A drawing by one of my students... How he knows Spanish, I've no clue. I promise I'm teaching English....
Last week was very busy. I had to give my students midterms, grade them, and then tutor Fay (the girl who lives downstairs) in English everyday. That was quite fun, considering I have 700 students. Now I have a nice weighty pile of papers on my desk. Fortunately, having not seen my students very much this semester, I didn’t make the test too difficult (though you’d have thought so with how poorly some of them did). It was multiple choice which make it a lot easier for me to grade. On the back of their answer sheet, I had each class draw something different…. Example: Draw Teacher Lindsey running away from an erupting volcano. The prompts for these varied, as I made them up spur of the moment. I did receive some very clever drawing which made me smile. I think I’ll make it a regular task on their exams, because I think creativity is a good thing to support. Besides, art has no language.
Just one of the many graffitied buses we took to camp... I don't recall ever having these when I was in school.
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, Devon and I went with the school to Saraburi (about three hours off) for camping with the scouts. I had heard of Thai’s being nice to your face and not so nice behind your back… Well, in our case it was nice to your face and not so nice to your face, just speaking in Thai so you can’t understand. For the most part, everyone was happy we had come except for this one lady at the school. We aren’t quite sure what got her in such a fuss, but she was not too pleased. We did have a really nice time, though! It was very similar to camps back home, except they’re what America would deem a bit “inappropriate” in some areas. Devon and I got quite a kick out of it. Here’s a video of said situation…. (NOTE: This was just one documented instance, there were plenty more):
Let’s just throw in a picture of another instance for good measure:
Scout leaders dressing up as women.... clearly...
Tree, Starfish and Flower walk the line.
Devon and I were talking it over, and we think that, since we work for a government school, the concept of “scouts” is military based… With exception of the evenings, they spent much of the days doing very structured and disciplined activities. Students were to stand at attention, salute, at ease and whatever else they were yelling for them to do in Thai. They did have a “mountain” which was for “hiking”… Someone didn’t do a very good job distinguishing between “mountain” and “hill”, though, because there definitely was no mountain. On this hill were various obstacles, none of which would meet the safety standards of America–especially when students are tightroping and teachers come up and shake the ropes for them to fall (about 2 metres) to the ground. Devon and I, along with another Thai teacher (Tree- pronounced “d-ree”), decided we wanted to do a ropes course… Sans harness…. with only spiderweb-like ropes and what looks like fish netting between us and the ground. It was quite fun, though I’d be hesitant to do it with the boyscouts.. They’ve learned from their Thai teachers and like to shake each other off the line.
Here are a couple more pictures taken at the camp:
Nurses climbing on TOP of the monkey bars.
Boyscouts and Nurses waiting.
Nurses (left) and Girlscouts (right) at assembly.
The camp was very nice, and there was certainly no shortage of food. I have decided I prefer when people just give me food, rather than me deciding what I want to eat (lately, I’ve succumbed to a life of grilled cheese and sliced apples with peanut butter…. how elementary of me, but oh so delicious). They had these delicious puff pastries filled with either fruit, peanuts or chicken for only 5 Baht. We took advantage of this deal quite often.
Since Devon and I went with the M3 students, they took a detour to visit Ayutthaya on the way back to school. Ayutthaya used to be the capital of Thailand before they moved it to Bangkok. On the way there, the bus pulled over for a short 15 minutes so students could buy “souvenirs”. And by this I of course mean they were buying food, beer and wine coolers. Yep, you read that right… My 15 year old students were stocking up on alcohol. So, of course, Devon and I had no reservations about buying a bottle of Thai wine to try. What’s a couple 22 year olds buying one bottle to share vs. 400 15 year olds buying 4 or 5 bottles each. And I know some of them were cracking them open on the bus. Oh, Thailand. I’m always entertained.
Once we got to Ayutthaya, we stopped for lunch and a visit at Wat Yai Chai Mongkol. Since Devon and I were wearing normal clothes, and everyone else from our school was wearing their scout uniforms, we did not look like we went along with them at all. To every other falang there, we just looked like your average tourists… until the inevitable “TEACHAAAA!” was screamed from afar. At one point, we were taking pictures of our students, and a lady came up beside us and started taking pictures of them with her camera. You can’t blame her, for all she knew she was doing the same thing as we were… just taking pictures of the random group of boyscouts.
At Wat Yai Chai Mongkol with my M3 boyscouts... Picture posing Fonzy style.
Wat Yai Chai Mongkol in Ayutthaya
So that was our trip–in a nutshell, of course.
This next week, I’ll be doing more testing with my students. Unfortunately, they don’t know they’re having their final this coming week. They don’t know, because I didn’t know until Friday that I would have to give it to them. That’s how it works here… Nobody really knows anything until last minute. So, hopefully they will do well… We shall see.
My mom and Dave get here in exactly one week! I’m very excited… I wish I could travel around with them, but unfortunately I’m only going to be able to see them on the weekends with my work schedule. No worries, though! We will make the most of every minute.
And just in case you were wondering… This is how you spell my Thai nickname, Leelawadee:
Thanks for reading… I miss you all! ‘Til next time! xx