21: Meet the parents

The end of another busy week culminated on Friday when I was finally enlightened as to what the near future holds for me. With Jindaratana closing for the summer, and this being a pilot scheme, I think King’s College were at a bit of a loss as to what exactly to do with Sarah and I for the two months of the school summer holidays. I have been more than a little curious about this myself.

The decision is that we will go back to Bangkok and work in the Emporium branch of King’s College, a completely different area to where we spent out first month in Thailand. We will teach in the summer school programme which means teaching children (again!) aged 7-12 a mixture of academic English learning, handy craft type work, and fun and games. After three weeks we will move to Khorat (the second largest city in Thailand) and work for one week teaching at King’s College summer camp. This is held in a mock American West theme park and we are expected to ride horses, shoot rifles and work out the intricacies of the bow and arrow. I’ll have to visit the market and pick up some classic spaghetti western DVDs first: “Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya? Punk!”

Saturday was my first experience of a Thai parents evening, in preparation I sorted all the student’s portfolios and made several displays. The parents sat through a two and a half hour meeting with the school principle before they were told they could look around. This resulted in a 10 minute crazy rush of people coming into my classroom. Not many of them could speak any English but all of them were curious to meet me and find out where their extra money for English lessons is going. I have no idea whether they were pleased or upset with their son’s/daughter’s progress, what I do know is that they found their 15 minutes in the TEFL classroom highly amusing!

I’m glad to actually know what’s going on after weeks of wondering. It’s a bit annoying having to pack everything up again (the fourth time since moving here) and I was just getting used to the apartment. However, in many ways I am looking forward to the month ahead. For one, it will give me a chance to further explore the City of Angles, to try and gain a better understanding of the sprawling furnace that is the centre of all things political and economic in Thailand. Bangkok is the most unique of cities, a thriving entity juxtaposition, you can see a monk praying at an age old Wat, reflected in the tinted windows of a 30 floor commercial sky scraper.

It’s not only living in the city for a short while that I’m looking forward to. Working with a team of experienced native English speakers again for a while will be good to freshen up my ideas a little and share teaching techniques etc. In LopBuri it is easy to become cocooned and latterly this may have caused my teaching to stagnate a little, some new activities and games may make my lessons more enjoyable for the children.

My teaching at Jindaratana has effectively finished for 5 weeks now. All next week the students will be taking the King’s College tests so while I do have 300 papers to mark, at least I have no planning or teaching to do! Wee have also been asked to prepare a King’s College show with the primary 5 and primary 3 Jindaratana students which they will perform on March 19th, the last day of term, we have decided on “the three little pigs,” the big finale being an American style rap entitled “Huff Puff Houses.” Perhaps I’ll discover Thailand’s answer to Eminem!


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