Bangkok Part II & III

IMG_7457.jpg

Part II:

This time around I took the train from Chachoengsao to Bangkok to attempt to bypass the traffic I’d inevitably run into on the highway on a Friday evening. The train was moving very…let’s say…leisurely but it’s very old so it most likely can’t run any faster. All the windows are left open with just a few ceiling fans to cool the passengers. It was fairly crowded but it only costs 13 baht so you can’t find anything cheaper. The view was pretty interesting since in between the cities is mostly rural area and some very poor living conditions.

19225736_10213572753539219_3784562039528483883_n

I had to then transfer to the BTS to get to the hostel. It was located near Silom road. I tried Thailand tacos at Sunrise Tacos. It was average and pretty pricey since you’re mostly paying for the comfort of the food and not the actual quality of it. However, they did have endless tortilla chips with about 8 different salsas.

19225880_10213572754339239_3896988175218122950_n.jpg

The next day I visited Siam Center, which is a huge mall with stores as upscale as Balenciaga and Dolce & Gabbana but also included more affordable options such as H&M and Uniqlo. It had 6 stories of shops so it was easy to spend the better part of a day inside especially when I found a bookstore with a big selection of English books!

Part III:

img_7561.jpg

This time around I stayed near Khao San Road, which I had read is very backpacker heavy. It turns out it is even more of a tourist trap than I had expected. It was very much a party area which is alright if that’s what you’re looking for but even so it was overcrowded, overpriced and overrated. It just so happens anyway that I am on a little break from drinking so this was truly the worst place to go during sober times.

IMG_7564

I don’t look very happy here but I am! I bought this cool shirt from a street vendor

I stayed on the street parallel to Khao San thinking it would be a bit more quiet like the reviews online suggested but instead ended up unwillingly staying up until about 4am due to bars blasting music and extremely thin hostel windows.

img_7557.jpg

As much as I love Thai food, I eat it everyday for every meal here in Chachoengsao so when I go to Bangkok I like to order things I can’t get where I live. I ate a Greek salad, which was delicious by all means but also triple the price I usually pay for a meal. The worst part about this was all the salesmen who would not stop pestering me while I’m trying to enjoy my meal. They continuously offered scorpions on a stick, handmade bracelets, fidget spinners and more while I tried to wave them away with a mouthful full of salad.

IMG_7560

The best part of the trip was actually breakfast because I found a place with American breakfast and it was really refreshing. (Until another salesman came up and I had to ask him if he wants me to try to sell him sunglasses during his breakfast haha).

Advertisements

Wai Kru/Teacher’s Day

IMG_7374

A few of us blinked at the wrong time unfortunately.

Excerpt from Asia Pacific International University’s website(http://www.apiu.edu/2016-news/wai-kru-day-in-appreciation-of-all-teachers-mentors) :

“Teacher’s Day around the world is celebrated in honor of teachers. Unique to Thailand, Wai Kru Day, or Teacher’s Day, celebrates and honors not only teachers in the classroom but all who contribute to sharing wisdom including parents, religious leaders, relatives, and friends. Celebrated on the first Thursday at the start of every academic year, Wai Kru Day is marked by the giving of “paan” and flower garlands in honor of educators. Wai Kru is an integral part of Thai culture and fosters a deep appreciation for wisdom and education within the cultural traditions of Thailand.”

IMG_7376

 

At the school I teach at, each grade had their own Teacher’s Day assembly. Since I teach Kindergarten, I attended the ceremony for pre-K through K2. We had a rehearsal for this occasion a few days before so the students would know what’s expected of them.

IMG_7377

 

I sat on the stage with both American and Thai teachers while the students sang some songs. Then each class would have 2 students (one boy and one girl) carry flower arrangements up to the stage and present them to the school’s director. They were each collected and displayed on the stage.

 

All of the speaking at the assembly was in Thai but it was an honor and a fun experience to be apart of even so (especially after only teaching here for a few months so far). The kids seemed to really enjoy it as well. One of my students brought me a handmade flower garland, which I believe her mother made.

Teaching in Thailand Part II

IMG_6501.jpg

We are now on the third week of class. Each week there is a predetermined topic to base lessons around. The first week was “orientation,” the second week was “school,” and the third week is “body parts.” In addition to teaching them English, I also teach English math and English science. When I am not teaching, they are either in Thai class, Thai science class, at the playground, eating lunch or taking a nap. I also teach an art period and a “movement” period (which is basically PE but mostly dancing along to English songs for kids).

IMG_7152

Each week I prepare worksheets, phonics flashcards (for both the letter of the week and for the topic of the week vocabulary), at least one game/activity, several videos to show and an art project. The best part of lesson planning by far is when I get to color a worksheet/picture for an example for the students. I am grateful for the freedom I have within the curriculum to choose what worksheets and other resources I use especially now that I have accessed their English skills. There are actually big differences in knowledge between classes of the same grade here- possibly due to the frequent turnover in teachers at this school.

As the semester moves forward the students are not only improving their English but also becoming more comfortable with me as their teacher and in turn becoming more confident in their speaking. Last week a student was able to communicate to me exactly something that happened between two other students in the class (one pushed the other) and that was a great feeling to share that understanding. There have been a few moments so far where things didn’t go as I planned such as a certain activity not working out as well as I had hoped but the students are so funny and always immediately raising my spirits with their positive energy.

I am learning a lot from the students and hopefully they are learning a lot from me and we’re all having fun doing it so far!

Teaching Kindergarten Part I

IMG_6760.JPG

Here I am with my Co-teachers Ploy and Pou.

I work at a school that has students from pre-k up to 6th grade. I teach a kindergarten class of 33 students. Here they separate kindergarten into K1 and K2 so there are two years of it. I am teaching in the K1 year so they are fresh out of preschool and around 4 or 5 years old. I don’t have much previous experience with kids except for a program I volunteered at as a sophomore in college at my park district. There I was an assistant for an after school program for kindergarteners.

IMG_6759

nap time!

The first big difference here is the language barrier. There is a Thai teacher and a Thai assistant in the classroom with me. The Thai teacher I currently have speaks incredibly good English and helps me understand what the kids are saying sometimes (it’s usually them telling me about toys they have at home which I think is pretty adorable). She also gives them Thai lessons and has helped me get my footing in the classroom and taught me a lot about the routine the kids are used to. The Thai assistant mostly works on discipline with the kids and she is very good at that and keeping them focused.

IMG_6693

Lunch time!

For the last two weeks, I have been working as a part of their summer camp program. There is one half of a week left and then there will be a week and a half off until the actual semester begins. During that time, I will be going on another mini vacation so get ready for a lot of photos and eventually a blog post about it! (That post probably won’t be timely seeing as the semester begins almost immediately once I return). During this camp, I haven’t had to plan very many activities but have been more of an assistant helping out with planned activities, observing and getting to know my students.

IMG_6659

Story time!

When the semester starts, I will be planning all my own worksheets, activities, etc. but there is a set list of topics for each week. The first two weeks just say orientation so those topics are somewhat up to me but the rest of the semester the weekly topics are more specific like shapes and colors, body parts, the five senses, food, etc. Additionally, there is one letter we are supposed to work on each week beginning with A. I am at school from 8am-4pm and when I am not teaching, like during their lunch and naptime, I have office hours to work on classroom plans for the week.

IMG_6704

Play time!

The kids all have “English” nicknames some of which are funny since they’re random English words instead of names (i.e. Nail, Dream, Brownie, Focus) or a lot of the time not even words in English (i.e. Pood Pard, Cha-aim, Taff). It’s been a nice introduction to the school during this camp. I have learned that we really need to supply our own paper or risk being unprepared for class when the office runs out. I have met around 10 other English teachers at the same school that are from the U.S. and England. It’s also already really easy to see which kids behave during class and which cause a lot of problems in the classroom. I’ve also noticed there are a few kids in my class who need extra help with writing and aren’t used to holding a pencil properly yet, however, most of them can and can write fairly quickly.

IMG_6691

This is a different class I helped out in since they haven’t found a teacher for this class yet.

I’m happy to say I’ve finally learned all of their names and they’ve learned mine as well. I’ve also gotten to practice some explanations so I can improve how I phrase things reminding myself I’m not only speaking to kindergarteners but also in a language they’re not accustomed to. I’ve seen what sorts of activities and videos work with them and what happens when you don’t hold their attention. I’m preparing for a lot of repetition, songs and educational games.

Did I mention how CUTE my class is???????