A day in the life of Richard Noble

3rd April 2015 at 01:00
Thailand's capital city is sizzling hot, but this expatriate maths teacher finds that educating his pupils is no sweat. They always work hard - and they know how to enjoy themselves, too

Each morning, at 5.40am, I rise from my bed in my air-conditioned bedroom in balmy Bangkok. I teach at Harrow International School and, if the roads are quiet, the journey takes about 10 minutes by taxi. Walking anywhere is not advisable if you don't want to end up drenched in sweat.

I arrive at school at 6.30am and I use the hour before classes begin to plan the day or to catch up with marking. The students also arrive well before the 7.45am registration, in order to beat the rush-hour traffic.

Our student body is about one-third expat and two-thirds Thai, many of whom are Thai-Chinese and come from the country's upper income groups. The Thai-Chinese population is typically into its third generation - the majority of our students have at least one grandparent who came to Thailand from China looking for work and opportunities.

Our students are hard-working; their successful migrant families are often a key factor in their pursuit of academic excellence. This is not to say that they don't possess a sense of fun - they do, in abundance. It's a fusion of the Chinese work ethic and the Thai belief that if something isn't fun, it's not worth doing.

The first class starts at 8am. I teach maths, mainly to the sixth form, but also to Years 10 and 11. My students are eager to learn and they don't give up if they don't understand, but instead listen patiently to my explanations. They are always interested and keen to grasp new concepts.

Break is at 9.20am, then periods 3, 4, 5 and 6 lead up to lunch. Our canteen serves Thai and Western food; I generally opt for the Thai, with the intention of cooking Western food in the evening.

After periods 7 and 8, it's activity time. The school offers a huge range of sporting, creative and academic activities for students to choose from. My activity is competitive maths. We train our students for events such as the South East Asian Mathematics Competition (SEAMC) and the Federation of British International Schools in Asia maths competition. We hosted SEAMC a couple of years ago and I was jointly in charge. It was a lot of work but it was incredibly rewarding. We were lucky enough to have TES maths adviser Craig Barton as a guest speaker.

Activities finish at 4pm. I collect my son, who is studying in Year 2, and we head home. It's a long day, but it's not quite over. After my son has completed his homework and gone to bed, I spend a couple of hours working on a website I run with some other maths teachers at the school. We have been developing the site, Mathster, for the past five years and we use it in our day-to-day teaching.

Every day is busy and satisfying. We work hard and live by the school motto, preparing our students for their futures of "leadership for a better world".

Your day

Do you want to tell the world's teachers about your working day, the unique circumstances in which you teach or the brilliance of your class? If so, email chloe.darracott-cankovic@tesglobal.com

We will give your school pound;100 if your story is published.


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