All new international teachers to Thailand must take 20 hours of class work to obtain a Thai Teaching certificate. Today was my first class and our assignment is to reflect on what we learned…..so here I go.
What did I learn today?
We had a great discussion about the Wai. A common greeting in Thailand much like a handshake. The discussion around when to Wai and who to Wai was an interesting one. There are two ways to Wai back at someone. You can just put your hands together and not bow your head or you bow your head.
If a student or someone younger then you Wais you, you do not bow your head while Wai-ing back. You simple just put your hands together and Wai.
You would bow your head to someone older than you, someone of higher social status, or someone who you respect.
Who or what determines when to wai?
-Profession (Teacher, Doctor)
Learning to Wai is much like learning when do you shake someones hand, when do you just say “hi”, and when is it appropriate to just wave.
The Thai phrase “Mai-pen-rai” translates as “It doesn’t matter” but really it does…but only sometimes…sometimes it doesn’tm and somethings it means No. But other times it means Yes. Confused? Yes….we are too
I think all cultures have phrases like this. In Saudi Arabia it was “Inshallah” which meant ‘have pateints” but really it meant much more than that. In America…what is the phrase that we use? We say “Yeah” a lot, we shake our head in agreement even though we might not agree.
Learning globally meaning learning cultures.