Living in a strange world

Although I cannot wait for life to return to some form of normality, the distance is making many of us grow closer.

I joined Harrow Bangkok two years ago as Head of Mandarin and have more recently also made the (very good) decision to join the school’s boarding staff community. At first there were of course many changes to get used to. A few months ago, I had a wonderful routine. I had moved into a nice new condo, I had an active social life and frequently travelled. Having gotten to know my students better I was very much enjoying my second year of teaching here at Harrow Bangkok. Work was busy but I was enjoying working closely with my department and colleagues in the boarding house. Then, suddenly, it all changed.

We are now living a strange world. We are all adapting and getting used to online teaching. Being a not very tech-savvy person, I have found this a challenge, but at the same time I am also enjoying learning new skills. Harrow Bangkok have supported us and given us extra time to plan as well as tried very hard to remove other time-consuming tasks from our workload allowing us to focus more on our teaching.

So, what’s life like in Bangkok during this strange time? I imagine more or less the same as in many other places at the moment. Although it is frustrating to not be closer to family during a worrying time, I feel that this is a very good and safe place to be. The lockdown procedures and restrictions in place are proportional and sensible. We still have freedom to move around during the day and with food available on every street corner and the infrastructure for deliveries being well developed it’s been very easy to access everything I need. The only frustration has been the lack of opportunities for physical exercise, but as the situation is improving here in Thailand parks and gyms seem to be top on the list of places that will reopen very soon.

It is very reassuring to know that the standard of health care is of good quality here in. Private health care is expensive here, but we are well supported by the school’s insurance cover. The best part of being part of a big and well-established school at this difficult time has been having access to the HR team and the other staff who keep us updated with the local news and developments, support us with medical concerns and issues as well as take care of all the complicated visa procedures for us.

Although I cannot wait for life to return to some form of normality, the distance is making many of us grow closer. Once school can re-open and we can all be back together I know that we will be an even closer community coming together once again. Until that day I will support my students best I can online, and spend my free time being able to dedicate myself more to reading, cooking, studying Thai, and spending time with my pets.

Written by Michael Downey


Teacher Michael Downey

Michael Downey is Head of Mandarin and a member of the school's boarding staff