19.02.2012 - 26.02.2012 27 °C
SUNDAY 19th FEBRUARY
A quiet day at home in the teacher’s house. Everyone’s away so I was here alone which, actually, is rather nice. I have the windows open and through the open door I can see anybody approaching along the track to the house.
MONDAY 20th FEBRUARY
This morning I went with 3 other teachers to Ban Hat Sai Moon School, a primary school, to promote my school to the 12 y.o. students there who will be leaving their school at the end of this term and may decide to come to Sao Moon to join M1. The problem is with these presentations is that since every local school is virtually the same in terms of facilities and sport etc that it is very hard to make out that Sai Moon is special in some way. One of the very few differences is me, and Mr Jasper. This afternoon we went to Phi Mun school, another nearby primary school and gave the same presentation.
TUESDAY 21st FEBRUARY
This morning we went to two schools in Sai Thong village both of which had a secondary element as well as a full primary school. At both schools we did the same presentation and handed out the same leaflets as at the other schools which Mr Pong had artfully prepared and printed. It remains to be seen if this year’s recruiting drive will be more successful than last year.
One of the schools had an impressive display all about ASEAN, the Association of South East Asian Nations the full implementation of which takes place in 2015 when Thailand will be in direct competition with other SE Asian countries for jobs and skills and English speakers. It is for this reason that more effort is being put towards the learning of English.
With the end of term approaching M6 are busy getting their Friendship Books written. I have not come across these books before but they are slim hardcover books with pre-printed theme pages. The idea is that before leaving school all your classmates fill out a page of memories which you will cherish in later life. Thais are very good at decorative arts and many of the pages I have seen were very creative and students have gone to a lot of trouble having dozens of photos of themselves and their classmates printed then artfully cropping them and sticking them creatively on their page.
One of the things that Thais have in common with other Asian countries is the desire to take endless photos of themselves. No matter how many they already have it is never enough.
WEDNESDAY 22nd FEBRUARY
Another very hot day. It starts off nice and cool but soon hots up and by mid-afternoon it is very hot and sticky.
It is getting difficult to know what to do with M6 in class as they will be leaving Sai Moon in 2-3 weeks and they are not really interested in learning anything more. The Thai teachers have the same problem. With this in mind, when I was in Bangkok I bought a DVD of Schindler’s List and Mr Jasper and I showed it to M6 this afternoon. Thai students learn nothing about foreign history and precious little, apart from some acts about the royal family, of Thai history. We showed the film in the library where there is an overhead projector but we will have to finish it off next week. It is a long film and we had a double for the film leaving about an hour or so for next week.
At the instigation of the Director, Mr Jasper and I have to give students some vocabulary every morning at assembly, starting tomorrow morning. We found an old 2x3ft whiteboard and cleaned it up and will use it to display the vocab. Tomorrow the words are weather related: weather, season, hot, cold, wet.
The Director has started practicing his golf swings on the football pitch during the last couple of hours of daylight before duck around 6.30pm. All the live-in teachers joined him there for a few beers and a chat which made for a pleasant evening.
I took the opportunity to remind the Director that when he confirmed to me that on March 9th the school would close I went ahead and started making bookings for the summer holiday. Since then, however, it turns out that the school will not close on March 9th after all because on Monday, March 12th, Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 14th all the students will be in school doing their Final Test which I am busy writing now. Luckily, Mr Jasper will still be here and will be able to mark the papers.
THURSDAY 23rd FEBRUARY
This morning, like every morning, I have about thirty minutes on the internet before going to school and morning assembly. One of the websites I usually check is for Thai news in the press. An item this morning was about some parents being up in arms about a question in the M6 O-Net Health Education exam. The question asked students ‘If you have a sexual urge what should you do ?’ The answer choices were: a) Ask friends if you can play football together; b) Consult family members; c) Try to sleep; d) Go out with a friend of the opposite sex; or e) Invite a close friend to watch a movie together.
What was being criticised was that whatever the answer might be, it is only an opinion, not a fact. The organisation that oversees and writes exams in Thailand is NIETS, the National Institute of Education Testing Service and the head of the service had to call a press conference to explain that the correct answer is......oh, but that that would spoil the fun.....what do you think ???????
The new vocabulary board seems to work ok. This morning Mr Jasper and I held the board while he translated the words into Thai and I said them in English. From tomorrow a student will speak the vocab.
The Director is very keen that M6 and M3 do well in their O-Net exams. Last weekend M6 took their exam and later told me they had found it difficult. M3 take their exam in just over a week so Mr Jasper and I are devoting each M3 class to familiarising them with the different types of questions and giving them practice.
The outlook isn’t good though. Mr Jasper can speak Thai and even though he explains the question and translates the four answer choices many students still pick the wrong answer.
Mr Jasper left it too late to pick and brief a student for the vocab reading tomorrow so we went round to her house after school to give her the words and explain them to her and practice her pronunciation.
Afterwards, I went with Mr Jasper and two students into Kranuan for dinner at a barbecue buffet restaurant. At this time of year many M3 and M6 classes from different schools are to be seen at all the buffet restaurants in town, and for that matter all over Thailand, as they celebrate a very important step in their lives. For M6, they are leaving school and loving on to university or college; for M3, they can leave school with a certificate if they so choose or they can stay at Sai Moon and move up to M4.
FRIDAY 24th FEBRUARY
The vocabulary announcement at assembly went ok though the M2 student doing it was very nervous but her good effort earned her the 100 baht I offered yesterday evening.
SATURDAY 25th FEBRUARY
I had the house to myself all day which was nice. I went into Kranuan as usual and had a very nice pork schnitzel, I suppose you would call it, with a potato salad and a small green salad. Delicious!!
Today was some kind of special day though I have yet to ascertain what it was about but the effect was that many families went down to the lake just outside Sai Moon village to fish. I didn’t go there myself but I did see it from the road on my way to Kranuan. Despite the heat, everyone was covered head to toe with jackets and suchlike to avoid any suntan. I don’t know why the lake isn’t used more often for recreation. There is a better lake the other side of the village that has much more recreational potential though it’s unused.
This evening I was invited to eat with the family of one of the female M6 students, her name is On, and two other M6 students, at the family home in a nearby village. It was a pleasant evening and it was nice to get asked.
SUNDAY 26th FEBRUARY
I went into Kranuan again today and met up with Mr Jasper there as he was on his way back from Chumpae, a town about 2 hours away by car. We had lunch at my new favourite restaurant which we both enjoyed.
I have promised to treat M6 to dinner as their leaving Sai Moon party next Friday. I am taking them to the same private room at the same restaurant where the Director organised my birthday party last year. The advantages are several: it is not a buffet restaurant; it is a private room and there is a karaoke facility which they love so they can sing their hearts out and no one will be disturbed!! It is also half the distance to Kranuan, so a lot nearer Sai Moon. Another plus is that they have never been there before and on the way back to Sai Moon Mr Jasper and I called in at the restaurant to book the private room and make arrangements with the owner.