A day in the life of me. Home time!

14.20-15.00pm:  Writing class with 2/16 (International Porgramme) – looking at making predictions which mostly involved writing about Guiness World Records and watching some attempts on the internet.  There are only 3 students in this class – Thursdays are my most varied with classes from 3 to 50 students!

15.00-15.50pm:  Final class of the day with 1/14 (Computer English Programme) doing the same as what I did this morning with 1/15.  Last semester I spent most of my time repeating the same lesson with different classes and although it cuts down on preparation time, it an get a bit boring.

15.50pm:  The final bell goes!

15.50-16.30pm:  More spelling bee training with another student who it turns out isn’t even in the competition but needs to be trained for I’m not sure what reason.  She’s only 12 years old bless her, so I don’t mind helping out, even if she can’t spell that well.

16.30pm:  The school day has finished, and we make our way back home.  Sometimes I have private lessons after school and can carry on until 19.30pm but today I am done already and am free as a bird to do what I please (which will probably be sweet nothing).

Home time!  Bye!

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A day in the life of me. Mid day munchies.

10.00-10.50am: Class 1/14 (Science Maths Ability special programme) lesson on describing personality. Explaining the difference between “What is he like?” and “What does he like?” takes up a lot of my time. The kids get fidgety about 10 mnutes before the bell and I let them run off.

10.50-11.40am: Technically lunch break but not for me. I have another lesson next period which again is not completely prepared. Usually I get stuff done on the weekends but recently I’ve been doing fun things rather than school things but its worth being less prepared for. Created a super game that WILL be amazing, and witnessed three young girls get the cane at the desk next to me.

11.40-12.30pm: Class 1/13 (Mini English Programme) SUPER AMAZING REVIEW GAME involving paper airplanes, points and forfeits. The whole lesson ended with paper airplanes flying everywhere and a close call with Team Chocolate taking the winning position with 110 points.

12.30-14.20pm: Double free period! Finally got to eat and opted for Som Tam salad (my new go-to diet food) washed down with a chai yen (iced tea with CONDENSED milk that surely cancels out my attempt at being mildly healthy). I have 2 back to back lessons after this but I am already prepared for them so I just chill, looking at a pile of books that I should probably mark but won’t.

 

 

A day in the life of me. The morning.

I have decided to throw together a bit of a day in the life of me.

My morning so far…

5.00 am Woken up by barking dogs which then sets off our puppy yapping at nothing until I stick my head out the window and give him a glare. Try to go back to sleep but the cat has figured out that I am up and sits on my head, biting my fingers.

6.00 am First alarm goes off. Silenced and snoozed in nano seconds.

6.00-6.30am Ignore, silence and snooze various alarms.

6.30 am Get out of bed and realise that I have nothing ready to wear because the rain has stopped me getting any washing done for a few days. Mildly panic then walk off in the direction of the toilet, tripping over the cat.

6.45 am Scrape together an extremely creased shirt and a skirt that breaks the school rules as technically it is denim. Attempt to iron shirt but it has developed an anti-iron property that makes it impossible to get all the creases out.

7.00 am Shake Tom until he wakes up.

7.00-7.20am Apply face. No shower – it’s too cold. Wish we had hot water sometimes. No breakfast.

7.20am Leave home.

7.35am Arrive at school after a lazy commute past rubber plantations and herds of buffalo.

7.45am Meet my spelling bee trainees. The one on the right appears to be a mute. This could be difficult.

7.45-8.10am Train the two boys on silent letters, utilizing my amazing skills in mime. I get the impression that the one on the left is wary of my sanity.

8.20am Bell for first lesson goes. I have nothing planned as we are now approaching the end of the semester and I hadn’t quite foreseen this far into the future. Mildly panic then realise speaking tests need to be done. Lightbulb moment!

8.20-9.10am Class with 1/1, the lowest level of the lowest matthayom in the school. Carry out speaking tests that consist of simple Q & A; Where do you come from? What is your nationality? Most popular misspeak is “I am Thailand”. I try to explain that one person cannot be an entire land mass but even my miming skills are not up to it.

9.10-10.00am Free period. Battle with the crappy intrnet to check my facebook. No notifications and nothing new as I already perused it while trying to get back to sleep with a cat on my head biting my fingers. Throw together a quick powerpoint for my next class (honestly, I am really very organised but the end of the semester has somehow appeared from nowhere!).

I am now heading off to my second class, will update later.

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Conversations… frustrations.

Conversation between myself and a Teacher I Barely Know (TIBK) this morning;

TIBK: Teacher Kylieeeeee. I waiting for you every day last week. After school finish.

Me (I wish): Where? Why? Who are you?

Me (the reality): Oh, why? I’m sorry (yes, apologising without knowing what I have allegedly done wrong).

TIBK: Over there (pointing to the building that I don’t teach in, have an office in or even walk through AT ALL throughout the week). For the training for the sa-pelling beeeee.

Me (I wish): OK, number 1: Me worky in this building. Me no go to that building. Number 2: Me training student already in this building, every morning and some afternoons, UNPAID. Already.

Me (the reality): Oh, the spelling bee. Well that’s alright then because I’ve been training with my student here instead. I didn’t know you were holding your own training you wanted me to help you with, sorry (again, apologising without being entirely sure if I have done anything wrong).

TIBK: But who you training?

I tell her the name of the student I have been meeting with every day. EVERY DAY for the past 2 weeks.

TIBK: Oh yes, you training her but she is not in the competition. You training other students with me also.

Me (I wish): WHY AM I TRAINING A GIRL WHO ISN’T EVEN IN THE COMPETITION? WHY? WHY?!!!!!!

Me (the reality): Oh! Well who am I supposed to be training?

TIBK: HAHAHA! (Evidently something is funny here) – I don’t know the names! But they are in Matthayom 3 OK? They are boys.

I don’t teach Matthayom 3 and the provision of only the gender of my trainees does little to shed light on who they are.

TIBK: (Grabbing my schedule from my desk and holding it one inch from her eye) – Ahh OK I can see you have a lot of free time today…

Me (I wish): Well, not really because actually on Wednesdays we are able to go home early UNLIKE EVERY OTHER DAY WHERE WE HAVE TO STAY REGARDLESS OF WHEN OUR LESSONS FINISH.

Me (the reality): Yes, a lot of free time…

TIBK: OK so I tell to them to come to see you. You waiting here (points at my desk) OK? Between 11.00 and end of day OK? No moving.

Me (I wish): Actually I need to EAT, PEE, HAVE A LIFE. Why don’t you tell me their names and I will track them down when it suits me?

Me (the reality): OK, yes I will wait here. Sorry (WHY AM I SO EFFING APOLOGETIC?).

 

Considering this conversation happened immediately after being informed that I will be working when everyone else is going to have the day off because I have to judge another effing competition, I can feel myself reaching towards my contract and inspecting it.  Don’t I work for an agency so I can avoid this bullshit?

We all know that is the me that I wish I could be.  In reality I’m just all like, “Let me bend over backwards while I act as a doormat for your precious feet.”  Damn my kind nature.

 

So let me just let rip here instead.  Apologies.

I’M APOLOGISING AGAIN!

Raaaaaah!

 

7lRoj

Easy come, easy go…

In a month I will pass the one year mark of coming to Thailand.  This time last year I was finishing the last bits that needed doing at my job, frantically trying to make sure that I met up with people one last time to say goodbye and planning far too many leaving parties.

Now we find ourselves preparing to say goodbye once again, but this time to the fellow teachers who will be moving on (some returning home, most starting a new leg on their travels and adventures).  It is great that we have made Western friends in this country but the transient nature of the relationships that are formed means that those friendships will never seem concrete.  It doesn’t mean that some of those people are any less of a friend – in fact some of the people that we have met so far are firmly set within friendships that will hopefully continue across the globe.  Others we will befriend, but always knowing that a few months down the line they will be hopping off to make more temporary friendships, always thinking of the next place they will move to, and the next, and the next.

I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with that.  In the world of TEFL teaching we have the ability to move to many places around the world to do the same job.  And that is the beauty of the job but also its hidden beast.  Some people constantly move from city to city, country to country, and while I am all for exploring the world and gaining new experiences, I think that sometimes you need to give yourself some time to get the feel for a place before you can truly experience it (and before you can bitch about it – but that’s another blog post!).

Take myself for an example.  I left the UK unsure if I would be here for one or two terms.  After a few months of teaching I decided one term would be enough.  I wasn’t unhappy, I was loving the job, but there were doubts niggling in my head.  Am I throwing away my degree?  Have I just cut my career in the UK short?  Why am I taking such a wage cut when I still have debts to pay off?  But I think that these doubts were only part of my settling in.  Once Tom was out here and we got ourselves our house in the village and started to explore more of the local area, I realised that I did want to stay.

Once I decided that I would be staying longer it was like a switch flipped in my head when it came to my teaching.  Suddenly I was able to plan longer term work that had more of an over arching learning aim rather than thinking in little 2 month stretches of time.  Now the time I was using planning and teaching was being invested in something that I would be able to follow through and see the results for myself.

Last weekend I was speaking to a fellow TEFLer who will soon be leaving Thailand on the next leg of her epic adventure (from teacher to tree surgeon in NZ!) and we both agreed that it takes time to start to truly get something out of living somewhere.  It almost takes a whole school term to start to find your feet and feel like you are a real teacher and not an imposter.  To start to forge meaningful relationships with the students which transforms the learning experience into something with real purpose and longevity and breaks the mis-trust that students feel towards foreign teachers, seeing them come and go term to term.

And so as we make our way towards the end of the semester, talk of travels, moving on or moving home are in the air.  No sooner will we have waved them goodbye than we will be welcoming the next load of fresh new teachers.  Some of them will stay, some of them will go.  I will go eventually.  Most of us are only here on a temporary basis, what is important is to make the most of the time you have while you are here before you find yourself at home in the rain, scraping for pennies and thinking of the way things used to be.

And here is one thing that I truly appreciate living in Thailand – just check out the crazy shades of amaze that the sun threw out as she was setting yesterday – B E A UTIFUL.

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