A New Start for a former Thailand Teacher


During the first home football game, Mr. Vincent Perez wraps #5, Eli Brickhandler’s forearm due to rough play in the game.

After teaching in a third world country, Mr. Vincent Perez had to adapt from teaching English in Thailand to teaching health and P.E. here, and he soon realized it can be a huge change, but a great experience.

Perez spent one year teaching P.E. and health at Gustine High School, then taught a semester of English in Thailand.

“I just wanted to do something different. I’ve always wanted to study abroad, but didn’t get to. So I decided to teach abroad. Also it was to get away from California and try something new,” Perez said.

A switch from Thailand’s education system back to California’s system can be difficult.

“It’s different. People understand me here. It shows you two different aspects of school and how education is ran. There’s a complete different mindset here compared to Thailand. One example of the difference is before school all the students line up in their assigned spots with their teacher and sit down. They must have their legs crossed and they must be quiet. If they do not follow directions, the thai teachers all carry a bamboo stick and will hit the student if they do not follow directions. Then once a week, the thai teachers will do hair and nail checks on students because boys must have short hair and girls must have their hair tied up unless they have short hair. If the students do not clip their nails, the thai teachers will hit them and then cut their nails for them,” Perez said.

After Thailand, Perez came back to California. He wanted to move away from his hometown, Turlock. He was interested in working in Fresno, Sacramento or San Diego. After not hearing back from San Diego and with no desire to live in Fresno, Perez picked Whitney.

Although this may only be his first year here, he is already involved. Perez is the athletic trainer and will also be coaching wrestling in the winter.

Perez has wrestled since he was 4, being a two-time state champion in high school. He also taught wrestling at Pitman High School.

“Wrestling was my way of getting into teaching high school and enjoying that grade of kids. I wasn’t sure what grade I wanted to teach when I first started, so I tried substituting 2nd grade once and it was only a half-day because I was already a bit nervous. That half-day was the longest 4 hours of my life. The students were so wild and would not listen to a thing I said. It was mayhem. After that day I knew for a fact that I did not watch to teach elementary. I never went back to that school and I never taught elementary again,” Perez said.

Perez teaches four periods of health and two periods of P.E., although he also had other interests.

“I thought about history because I really like history and I think my eighth grade history teacher Mrs. Johnson really hooked me on it. But I thought it could be too boring, and I like moving around,” Perez said.

Despite this being his first year, A student has made a bond with Perez.

“I would of had no clue this is his first year teaching here, I didn’t know until he told us. I’m happy I have him as my teacher because he listens to students and he cares about us,” Lauren Blythe said.

Perez wants all of his students to know that his door is always open and he is here to help and listen.