I think one of the highlights for us during the first semester is the Wai Khru Ceremony. This is when the students pay respects to their teachers and present them with flowers or jasmine garlands. I have tried to explain this ceremony to some teacher friends from America and they found it difficult to comprehend. They said that no way would American students prostrate at the feet of their teachers. But, that is exactly what happens here. In some ways this is like lay people making an offering to a monk. That is how highly teachers are respected in Thailand. The students are making merit in order to gain good fortune over the coming academic year. When we receive the flowers we are not supposed to say “thank you” though I am often tempted to do so. We should take this opportunity to give them some good advice for their future and also to wish them good luck and say that we hope they will get good grades.
Representatives from each class present their teachers with flower arrangements they made themselves the day before
Afterwards, all of the students prostrate at the feet of their teachers
A few facts…
* Most students presented the kem flower which means needle in Thai. This is symbolic as the students think this will make them sharp-witted.
* Other schools will hold this ceremony on different weeks but they will all hold it on a Thursday. This day is considered auspicious for teachers.