Imagine 400 kids all on their knees, scuffling along on stage, bearing flowers, ready to bow down to their teachers. This is something the students all over Thailand do every year, called “Wai Kruu.” (Wai is the bow used to greet each other and Kruu teacher.) At first I thought it must be the equivalent of our “Teachers Day” but there is an entirely separate day for that. Wai Kruu takes place each year two weeks after the school semester has started.
One can really see the power structure set up in Thailand by working at a school. Every time a student approaches a teachers desk they get down on their knees to speak. It is inappropriate to stand above someone older or in a higher position then you. Even the teachers will often bend down when walking past the principal at the school. It didn't seem that unexpected that an entire day would be devoted to honoring the teachers.
I, like the little kindergarteners in this photo, was taught what I was supposed to do for Wai Kruu. The students offer the teachers bouquets and pans of flowers. Afterwards they bow down to receive a sort of blessing from the teacher, telling them to work hard and do there best this year. I did my best in Thai, but don't think I was able to offer much inspiration..
Afterwards, there was a table full of flowers of all sorts. There are so many differences between the school here in Thailand and what I've experienced in America. Some things I agree with and some I don't. But I do admire the sense of respect that exists here.