Hello blog readers! It’s been a while. If you read this blog you might be interested to hear what its author has been up to recently.
When last I posted I was still employed at a Thai university. Since then I’ve changed positions. This week wraps up my first term teaching in the bilingual program of what’s called a ‘demonstration school’ attached to another university. The school runs from kindergarten through secondary. I’ve been teaching in the primary section but will shift up to high school for the next term (teachers tend to disappear around here; also, I think I’ll be happier/better teaching teens).
I still miss certain things about my old job (mentoring of student teachers on their practicums the most) but overall it’s been a good change. The pay is better and – rather crucially – consistent. Working with young learners again has been admittedly challenging but ultimately pretty rewarding. And we now live in a much nicer (see: greener) area which also has a slightly more convenient access to downtown Bangkok by car.
However, I’ve also been struggling with the effects of depression. This condition caused me to accept and then not be able to commit to a rather large materials-writing job that would have been an absolutely stellar career-shifting and career-boosting opportunity. But I simply could not perform. It’s been enough just to get through the day; taking on a project and its intellectual demands very quickly proved impossible for me. And so that failure became another source of pain.
Although I’ve always been conscious of how the many challenges of being a professional teacher and trainer interact with my mental health (and colleagues’, and trainees’), I’ve never before experienced this level of personal psychological health interference in my work in the realm of ELT. It’s been really, really, REALLY challenging; the move back to Thailand after completing my MA and working as an ESOL teacher and then CELTA tutor in the US has simply not gone at all to plan. It’s as if I’m just not the professional educator I thought I was. I feel diminished, devolved, disarmed.
The awareness of colleagues I mentioned above makes it easy to imagine some (perhaps many) of my blog’s readers understanding and empathizing with my experience. So, along with increased communication with loved ones, lifestyle shifts, exercise, and therapy, perhaps a bit more frequent blogging here will be healthy and productive (this final post by Chia here reminded me of how developmental and productive blogging was for me in the past!). We’ll see.
I did just let the “give us $19.99 to keep your domain name” annual charge happen so I might as well keep up with posting now and then 😉
Anyway, it’s not all doom and gloom. I’m sincerely looking forward to next term. For one thing, I’ll be back to teaching all English classes rather than a mix of English, science, social studies, and others. In theory that was a fun change of pace for me. In practice? Let’s just leave it at I’m happy to be teaching nothing but English again.
That’s it. That’s the update. Thanks for reading, y’all.