On Tuesday afternoon I was in my 4th grade class, teaching all about the weather and having students make weather reports for different countries. It was all going very well until the head English teacher at my school came rushing into the room. She asked me to come out into the hallway so I could speak with her. I thought I had done something wrong so I quickly followed. She then explained to me that a spot had opened up in the school for a third grade teacher in the advanced English Program and was wondering if I would want the position. I was relieved that I wasn’t in trouble and said yes immediately! In my new position, I have my own class of 27 third graders, my own air conditioned classroom with a smartboard (!!) and I teach math, science, english, health and art. I loved teaching English but in my new position it is so nice to have my own class that I see for multiple hours everyday instead of visiting over 700 students every week in 15 different classes. It is also really fun teaching all of the different subjects, even though it means quite a bit more lesson planning!
In typical Thai fashion, I was handed a pile of textbooks the night before I was expected to start and not given any information on what the kids have learned so far. So on the first day of school I pulled aside a few of the top students in the class and they were able to show me exactly where their last teacher left off. So far, having my own class has been incredible. I don’t have nearly as many students anymore so I can learn all of their names and help them better because I know their capabilities. Most are very proficient in English, and students know that they are not allowed to speak any Thai in my class so the language barrier is not nearly as big as it had been before. That being said, I still have to make sure my lessons are very visual because I know that most of them don’t understand directions if I just say them. We spend quite a lot of time acting things out everyday… Also, I swear having air conditioning in the classroom makes everyone well behaved, it is life changing!
Outside of the classroom I have been pretty busy as well. Last weekend I went on a long tail boat tour of Phang Nga bay with a few friends. I can honestly say it was one of the most breathtaking places I have ever been. The bay is full of limsetone karsts that jut steeply out of the water. The geology of this area is crazy! But it is also super complicated so I’m not going to explain it….
On our tour we visited the famous James Bond island where “The Man with the Golden Gun” was filmed, went through a few caves and got caught in a bit of a rainstorm. We also visited a Muslim fishing village that is built entirely on a pier attached to one of the karsts. They even have a football field that is built on a pier! There are no cars because it is so small, and it was very crowded. It was cool to visit, but I definitely don’t think I could live there.
The next day we went to the Laying Buddha Temple and got to hang out with some monkeys. These monkeys were very sassy and loved teasing humans. One of them hopped on my friends shoulder, went through her bag and stole her chapstick ball because he thought it was food1 I definitely don’t think something like this would have been allowed back home, these monkeys are fully adapted to humans feeding them now and I doubt that they would be able to survive on their own in the wild. It was fun seeing them up close but I couldn’t help feeling a little bad for them.
All in all, it was a pretty fun week with a few twists thrown in, but I’m starting to understand that this wouldn’t be Thailand if my week wasn’t full of surprises!