Posts Tagged With: TEFL
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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;
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…
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!
I’m pretty sure I said bandage his forehead, not his eye…
End of lesson and this is what they look like!
The fingers are not swearing, merely proving they bandaged a finger too!
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!
This is what happens when children are told to hold flowers for 3 hours or so.. they get everywhere!
A Monk blessing us
P4 students grinning at me! Sky and Kon Kaen
So, the reason I had so long off (6 weeks) and didn’t blog as much was because it was the summer holidays here in Thailand (From end of March to middle of May.) I used that time to travel the North of Thailand (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Pai) and experience Thai new Year- Songkran, as well as return to the UK for 3 weeks.
Now I’m back and school classes started again on Wednesday 15th May. Everyone was excited for the new school year (I guess the kids didn’t really do much in the holidays, I don’t think most of them are wealthy enough to have a holiday away from town, so they were probably bored by now of holidays!) And excitement was in the air for all the new students starting Pratom 1. Most of these students has been going to nursery but none had attended “school” before, and had never gone through the whole process that is assembly, so all the parents watched on with concerned faces to make sure their children behaved and didn’t get too upset.
I started school at 7am at the gates, welcoming the students back with “Good Morning” and Wai-ing at them all. The school had prepared a gold archway and a banner that also welcomed the students to the Tesaban Khaochaison School. Assembly took place for over 40 minutes, where the students have to stand in lines according to classes, split boy/girl. For the babies to stand in a straight line seemed difficult, but all the nursery teachers were there to guide them.
After assembly, where it was so hot, and so long, a few of the children actually fainted (3) I went upstairs to receive my new teaching timetable. I was expecting more hours because the old year 6 class was only 1, as we only had 12 students in Pratom 6, but we had 3 classes worth of newbies coming up!
However I actually have less hours. I now only have 12 hours a week teaching time (before it was 13 – this doesn’t sound a lot I know, but I still have to prepare lessons and be in school from 7.30-4ish every day.) The school had decided to shake things up a little, and I’m not convinced its for the best. I’ll explain..
In my school there are 12 normal sized classrooms and 1 smaller classroom. Last term that worked perfectly as there were 12 classes with 40ish pupils and 1 class of 12 pupils. Everyone fit. During last term a new building was being erected in the playground, but this building is still not finished, it doesn’t even have walls yet, so all the new students (3 classes worth) had nowhere to move to. Last term I was told they would have rooms that are spare in the secondary school, (which is just behind our school) so it would just be a short walk to teach the newbies!
However over the summer they came up with a new plan. In year 3,2 and 1 there were 3 classes in each year. They’ve decided to split the 3rd class and merge the students with classes 1 and 2. This means there are now about 60 kids in both classes of years 1,2, and 3.
To me that seems crazy. They also don’t seem to have taken into account students grade levels, and have been mixed randomly (before class 3 were the lower ability, whereas 1 were the highest, so I now have mixed highest and lowest in one class which to me makes no sense at all.) Just to make it more fun they’ve changed the students round in years 4 and 5 too, though no-one has told me why.
Due to all these changes, the year 3 and 2 classes were really hard to teach this week. On one hand I had my fave students (class 2/2, now 3/2) doing brilliantly, filling out the worksheet, and then trying to tell me about their holidays. They wanted my attention so they could tell me about the animals in Songkhla Zoo, which made me smile so much they were so eager, but unfortunately i didn’t have time. With over 60 students, some very low ability, I had to show them how to do each tiny part of the worksheet, where getting them to write their name is an effort, as well as all the students calling “Teacher Teacher” at me to check they are doing it right. Luckily theres no naughty kids in that class, just some people that struggle.
In the other class where there are naughty kids however the whole class was a nightmare. When it came to worksheet time the boys were running around, shouting, ripping other peoples worksheets up etc. The girls really wanted to learn and I felt like such a crap teacher, as i was spending all my time trying to get the boys to sit down and write something, then over the other side someone else would misbehave, then a girl would cry because a boy ripped her work. When theres only 1 teacher to 60 kids its impossible to control them when they’re all hyped up, or give the right amount of attention to the students who deserve it. I tried shouting over the noise but you couldn’t even hear me. I did have some students who persevered and finished, but most had empty screwed up sheets by the end of the lesson. I realise I cannot cope or continue with a class like that, so on Monday morning I will be asking for help. If anyone has any suggestions, please leave a comment!
Luckily my newbies are a joy to teach. Theres 60odd in each class, but both were so well behaved. I think because they had never had a foreign teacher before, or even an English lesson, they were super intrigued by it all. It also helped I had an assistant, and was given a microphone. I feel a bit silly with a microphone i have to say, and I didn’t end up using it as they were so well behaved i didn’t need to raise my voice etc. We played catch with the ball and when they caught it, they stood up and said “My name is…” Such a simple game that was really effective. They all giggle because their throwing skills are not the best, and people miscatch or the ball hits someone by accident (its a soft ball, so no-one gets hurt, it’s just funny.) I then had them do an alphabet worksheet. When they completed this they came up to my desk and received a shiny coloured star sticker. The first girl who finished had the star on her work and literally sat for a full 5 minutes at her desk turning her paper from side to side so the sticker caught the light, with the hugest grin on her face. It was so cute, and this is why I love teaching!
Towards the end of the lessons the littlest students were just standing next to my desk with their stickered worksheets just so they can grin at me, i think they just wanted to be close to me so i practised them telling me their nicknames again in the hope i remember some soon (eek.)
Director Panida and I
Assistant head Teacher Wa
Newbies all behaving and filling in the worksheet
New building not finished and the students doing aerobics during assembly
So for half a year now I’ve been living in Thailand! Eek 🙂
I celebrated yesterday by going out to a Sports evening with all the teachers in my school and workers in the Tesaban (Council) Offices. We left at 4pm and arrived by 5pm at Phattalung, where all the nearby district offices had spent the day and weeks before competing in Volleyball, Football and most importantly tug of war. Tug of war was the most important for Tesaban Khaochaison because we won! Every team paraded around the sports field and track, which took over an hour because some teams had live bands and dancing (some of the dancers were ladyboys, some students.) Then the Mayor of each town was invited to pose for photos with all the teams and introduced. With the opening ceremony finished, it was the final football match, to see who would be the winner. During half time there was a tug of war again, and the women from Khaochaison came first! (Well done girls!) The guys from Khaochaison came second. Everyone was really excited we won so we all went running on the field to congratulate the team.
This week at school is my second to last! Though I’m not actually teaching, as its exam week for all the students. Yesterday I watched films in the office and re-tested a few students during lunch break that failed their English exam. I’ve been told to retest them, and if they fail, I will have to retest them again. And again. And again. Until they miraculously understand and pass! That’s right, in Thailand you can’t fail a student, and they are allowed as many attempts as possible to pass. Needless to say everyone “passed” yesterday. I was pretty much told to let them pass even if they’re not very good, to save me having to keep testing them. So I lowered my expectations and they earned good grades. Even the ones that can’t tell me their names without a lot of prompting and asking in Thai! It’s ridiculous but that’s how it works here.
It is the students’ last week in school too, so I’ve been receiving lots of hugs, and now can’t walk anywhere without at least 5 children trying to hold on my 2 hands. They manage it somehow. Next week I am still in school but just “marking” exams. My exams are speaking so I decide there and then the grades but hey, I’m getting paid so have to be in school, even if it is just to sit in the office and watch movies.
Two weeks ago I escaped the small town with Lee and went to Hat Yai to party! We went straight after school on Friday evening, had a western meal out, then got ready. We found ourselves in a really nice bar called The Pubb, where Thai people were singing live English songs. The women were amazing, singing covers of Adele. We drank alot and towards the end were dancing and singing too, but no one else in the place was that animated so the singers were singing mainly at us. When Gangnam came on, the male singer pulled me up on stage to dance. Slightly embarrassing as Lee chose that moment to go to the Bathroom so I was on my own, and drunk, so I knocked the pole over with the music on. Whoops. Thanks to teaching I’m not a stranger to being on stage in front of lots of people and dancing! When there was a chance I ran back to my seat though. Since we had drunk alot we decided to have a break from ordering more drinks, but the waitress kept coming over with new ones, and we realised someone was buying them for us. It was two malaysian guys who spoke English and no Thai, who thought we looked crazy and they joined us at the next club, Bix where we danced and drank some more! The night was really good and ended up in McDonalds at 4am in the morning trying to soak up the alcohol.
The next day after a fry up we went shopping round town, and I purchased a big travelling back pack for my adventure to Chiang Mai. Also managed to catch up with Kylie, who I did my training with, and her boyfriend Tom, who moved over here recently to also be a TEFL teacher. Spoke to them for ages, and was great to see them. They are staying next term so hope to see more of them! Late Saturday we got a mini van back to Khaochaison.
My visa runs out next week so I also had to go extend it this week. This meant another 2 hour journey to Satun immigration office, where it clearly states in English that the whole process takes only 15 minutes, all over the walls. I was there for 2 hours. This is because not only did I have to get a new visa, but I needed a re-entry permit too, so that I can leave for the UK and come back and still work. Also because I’m leaving soon, I had to get another piece of paper stating to the Government that I will actually be gone before 90 days. After all this was finally completed they gave me back my passport with all the relevant stamps, and I asked them where is my work permit. Cue lots of talking in Thai and nobody telling me what is going on. Eventually I asked them to speak in English and tell me whats happening, I guess they had lost it. Not only did they lose it, but they had given it to a previous customer, a filipino lady by accident. The organisation in these places needs to improve. They apologised and after ringing my agency, came to an arrangement that meant I would receive my work permit back eventually. It arrived yesterday in the post.
At the start of the month my school hosted its Open Exhibition day, where students had the day off lessons and a huge marquee was set up with different subjects and activities. It was a really fun day and I think everyone enjoyed it. During the morning students went to each subject and took part in the activities. I found myself making bookmarks and throwing darts at balloons as well as painting statues (of an elephant, obviously!) In the afternoon there was a competition for best dances, and best “sing a song” (Karaoke) I videoed the best performances but wordpress won’t let me upload the file unless I pay so you’ll have to look it up on facebook!
I also made another video for my Mums 50th Birthday. It was hard being here this week knowing everything was going on at home. It was Mothers day, Mums birthday and her party. I just wanted to be there, I’m ready to go back now. Luckily just over 4 weeks and I will be there. I’m definitely counting down the days! My Year 5/2 class helped me for the birthday message and they were great, and were excited to know the video was being sent to England.
I’m currently at school writing this and I think the other teachers know I’m just going to be watching movies today, they just bought me a bag of popcorn! Ha, even though I miss home, I still love Thailand.