Redemptorist Vocational School for People with Disabilities
The annual wai kru ceremony is a Thai ritual in which students pay respects to their teachers in order to express their gratitude and formalize the student-teacher relationship. It is regularly held near the beginning of the school year in most schools in Thailand, and always on a Thursday in the month of June.
Following the daily morning assembly every student from the Vocational School for People with Disabilities gathered in front of the main stage and welcomed the teaching staff, Thai and foreign volunteers.
Once all the teaching staff were seated one of the students led the others in repeating the students’ oath or paying respect to their teachers.
They then sang a song which once again stressed the amount of respect that students in Thailand have for their teachers.
Each class of students had designed and created a beautifully decorated ‘paan’.
A representative from each group then approached the teaching staff, carrying their ‘paan’, and they presented these at the feet of the teachers. They then placed their hands together, chest height, and performed a wai before bowing as low as possible to show respect.
For the watching volunteers this is the first time most had been part of a wai kru ceremony. While most could not imagine the wai kru ceremony taking place in European and North American schools, they all agreed that it would make students respect their teachers more if schools in other countries practiced this ritual.