Posts Tagged With: Hat Yai

Science Week 3

This was a couple of weeks ago now, but I’ve been hectic since and this is the first chance ive had to upload photos and write! Science week was at the end of August. As I knew this was the last one i would be doing with the students I wanted to make it special and put lots of effort into thinking of things the student could make, rather than watch me at the front demonstrating something to them and thats how I decided on these experiments.

 

My year 4s learnt how to make Hoop Gliders. They fly better than a paper aeroplane and are really simple to make. I thought the students would be super quick making them so that we could spend the rest of the lesson outside throwing them and hitting targets. But no, there were 3 strips of card and the students took most of the lesson decorating the card. All you need is 3 strips of card (5 inches long, 1 inch wide) a straw, and tape. Curl one bit of card into a small circle and tape it. Make the other two into a big circle and tape it. Then tape the small hoop at the bottom of the straw, and the bigger at the top of the straw. Voila, you have a hoop glider. It takes about 5 minutes to make unless you want to decorate or unless the students struggle putting tape on (some of mine did!)

 

Here are the picture of my classes throwing the gliders at me!

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My Pratom 5s had more of an activity week rather than strictly science but the activities i followed were in a science book! For the first lesson the students made a guitar from a shoe box, old pens and elastic bands. It was super easy and taught them about high or low pitch, depending what size pen was used. For the second lesson they made a basic harmonica. All you need is more straws, card and double sided tape. They put the tape on the card then lined up all the straws and then cut the bottom diagonally so that when you blow into the straw different pitched sounds can be heard. I had a fantastic eureka moment with one class who finished early. So i made them put all the harmonicas the same way round and had them copy my tune. At the end i made them put all the tunes together and we made a sort of melody. I think its possibly the first time teaching that every single student knew what to do and did it in time. It felt fantastic! Didn’t sound half bad either…

 

Was too busy making melodies to take photos so here is a drawing instead.

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For the year 6s they were instructed to make mini water turbines in groups. This was not simple to make and needed a lot of stationary and parts! Including; big water bottle, 6 screw top lids from bottles, a heated glue gun, 2 discs of plastic, a knife, 30cm wire and strong waterproof tape. Also a bucket for the water to run into.

 

The students started by giving the disks of plastic and the lids to to the teachers who put hot glue on, then they were able to set them out they way they wanted to make a functioning wheel. A pin was then used to make a hole to thread the wire through. The wire was then bent to hold the wheel in place and taped to the bottle. A knife was used to make a hole in the bottle for water to pour through.

 

Some of the experiments worked and some didn’t. It was better if the hole was lower because then the water had more pressure on it and would come out faster and hit the wheel stronger and turn it. Most students had to keep the water flowing from the tap to get it to work correctly and a few broke the wheels. I also gave them the option of making the plastic disks smaller. These worked better as the less weight meant it was easier to turn with little water falling onto it.

 

Once again didn’t get a photo so here’s another drawing.

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10,000 Monks in Hat Yai

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This ceremony takes place every year in Hat Yai, when 10,000 monks from 10 Asian countries come to visit to collect Alms from people and practice Buddhism. It was the first time in Hat Yai (that I have experienced)  commentary not only in Thai but English and Malay too, emphasising what an international event this was.

It was held on Sunday 18th August on Sai 3 road in the centre of Hat Yai, which was closed to traffic all morning. It is advertised as starting at 6am, but we got there at about 7am and the procession of Monks start walking down the lines around 8am. However if you go next year, go early and you’ll get a good spot near the front. We were lucky and were able to sit on the floor very close to the procession.

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Photos above taken from http://www.dmc.tv

The reason for giving alms is for merit making in the Buddhist religion. (I’m not an expert, but I believe this allows for better karma in future lives.)

[Below is adapted from http://www.dmc.tv/pages/en_news/morning-alms-round-Hat-Yai-2013.html] 

Here are the rules to follow;

  1. Wear white, or at least a white shirt. You will look stupid and stand out if you don’t, everyone is in white, except the Monks in orange.
  2. Offer only dried food and make sure packs of rice are sealed.
  3. Don’t donate money straight to the Monk, but give it in at the stations around, where it can be kept safe.
  4. Be respectful, let the people in front of you offer their alms first, then move back to let others through once you have placed your Alm in the Monks bowl.
  5. Have happy thoughts when giving the Alms.

 

The reasons people offer Alms to the Monks;

 

  1. You will live a long life with nice skin and be happy and healthy.
  2. You will be rich and prosperous.
  3. You will be reborn into a Buddhist country in your next life.
  4. You will attain Dhamma easily.

 

I’m not Buddhist so I went to see lots of Monks and be part of the traditions and do my good deed of the day by offering Alms. It was funny, I was so interested in the Monks, as they walked along before the alms were offered I found myself taking many photos, and in some cases the Monks were just as intrigued with me, a farang (foreigner.) I saw 2 monks walking along taking photos of me too, one with an iphone and another on camera, but i think he was recording the crowd in general. I think the pictures explain more than words can but for me it was great to be part of something so nice, and worth getting up early for!

My photos; Rowenna, myself and Linda waiting for the Monks to arrive.

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The start, all the Monks walking to line up!

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Older Monks.. see he’s taking a photo of me!

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Young Monks

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The End; the Monks receiving the Alms, which the Cadet boys then rounded up and put into big trucks to help feed the poor.

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Categories: Exploring Thailand, Festivals | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sports Day at Srisawangvong School

Sports day here is a big deal and though the sports are important, it’s also the procession and opening ceremony that are exciting to watch too.

During the week, since I work at a private school, no English lessons were cancelled (Many other schools, mainly local ones, closed for 2 or 3 days for sports day preparations.) However students were constantly taken out of my lessons to run races, sew costumes together and learn dances.

Sports Day at Srisawangvong School was held on a Saturday and we were told to be at school for 7.30am. I was a bit disgruntled at having to be up so early on my day off until I got there and realised most of the students had been told earlier times than us and had probably been up since 4am having makeup, hair and costumes done! DSCN8423

 

When we arrived at school the students were being put into order of the convoy that would be walking from the school to the stadium that was about a 20 minute walk away. Bearing in mind it was 8am by this time, it was already boiling hot and most of the girls had such elaborate costumes on with high heels and some batton twirling that this was not an easy task. Also the parade was very long, with all the students involved and teachers and parents too.

 

The 4 school team colours were purple, orange, green and pink. Bright colours and to me the school looked like a walking packet of skittles. Students had been creative and made costumes and banners and flags and posters relating to their teams. So for example team Green held up banners promoting recycling and the girls were dressed up with huge peacock feather head dresses.

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Many of the boys were in the band at the front who drummed the beat that everyone marched along to whilst policemen shut off half the road so it was safe for everyone to join in with the parade. The English teachers were asked to join the end of the parade, and whilst some did I got on my scooter and went round to the stadium so I could catch everyone coming in.

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When the parade got to the stadium they marched around the track then onto the field, where they stood for over an hour as the Opening ceremony began. Everyone rose as the Kings anthem played and the Thai flag was put up. Then the Mayor of Hat Yai did a speech and one of my students ran round the track with a lit baton and set the huge bowl at the top of the stadium alight. It was honestly like a mini Olympics! Unfortunately 2 hours or more in the heat with no water was too much for some of the students and 6 of them fainted throughout the opening and were taken to Medic room. Following this the Anubans (nursery students) took over the field and did a dance with ASEAN flags, that was just adorable, and then all the Pratoms (Primary) children did a dance too, which was also great! DSCN8500

 

After the Opening ceremony finished the students made their way to the seats so they could sit in their colours, once again drumming and singing began as they got excited for the races and prize givings, willing their teams to win. Also there were cheerleaders for the teams all dressed up and doing dance routines too. It was very festive and energetic.

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Finally at about 10am the games began, starting with a sack relay race, as students passed the sack to their parents and then the teachers. I think team Purple won this one and there was a long time spent giving out medals and posing on the podium.

Shortly after this we left as by this time the heat was crazy and my face was already burnt red but it was a fabulous colourful morning!

 

Photos of the parade below;

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Photos of the Cheerleaders below;
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Categories: Teaching Thailand- Private School | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ko Yo Photo Essay

Ko Yo is a sleepy little fishing island about 40km from Hat Yai. To reach it you must drive over the longest concrete bridge in Thailand at 2.6km. The oddest thing about the island are the many houses on stilts out in the sea. These are mainly restaurants (famous for they’re fresh just-caught-this-morning seafood) and homestays. Wooden (wobbly and creaking) platforms lead the way across the water, past fisherman nets and boats to the little homes.

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We met some locals who were waiting for the fish to come in, so we sat with them awhile and had an ice cream then wandered round the island. Some of the homestays are adorable looking and painted in bright colours and others look like they are about to collapse but I think that was the charm of this village.

As Karen is leaving Thailand we wanted to see more and her Thai friend offered to drive and show us this island so I used it as a way to practice photography that I haven’t done in a long time!

House on stilts

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Fisherman with fish

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Weighing the catch

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Loading the fish into the truck

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Nets for fishing

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Wooden walkway

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View from land

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Abandoned boat

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Boat repair shop

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Scenery!

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Me being silly with a net, but behind you can see the colourful home stays!

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Science week 2

Another month has flown by already and I’ve just finished my second Science week. I toned down the craziness for this month but we still had fun and the students were still excited!

 

My Pratom 6’s are away in Malaysia at an English camp this week, so I’ve had 8 less hours to teach which was nice! It also means I only had to prepare science week lessons for years 4 and 5.

 

Since Pratom 4 have just finished a topic on food, I decided to go with that theme and we did taste testing and locating taste buds. For the first lesson I taught them other adjectives to describe food ( At the moment it’s mainly delicious, or occasionally tasty.) So I taught them creamy, minty, fruity, greasy, bland, salty, sweet, sour, bitter and spicy. Then as a class they thought of foods to go in each column.

 

Each class ran the same way so for the day of testing I got the students to run through the list again, just putting hands up and shouting out answers, then picked a volunteer. He/She had to test 3 different liquids and describe them to me. Before I started I checked they weren’t allergic to anything nor minded having a blindfold on.

 

Then I fed them “creamy” “spicy” and “minty” liquids. This was milk, chillies in water and then toothpaste in water. The students thought it was hilarious when the volunteer had to swallow the spicy mixture, and again when they found out the blue liquid was toothpaste!

The rest of the students then got into groups and were given salty water (water and salt dissolved) Sweet water (water with sugar dissolved) sour water (with lemon juice) and bitter which ended up being strong tea. They were given toothpicks and had to test the water and say what each were, as well as colour in a diagram of tastebuds on the tongue.

 

Here’s the sciency part, or “fun facts” that I didn’t know until I researched the topic! Sweet and salty tastebuds are located on the tip of your tongue. Sour to the sides and bitter at the back. Girls have more tastebuds that boys, and usually there are over 10,000 in your mouth.

 

The kings class jokingly asked me if the salty water was from the sea and I told them yes, that I had collected it that morning from Songkhla. Their little faces were so cute with confusion, trying to work out if I was joking or not. Then a girl asked if there had been oil in it (Earlier this week there was an oil spill that damaged Koh Samet, an island nearish Bangkok, more info here http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/30/thailand-koh-samet-oil-spill-tourism) I told her I scooped it out before they tasted it! I think she realised I was kidding….

 

For the Pratom 5s we focused on eyesight and used a Snellen Chart to test their eyes .(The chart with the letters that get smaller and smaller.) I taught the students how to make their own one on a piece of A4 paper. The first line of letters is 4.5cm tall, second 3.1cm, third 2.2, fourth 1.8cm, fifth 1.3cm, sixth 0.9cm and seventh 0.7cm. I told them they could pick random letters or spell out words, but that the first line should have one lettter, the second two and so on, as well as leaving gaps between the lines. Once measured out they filled in the letters with black markers. I made them swap charts with friends then stand twenty feet away and try to read each others. If they can read the bottom line then they have twenty twenty vision. Most of my students could not read that line, as most people have twenty ten vision. Also students that had glasses on took them off and tried to read it (most got to the second or third line then gave up) then they put them back on and could usually read the rest. Good to know their glasses are working!

 

Also in my kings class one student chose the letter “W T F” to start their Snellen chart with. Bearing in mind he’s 11 and in Thailand I giggled to myself and gave him the benefit of the doubt and walked on, not saying anything. About 2 minutes later though I hear “What the F***” shouted by his friend back at him – so his friend obviously knew what he had written!

My Pratom 6s don’t have science week but starting monday they are learning about the Solar System as a full topic of 3 weeks so this should be interesting.

Didn’t get many photos this week, I was too busy teaching…

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Categories: Teaching - Science Week, Teaching Thailand- Private School | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hat Yai Temples

Since I moved to Hat Yai at the start of June I haven’t really explored the area at all! Henry, my chinese friend who I met in Spain 2 years ago came to visit for my birthday, also decided to stay a while in Hat Yai so I thought it was a good reason to start being a tourist!

One evening we tried to catch the sunset by going on my scooter to Hat Yai Municipal Park, which is along the main scary road but really not far from my place. We ate an early dinner then rushed to get there. Once we reached the park we went up the mountain around windy steep roads until we found the cable car site. We got a bit lost and couldn’t find a good view point, but instead found this 3 headed elephant statue.DSCN8232

After talking/motioning to some Thais they pointed us in the direction of where we wanted to go, and so we continued on our bikes to the viewpoint overlooking Hat Yai city. This is also where a standing gold buddha statue is and a planetarium. It was dark by the time we got there, with just a tiny hint of red in the sky but it was so pretty! It was nice to look at the city and work out where my place is.

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By the time we left it was dark and the hills going back down were pretty steep too, another hairy ride on a scooter whose brakes aren’t the best!

The following evening after school we went to Greenway market, which is also nearby to where I live. It’s a night market that sells clothes, new and secondhand, toys, beauty stuff, sunglasses and jewellery and most things. It also has alto of food stalls at the back and to the right, with plastic chairs and tables to sit. It’s quite well organised so that everyone can get all different foods from the stalls then sit together. I usually get the same thing, a banana shake (25THB, so 50p) and Duck and rice (40THB so 80p) but this time next to the duck lady was a man selling barbecued chicken with satay sauce, toast and salad. I fancied some bread so I got that for 60THB (£1.20 but was 10 pieces of skewered chicken!) and it was the yummiest satay I have ever tasted!

Also at the back to the left are some little stalls that are pop up shop style, and behind these are where the pets are sold. For sale were bunnies in tutus, (not sure if you go the tutu too) baby squirrels, ducklings, tonns of hamsters, kittens, puppies and I’m sure if you wanted anything else she probably would have found it for you! I played with a baby albino hedgehog, after trying ages to pick him up without getting pricked. The prices are pretty low and I’m sure if I were staying in Hat Yai longer I would have taken something home!

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On Saturday we went sightseeing near the big Tesco area. There was a Chinese temple and a big Buddha that we wanted to get close to and we found a whole area that had chinese statues and a cemetery. Henry was able to talk to the Monks there (women aren’t allowed) and found out that there was a university to train as a Monk on the grounds too. Later in the day it was too hot so we went to the cinema to watch Wolverine and get blasted by air con!

Two statues outside the chinese temple

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In the evening 5 of us went to the Sky buffet. It’s in Lee Gardens Plaza at the top, supposedly on the 33rd floor. However when we got there it was under refurbishment so it was moved to the 10th floor. Luckily there were still floor to ceiling windows and we sat near them so we had a good view! It costs 160THB (£3.50) for all you can eat thai buffet, including salad, fruit, rice, different curries etc and coffee and icecream and jelly puddings. The only downside was that there is only water to drink with the meal but everyone still enjoyed themselves!

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Karen with the view!

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Doctors and Nurses

I had a fun class this week where my Year 6s are learning about accidents. I knew my lesson plan would have about 10 mins extra free time in so decided to play a fun game. I put the class into teams where 1 member was a patient and the others were doctors, and they were each given a toilet roll as “bandages.”  As I shouted out body parts the students raced to get the body bandaged and as the game went on I shouted the words quicker and quicker. It was loud but alot of laughter as eventually the ‘patients’ ended up looking like mummies and here are the photos! (Thanks Andrea for the toilet roll bandage idea!)

Look at all their smiling faces!

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I’m pretty sure I said bandage his forehead, not his eye…

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End of lesson and this is what they look like!

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The fingers are not swearing, merely proving they bandaged a finger too!

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Categories: Teaching Thailand- Government School, Teaching Thailand- Private School | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Science Week

Ahhh it’s a been a while since I’ve updated, sorry!! Its because I am busy living in a city, lots to do now! Plus school has been hectic too, not only teaching English (and science) but listening exams, speaking exams, marking books and setting midterm tests too. I guess since the last post I’m pretty much settled in my new place. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the students recently and thanks to Science week their personalities are shining through. My kings class for Year 6 (the cleverest P6/4) are a bunch of actual crazies!! And 4/2 are the cutest, the ones who always want hugs and high 5s!

Science week went really well, I think Teacher Ya and I were as excited as the students for the experiments! For P4 I did the first lesson on secret codes that they had to work out and the second lesson was a secret message made from 100% lemon juice, written on paper with cotton buds. It goes invisible as it dries but when held over a flame (candles) the message appears as the acidic ink burns first. Teacher Ya and I both attempted this before hand and both burnt holes in the paper. The students were super excited to see their messages appear, and we only had one message catch fire out of 120 so that’s pretty good! (The children weren’t allowed near the flames, nor did they attempt to burn the messages either, as its a really fine line to how close you hold the paper to the flame for the message to appear and the risk of it catching fire!!) Some kids wrote lovely messages, such as I love Teacher Zo and Teacher Ya!

I ❤ Teacher Zo

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I Love my Mum.. bless the boys! DSCN7954

Teacher Ya first attempt!

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P4/2 posing!

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Crazy kids and teacher

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His message reads “Teacher Zo is beautiful!” DSCN7949

For P5s I spent the week on optical illusions. The first lesson was based on optical illusion pictures, asking if they could see the old lady or the young lady and how many feet does the elephant picture have, some really famous illusions! Even Ya my assistant had never seen them before and was impressed with them. It was funny to hear the “ahhhhh” sigh of when the students finally got the illusion then explained it to their friends. For the second lesson the students made their own illusions, drawing a picture on one side of a circle card, and another drawing on another circle card, which when put with a string through and twiddled would form one picture (eg a fish bowl on one side, and a fish on the other.)

Here is how to : http://www.pbs.org/parents/fetch/activities/act/act-motionpicture.html

And here is a video showing some of the ideas the students had; http://youtu.be/qrNZBujPbFw   21399_391980187588789_83107114_n

Playing with the left over card!

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For P6s, the students learnt about gravity the first lesson, then the second lesson they were told to bring in boiled eggs (I wanted to use normal eggs but thought boiled would be less messy when they broke) and then made bases and parachutes out of string, cups, card and cotton. We then launched these off of the school building and the students then got to see whose egg survived. There wasn’t much time to do this so even if the egg did survive the students started eating their boiled eggs as soon as the experiment was over! Some students did think outside the box and used 2 parachutes, or added more string, and one group added extra padding to the bottom of the cup, which saved their egg from cracking!

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So my first Science week was a success….yay! Since that was 2 weeks ago now, I have been preparing for Midterm tests (speaking, listening, book work and an actual written exam.) The written exam has been submitted and the students will sit the tests next week.

During the weekends I have been exploring Hat Yai. I was invited to go to the Floating Market just outside of Hat Yai with Karen and the Thai teachers from her school, who took us in an air con car! It was mainly food, being sold in little boatsand you had to lean over, order and the food would be passed to you in a basket on the end of a hook, where you took the food and gave the money back. I had fried chicken, iced tea and samosas! Last weekend I went for  a nice dinner at Gaps Garten, a german place which I think is one of the most expensive restaurants in Hat Yai and it still only cost me the equivalent of £12 for a yummy dinner of duck breast, pan fried garlic potatoes, gravy and 2 glasses of wine!! Also found an Italian/mediterranean restaurant called Basil, which is run by a lovely lady called Smiley, who really looked after us. Her most expensive pizza (italian style in an oven) is still only £6. This weekend I went to Greenway market too, a night market that runs every night from Wednesday – Sunday. Me and my friends were there for 3 hours looking around and still hadn’t seen everything! There’s lots of bargains and very cheap clothes. I got lots of nail wraps as trying to grow my nails and ate a cheap dinner there too and bought a new pair of hello kitty sunglasses. The rest of the time I’ve been at the pool as found a cheap big one I like and got a sort of membership there!

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Karen and I at Gaps

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Floating Market!

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Karen with a Kitten for sale at greenway market (500THB – £10)

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Categories: Teaching - Science Week, Teaching Thailand- Private School | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Swapping small town life for the city!

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I didn’t have any intentions to move town/school and leave my babies and I wasn’t actively looking for a new job. But I do believe everything happens for a reason. The week before last I went to Ao Nang beach, in Krabi, by myself. Since returning from home I was already feeling hemmed in, in Khaochaison and I wanted to do something with the long weekend, so I went away. It was nice and relaxing and whilst there I met a great group of teachers from Hat Yai in the South, about an hour and half from KCS. It made me realise how much I missed having people around, and that if I was being honest with myself I was getting lonely and bored in my small town. I just told myself that the end of term was only 4 months away and that I could stick to it until then.

However something intervened and on Saturday one of the teachers rang me to let me know there was a job going in Hat Yai and to find out if anyone I knew was still looking for a job. A teacher, who had previously lived in Dubai, was struggling to pay her mortgage in the US and so once receiving her pay check had quit the school and moved back to the US. After a brief pause I said I would be interested. I found out lots more about the school and job, and the agency spoke about me and wether I was suitable, and by the afternoon I was offered the job. It was really great news! What was horrible was telling my school goodbye. I thought about telling them a white lie to save face, but in the end I went with the truth, and told them how I love the students, and how the teachers really have been fantastic, but that I was lonely and craving a new challenge. They didn’t like it but I quit, and on sunday my new boss picked me and all my luggage up. Teacher Wa and Mummy Jai came to say goodbye, giving me hugs and making me cry, but Madam was super angry and didn’t say bye to me at all. I felt really bad letting them down, but I decided to be selfish and do this for me…Then I moved into my new apartment in Hat Yai!!

I’m now living on the fourth floor in a place called Bansuan, off of Pekasem road. I’m quite close to most things, and my school is only 15 mins drive on a scooter. I’ve rented a scooter but I’m still a bit nervous on it.. after driving round empty roads, driving on main roads in a city with lights and a tonn of other traffic all beeping and weaving in and out is pretty scary, plus I have no idea where I am going alot! I guess I will learn soon enough though!

Now a bit about my new school. Its called Sriswangvong school, and its a private primary school in the centre. Its very different to Tesaban Khaochaison. For a start the kids are really quite clever. They’ve also been assessed and put into classes relating to their level which helps a lot. The best of the year are put into one class, called Kings class, and these kids are super bright. I asked a Year 5 student yesterday “What do you prefer? Sunshine or Rain?” And his reply was “I prefer sunshine because when it rains there is mud, and I don’t like mud.” I was astounded, think I stood there in shock for a few seconds too long. Wish I could take credit for it, but I’d only just met him..

These clever kids are going to keep me on my toes! Other differences are that there are other foreign teachers, yay! I also have my own Thai assistant, called Ya, who is fab and helps with translating in class. I’m also teaching a lot more. I teach all of Pratom 4,5 and 6. There’s 4 classes in each so 12 classes, but I teach them twice a week so 24 hours. Yes, my workload has doubled! This week was tiring but it’s actually less time at work as once I’ve taught I don’t have to hang around in school, though I will be lesson planning! The last week of every month is also Science week. So I will soon be teaching 6 different science classes. If anyone knows of any good experiments kids will love that don’t blow the classroom up please tell me! I’m looking forward to getting to the know the children properly and having fun with the lessons. I’ve got a curriculum to follow and already have some ideas, now just got to put them in place and get organised. The only thing I’m missing about KCS at the moment are the babies. I never said goodbye, and I wished I could have hugged them (my new kids don’t hug me!) but I know that probably would be more upsetting! I think I will return before I leave Thailand.

On Thursday, after being at the school only 3 days, there was a long assembly for Teachers Day. (Think its Kun Crue in Thai.) Where the students all give flowers to their fave teachers. I wasn’t expecting much, but I actually received some flowers from my students which was cute!

On another note, playing the same “What do you prefer?” game in another class today, I asked a boy if he preferred girls or boys and why. He’s 10 years old and the question mortified him and made the whole class cheer and scream quite enthusiastically in Thai. So that it didn’t mean who they “fancied” I said that I prefer girls because they have pretty hair as an example but that didn’t help this kid. Ya later told me that he’s already beginning his transition into a ladyboy, and because of that if he said girls, the class would call him a liar, but if he said boys the class would go crazy at him admitting the truth anyway. I eventually clicked on to the situation and changed the question, but he later told me when it wasn’t in front of the class that he prefers korean popstars as opposed to Thai ones because they are more handsome, bless him!! I’m sorry for embarrassing you!

I’ve also been busy outside of school! On monday i attended Thai Class, and I’ve been to the cinema with my colleagues to watch Fast and Furious 6, and met my next door neighbour  who is also a teacher, and went shopping with her, and even met new people out at the local thai restaurant!

The babies

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This is what happens when children are told to hold flowers for 3 hours or so.. they get everywhere!

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A Monk blessing us

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P4 students

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P4 students grinning at me! Sky and Kon Kaen

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Categories: Exploring Thailand, Teaching Thailand- Government School, Teaching Thailand- Private School | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Weddings and train journeys

On Thursday night I was invited to the wedding reception of Amp and Dalton in Hat Yai. They are the owners/bosses of Visions, the agency who I am employed through. It was held in a huge ballroom in Lee Garden Plaza, and it was beautiful!! They had planned so well for it, with big blown up photos of the couple together, taken on a professional photo shoot around the south of Thailand. I was intrigued how the reception would go and if it would be typically Thai or a mixture of cultures, as Amp is Thai and Dalton is from Zimbabwe, and there were also lots of English teachers attending. The answer is it was a hybird of all cultures. We arrived at 6pm and were showed to a table in the corner next to the stage, which would later become farang corner, where all the teachers were placed. It was really nice to meet other teachers, and I now have some new friends in Hat Yai, as well as catch up with people I previously knew. The evening started with a big bottle of whiskey and mixers on the round tables, and everyone got stuck in. Then alot of food followed, i think there was a total of 8 courses?! The food was so good, and even though it was Thai style it was nice not to have rice and to try lots of things, and it wasn’t spicy either! First were cocktail sausages in a chinese sauce, then a fish soup, then prawn balls, then mushrooms and fish, then chicken and cashew nuts, then a whole fish, then noodles. And for dessert was rice in coconut sauce. It was yummy and I’m not really doing it justice by saying what it was! As the first courses came out, Dalton and Amp arrived but were outside for a long time posing for photos. She wore a western styled dress that was stunning, and had about 10 bidesmaids (thai women) in a variety of dresses that were all dark blue in colour. I hardly took any photos of the night because everybody had their cameras out constantly but i did get one of the happy couple as they arrived.

 

Amps Mum and various family members provided a running commentary, in Thai and English, as well as singing in Thai as the evening progressed. When Amp and Dalton had finished posing, they were welcomed onto the stage with both families and all the traditional wedding stuff took place. They cut the cake (5 tiers!) and crossed arms to drink champagne, though they didn’t do a first dance. They did prepare a really cute video, in Thai and English, with them telling us how they met and why they love each other, and it was created to be all animated and was really clever and sweet!

Dalton and Amp wedding wedding cake

At 9pm the Thai guests started to leave, and only at this point could Amp and Dalton sit down and enjoy dinner, and relax a while. As the stage was free, the teachers took over, doing Karaoke and dancing, as by that time 2 bottles of whisky had been consumed and kicked in!

By 10pm the hotel staff were trying to clear up around us so it was time to go. As everyone was very merry we decided to head on to The Pubb, a bar around the corner but on the way thought we would provide everyone with entertainment. As we left the hotel the security guard got the shock of his life as we all burst out into song of Grease to him, his face was priceless. There was about 10 of us and we continued to sing outside the hotel on the steps leading down to the main street in Hat Yai, and everybody stopped what they were doing and stared. It was a real glee moment, somebody should have filmed us. At the time it was so much fun but I feel a bit foolish explaining it to you now. It was a really good night! In the tuk tuk on the way back to Nadias house at about 2am I also saw an elephant cross the road too (only in Thailand.)

 

The following day we decided to have another new experience and took the train from Hat Yai back to Khaochaison. Usually we take a mini van because its reliable and has air con. That costs 80baht for 2 hour journey, so £1.60. The train costs 14baht, a whole 30p, also for a 2 hour journey. The train is pretty simple and old, it has wooden benches to sit on, and fans on the ceiling that probably stopped working 10 years ago. When its moving its a bearable heat though as there are big windows for the wind to come through. However for some reason the train was stationary at Hat Yai for over an hour! No reason at all was given, in Thai or English, it just stayed still for a very long time while I actually melted, it was so hot. Also a wierd man decided to stand right next to me. I think he was hoping i would move my bag so he could sit next to me (very squishedly as the seats are quite small) but I wasn’t going to move my stuff when there were plenty of empty seats in the carriage. So he continued to stand up right next to me and stare, and stare and stare. He stayed there for the whole hour we werent moving and then about an hour into the journey he finally got off the train. It was really uncomfortable and at first I tried to smile back thinking he would move on, but no. So I gave up and looked out of the window and ignored him. Two older men were sat nearby looked like they felt sorry for me and kept smiling but the man did not move. I was not impressed as he was standing so close to me he was blocking the fresh air and he smelt bad too, wearing a jumper and a coat in the heat, and the way he was looking me up and down, not even subtle, was freaking me out. I was happy when he left the train. Apart from the wait and the stares it was quite pleasant, it was nice to see a more rural side of the area, and the view were pretty good too!

two old men happy on the train Train journey

Categories: Exploring Thailand, Teaching Thailand- Government School | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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