Wai Kru is a day to honour teachers. Wai, meaning to bow in respect, and Kru, meaning teacher. Essentially it’s Teacher Appreciation Day, but with much more reverence.
The students rehearsed all week, missing my classes, for Thursday’s ceremony. The irony is not lost on me. The teachers were asked to wear their Lanna, and we looked very respectable in our traditional Thai dress.
The ceremony began with a sermon of sorts, in Thai, followed by a few hymns, also in Thai. I’m assuming it was a sermon. I didn’t hear any of the Thai words I know, like noodle, ice, or hot, but I do think I heard “amen”.
The students had arranged flowers to present to the teachers during the ceremony. Some were fragrant bouquets, others were elaborate sculptures made of tiny buds.
As the music began, representative students crawled on their knees at the teachers’ feet, carrying the flowers. In synchronicity, they presented the sculptures, sat on the floor and bowed, which the teachers reciprocated. Afterwards, the remaining students presented small bouquets to the teachers, with a simple wai.
Thailand definitely has respect for its teachers. Even the word “teacher” is more of a title than a job. The students wai (or at least they are supposed to) at the beginning and end of each class. In unison they recite,”Thank you Teacher Gwen. See you again next time.” I’m always left with a nice feeling after a class greeting.