so it’s adorable!

11. What is your favorite part of living in Thailand?

My favorite part was becoming closer with all of the other teachers and exploring our town together. I also really love getting to know the local culture here!

12. How long do you plan to teach abroad?

At first, I had planned on only teaching for a sememster (4 1/2 months). Now, I’m not sure! I might stay for the whole year!

13. What advice would you give a prospective teacher abroad?

I would tell a prospective teacher to be flexible when teaching in Thailand. You never know if a class will get cancelled or what will happen in a school day. You really have to set the expectation of having no expectation when coming into this job! Also, if you are thinking about traveling solo (like I did), I highly suggest to do it. Don’t wait for someone else to come along with you or it won’t happen. Just jump right in!

14. Any other comments?

Teaching English has been one of the best experiences of my life. If it scares you to travel and teach, you should go for it! And a big thank you to Hilary for letting me share my experience with all of you!

Thank you, Brieh!

Check out Brieh’s blog, Odd and Abroad, for more of her adventures!

You can also follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

If you are a volunteer, language assistant, or English teacher abroad and would like to participate in an interview, let me know via the contact tab!

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