A Travellerspoint blog

November 2012

NOV 12-28th: BREAKING NEWS..RICE CUTTING..LOY KRATHONG++++

sunny 30 °C

FIRST, BREAKING NEWS: I have today (Nov 29th) launched an exciting new school project which I am hoping you would like to be part of. To find out what my project is all about and how you can become involved please visit...

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/277194/x/1761061?show_todos=true

See you there!!

MONDAY 12th NOVEMBER

Another day, another accident. This time it was Mr Chom, the deputy chief of the Or Bor Dor, the admin office located next to the school. Apparently his wife rang him to ask him to return home quickly because there was a snake in the house. He had been drinking and the road home, not far, twisted around sugar cane fields and turning a blind corner he hit another motorbike and tumbled over cracking open his helmetless head on the road. I can’t say I knew him but he was the MC during the recent 5-Day Community Sports Festival back in September and was, according to other teachers, a very decent man.

TUESDAY 13th NOVEMBER

The funeral for Mr Chom was this evening and it followed the pattern of the previous funerals I have been to. It was held at Mr Chom’s house in Ban Det, one of the villages next to Sai Moon and close family were in a room set aside on the ground floor of the house for the coffin, altar and rituals. The other teachers and I first went to this room, knelt, lit an incense stick, held it while offering a prayer, then planted the stick in a sand-filled urn. We then took seats at one of the many tables set up for guests in the open area around the house where awnings had been erected in case of rain. Each table already had a set of glasses and soft drinks for guests of which there were perhaps one hundred there including family.

In due course three monks arrived and the rituals and chanting in the inner room began which went on for quite a while. Once that was over food was brought out but Sai Moon’s table was in the shadow so it was hard to see what sort of food was in the various dished brought to the table along with small plastic bags of sticky rice. There is a photo in the gallery.

WEDNESDAY 14th NOVEMBER

There was a short teacher’s meeting with the Director after assembly this morning when he said we must all concentrate on preparing the M3 and M6 students for the O-Net because our school had low scores last year and the year before. The Director also said that some people from NIETS, the National Institute of Educational Testing Service, which sets the O-Net exams, will come to Sai Moon to show us how to improve test scores.

There was another mix up over my timetable this morning when the version the students have in the register folder had me teaching M4 but my version had a free morning. It turned out that the M4 class had been moved but the class had not been included in my timetable by mistake.

THURSDAY 15th NOVEMBER

The advent of the new timetable means that I have free time the whole of Thursday morning but I kept myself busy working on my laptop.

FRIDAY 16TH NOVEMBER

All this week I have been using the visit by the Thai P.M., Yingluck Shinawatra, to London and her audience with the Queen as the theme for the word and usage sentence I create every weekday for morning assembly. One word from the daily sentence is picked out as the vocabulary word for the day. This week the words have been Relations, Visited, Visiting, Embassy and Audience but the Director, via the Thai English teacher, told me that he wants the vocabulary word and sentence to be very easy.

The problem with this approach is that the Director also stated on Wednesday this week that he wants to see Sai Moon students get better grades in the upcoming O-Net exam for the M3 and M6 classes. That sounds good but the snag is that the O-Net paper includes many difficult words and sentences. For example, last year’s paper included these words: sociologists, immediate, government, renovating, occupying, species, endangered, blanching, enterprises, manslaughter, reckless...and many others. A lot of the senior boys were missing from school today since rice cutting has begun in earnest.

SATURDAY 17th NOVEMBER

It rained this morning for the first time for ages though it has rained locally in other areas not far from Sai Moon.

I went into Kranuan with Mr Jasper to do some shopping and have something to eat about 1pm but found the Pizza restaurant closed for some reason so we had lunch at a roadside stall. On our way back we called in at J.J. Minimart which is owned and run by an English guy and his partner. While we were there we saw the mechanical train used to dig up and churn the road surface laying it down again as the base for a new asphalt topping. A large water bowser headed the three linked vehicles which not only fed water into the second vehicle, a very large mobile generator, but was also hauled it using a metal tow-bar. The generator, in turn, was linked by tow-bar to a tracked vehicle which had powerful grinders to cut into and mince the road surface into fine sand/gravel, scoop up the result and lay it back onto the road surface. Three steamrollers followed and a grader followed them and in the coming days the new asphalt surface will be laid. I just thought it was interesting to see and there was not a traffic cone in sight and cars still passed by both ways.

Also at the J.J. Minimart, we met someone who was at Sai Moon school about ten years ago when, she said, there were more than 300 students at my school and there were double the number of teachers. Apparently, once other nearby schools were opened some years ago our student numbers began to drop and this term we are down to about 116 students.

SUNDAY 18th NOVEMBER

It was a nice sunny day today so a good opportunity to clear my laundry and do some other chores in my room. Otherwise a quiet and peaceful day and nothing much happened.

It is nice and cool in the evenings and first thing in the morning now which is quite nice. There are some coughs going around which the Thais blame on the change on the weather but hasn’t affected me.

MONDAY 19th NOVEMBER

Many of the boys were away today cutting rice for or with their families. At assembly, Mr Noi urged students to help their families at this time and even asked for students to help him cut rice on his far for which he was willing to pay double the above average rate of 300 baht for a day.

I heard today that Scout Camp next year is going to be at Lam Pao which is on the way to Kalasin city and it was here that the centenary of Scouting in Thailand ceremony was held back in September last year. It should be a nice location for the camp as it has many facilities to keep the students busy.

TUESDAY 20th NOVEMBER

I think I may have given you a rather one-sided impression of Sai Moon students when I have complained about this and that. By far the majority of students are keen to learn and don’t misbehave and the students whose misdeeds I have told you about are a very tiny minority.

I heard by chance today that a plan has been made for the new Deputy Director to move into my room. No, no, not sharing it but for me to move to Mr Kay’s room next door which he will vacate. I thought about it but cannot see any advantage for me to move so I am going to propose that the DD goes into Mr Kay’s room himself.

I went to Tesco Lotus in Kham Yai this evening and noticed that Christmas has almost arrived with some decorations strung between the three aisles and a couple of small Christmas trees near the entrance. A few cards and some wrapping paper are on display too. Some of the Thai shops along the street in Kham Yai and elsewhere still have their red and gold Merry Christmas or their Happy New Year banners left in place above the door from last year.

WEDNESDAY 21st NOVEMBER

It was announced today that Sai Moon is to join with two other nearby schools next month in a 16-day training session for M3 and M6 students helping them achieve higher scores in the upcoming O-Net exam in all six subjects including English. Two days are to be devoted to each subject so I hope I will get the chance to see what the specialist teachers will do for English. The event takes place at Dong Mool school which is a few miles from Nong Kung Sri.

Ajarn Tuk told me that she is preparing a new timetable for me which will be the third version this term when it arrives.

THURSDAY 22nd NOVEMBER

The new timetable for me still hasn’t been settled so I continue with the old one.
This morning I went into Kalasin city with Mr Noi as I had the whole morning free. It was a pleasant trip the reason for which was for Mr Noi to deliver a set of documents relating to his daughter’s education attainments to a teacher’s insurance company.

In passing, there are about fourteen different ‘high street’ banks in Thailand and there are two different banks purely for teachers. Amongst other perks, Thai teachers get a discounted loan rates which is how they can afford to buy houses, land, farms and cars.

This evening I joined the Director and Jasper for a beer on the ‘golf course’ (aka part of the school’s football field) and afterwards we went to Huai Mek to the Thai/European restaurant where I had Suki which was very nice.

FRIDAY 23rd NOVEMBER

The Extra English textbooks have arrived. There is a set of three books titled Listening Advantage but, unfortunately, they are useless for the purpose in mind because each lesson is dependent on a CD which is not only missing but even if I had the CD Sai Moon doesn’t have any facility for students to listen to it though I suppose I could use my laptop’s speakers.

Ajarn Tuk is the Academic Department this year so I imagine she ordered the books but without thinking to consult me about which book/s would be most suitable. Luckily, books are generally inexpensive her – the three that were bought were only 100 baht each (about £2) – so no great loss.

SATURDAY 24th NOVEMBER

A nice quiet day today and for a change there were no visitors or interruptions leaving me peace to get my chores done and do some more research online.

I went into Kranuan on my Scoopy today and came across the asphalt-laying machines putting down the new road surface. They were laying one lane while the other unsurfaced lane was being used by the traffic. As before, no cones, no lights, just common sense. On my Scoopy there was enough room for me and a car so there was no problem other than the clouds of stinking smoky steam from the asphalt-layer which I had to pass through holding my breath.

SUNDAY 25th NOVEMBER

I went into Kranuan again today this time in Jasper’s car and we had lunch at the Pizza House though we had Thai food rather than pizzas. The owner came to chat with us and invited us to a Christmas Eve party at the restaurant which we plan to attend.

MONDAY 26th NOVEMBER

After assembly this morning the Director spoke to a group of students that had been gathered together by a couple of the other teachers. It soon became obvious what it was all about as the Director doesn’t normally do this sort of thing. The students were from different classes and all had one thing in common: they were often absent.

The Director told them that they must come to school tomorrow with one of their parents and they must all attend a special meeting tomorrow morning.

TUESDAY 27th NOVEMBER

After assembly this morning the students from yesterday’s group, all boys of course, along with a parent filled the meeting room where they were addressed by the Director, Mr Noi and Ajarn Tuk. The upshot was that the student and parent had to sign an agreement promising good future behaviour. They must attend school, attend class, pay attention to classwork and homework and generally behave well in school. After the parent had left each student was given a single stroke of the came by Mr Kay and off they went to class. It remains to be seen how effective the agreement is.

WEDNESDAY 28th NOVEMBER

It was not only Loy Krathong Day today but also the day Sai Moon paid respect to the Father of Thai Scouting, King Rama VI, who began the movement in 1911.

A final rehearsal took place immediately after assembly and then the ceremony proper began. The students, in their regular scout uniforms, formed up into Girl Guide and Boy Scout groups for the senior and junior halves of the school and the male teachers lined up in front in front of them.

The Buddhist ‘altar’ had been set up at the base of the flagpole and at a given moment two students each brought a floral wreath which was placed on a special stand and the candles were lit by the new Deputy Director who knelt and bowed low in respect to the centrepiece statue of King Rama VI. Then the special Scout anthem was sung and the Deputy Director stepped forward to read the commemoration. The students then doffed their headgear and knelt while they sang something akin to a scouting hymn. A few minutes later it was all over. I took some photos for you which are in my gallery.

Loy Krathong is a different annual ceremony. Loy means ‘to float’ while Krathong refers to the specially made floral ‘boat’ which is floated off to rid oneself of one’s ‘anger, hatreds or defilements’. People sometimes cut their hair or fingernails and add them to the krathong as a symbol of letting go of negative thoughts. Many people also use the ceremony to thank the Goddess of Water.

The event in Sai Moon will be quite low key compared to lavish spectacles in places such as Pattaya and Phuklet where many hundreds of giant paper lanterns are floated off into the sky and where colourful and artfully decorated krathongs are floated off on the waters that often partly surround temples. Loy Krathong is also a time which, according to a Thai survey this month, gives rise to an upsurge in teenage sexual intercourse fuelled by alcohol consumption.

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Posted by talismanic 23:59 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

6th Oct-10th Nov: HOLIDAY..DISASTER..EVICTION..WELCOMINGS++

sunny

SATURDAY 6th OCTOBER

My stay Udon Thani was pleasant enough and apart from the day I arrived it didn’t rain at all. I was able to fully explore Central Plaza, the new shopping mall, which was very interesting.

Before leaving Sai Moon Ajarn Tippakorn, the Thai English teacher, had asked me to help her purchase an air ticket from Bangkok to Udon. This was because she does not have a credit card and cannot make a booking online and as there are no travel agents anywhere near Sai Moon I agreed to help but it involved at lot to to-ing and fro-ing to get prices and it took up a lot of time. Naturally, she wanted the cheapest ticket but she insisted on flying from Suvarnabhumi airport which restricted the choice of airlines to Thai Airways. I could not use a credit card to pay for her flight as she would have had to show the same card at check-in. The only other option was to pay using an ATM.

Although it was a Sunday, unlike the UK, all banks had branches open in Central Plaza and I went to one of them to pay for the flight. ATM machines here have a Thai or English language options but, even so, I was unable to figure out which sub-option to use to pay for the flight so I asked one of the cashiers for help. She very kindly came to the ATM machine and tried to find it but it took repeated guesses pressing different buttons to find the right one. To illustrate the open nature of Thai banks I took a photo for you.

MONDAY 8th OCTOBER

I flew Nok Air to Chiang Mai where I spent the next ten days. As before, I hired a Scoopyi motorbike and zipped around the city and had a very pleasant time but there was a near disaster.

Not a motorbike crash but a computer disaster. My laptop was taking a very long time to boot up and close down and in between it was slow too. So I decided to take it to one of the many shops in the huge IT Centre to see if they could help. After a discussion it became clear that the best option was to reinstall the operating system. I agreed and they said they would save everything for me and that it would take a day.

Next day, I went to the shop to collect my laptop but I quickly discovered that all my photos had disappeared, some 5,000 of them! I tried to stay calm because I knew that to get annoyed would be counter-productive. I tried to convince the staff that my photos must still be on my hard drive and that they could be recovered. I had read newspaper reports and had seen TV news items about how the police could do this and reasoned that these experts could do the same. Somewhat reluctantly they then ran a program to recover the data from the part of my hard drive which had been over-written by the new operating system installation.

It took five days to run the recovery program day and night but I was eventually able to collect my laptop the day before I left Chiang Mai and everything was OK. Well, sort of. The photos have been recovered but most of the date taken info for each photo has been lost along with any captions. Even worse, the recovered photos are not in albums as they were but in one huge file and all missed up together so it will be a huge task and take a long time to sort them out again.

Whilst in Chiang Mai I went to the Saturday evening Walking Street Market. You might recall that on previous trips to Chiang Mai I visited the Sunday Walking Street Market and posted a lot of photos in my gallery. The two markets are not the same and have very different characters and different types of items for sale in all the stalls. I had never been to the Saturday market before so it was very interesting. I took some photos for you to enjoy as well.

As I was walking along with all the other people I came across two boys performing a Gangnam Style dance in the middle of the street. They were having so much fun and they had such big smiles that I just had to take their photo. Take a look in my gallery and you will feel the fun they were having too.

By the way, I hope you are au fait with Gangnam Style...yes or no ????

SUNDAY 18th OCTOBER

I flew from Chiang Mai to Bangkok where I got a cab to take me to Pattaya for the last leg of my holiday. I would never rent a motorbike in Pattaya as there are just too many other crazy people riding them as well as much other traffic. In many ways, Pattaya is not a nice place at all but the upside is that it is close to Jomtien beach which is nice though not one of the best beaches in Thailand.

You might recall that in October last year I was unable to book a room at the guesthouse I usually stay at and was given the use of a condo instead with breakfast included at the guesthouse. The same thing happened this visit and I was happy with the extra space the condo had. On the first morning I went over to the guesthouse for breakfast and found that they had a new member of staff who I had met a year ago in Chiang Mai and we got chatting. He told me he was looking for a room to stay in and that he preferred working at night rather than during the day as now. I gave him some suggestions the next day but unknown to either of us the guesthouse owner was in his office adjoin the breakfast room listening in. Rather than joining the conversation he remained silent and hidden.

Around midday, I was in the condo when there was a knock on the door. I opened it and the guesthouse owner was there. He gave me a sheet of paper saying that I had twenty four hours to vacate the condo. He had overheard my conversation with his staff member, he said, and was upset about it. He then left. I was speechless and felt really annoyed and felt he should be talking to his member of staff about any problems and not me. However, it seemed I had no choice but to find somewhere else to stay.

Luckily, there was another guesthouse not far away which I had stayed in about three years ago. I walked over there and found they had a room free and I got a motorcycle taxi to help ferry my bags to the new place. In the end, everything was fine as far as a room was concerned.

In addition to being evicted I also had a double dose of the runs. Immediately after breakfast at the guesthouse on my first and second day I had to race to the toilet. I took Imodium as instructed but, for the first time, this didn’t work. So for the first two days in Pattaya I felt I had to stay close to the condo and to the toilet!

I am afraid that the guesthouse owner didn’t take into consideration the consequences of his action. He knew I had written a good review of his guesthouse on tripadvisor.com after my previous stays there but my review this time was very negative and I will never stay there again.

SUNDAY 28th OCTOBER

I got a taxi to Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok where I got a flight to Khon Kaen. Jasper had agreed to meet me in his car but, as always with his car, there was a problem which had to be fixed at a garage and I had to wait more than an hour after arriving for him.

When we arrived at the teacher’s house I found that Mr Yor had put a padlock on the kitchen door and had not left a key with anyone so I had no access to the kettle of the fridge which was really annoying. He keeps doing this sort of thing as he thinks for some reason that the house is his and he needn’t think about anyone else.

MONDAY 29th OCTOBER

A few teachers had come to school early to do some admin including Mr Weang and I went with him this evening to play snooker at Kranuan. Today was the start of Khao Pansa, the beginning of the Buddhist Lent, which is an excuse for fireworks and bangers. Most of the locally bought fireworks, probably made in China like so much else here, either fizzle on the ground or produce an ear-splitting bang. A very few, perhaps the more expensive ones though I am not sure, actually rise in the air and produce a starry display.

What locals like to do is to throw a banger into the path of an unsuspecting motorbike rider and wait for a reaction. The key is to be wary and keep calm as this will go on for the next couple of days.

This evening there was a Mor Lam concert in Kham Yai which many locals and students attended. I passed by the site with Mr Weang on our way to Kranuan. There are a number of Mor Lam shows, both large and small, that travel around Isaan mostly but also visit places such as Pattaya and Bangkok where many people from Isaan go to earn money. The concert in Kham Yai was for one night only but the same show will also perform in other villages around the area on succeeding nights.

TUESDAY 30th OCTOBER

For some reason the internet connection via my Air Card was very slow today and many pages didn’t load first time which was also extremely annoying.

Thailand has just had an auction for a 3G network which is mired in controversy. The UK, by comparison, is currently rolling out its own 4G network. Neighbouring countries to Thailand have had 3G for more than a year, including Laos, which gives you some idea of the slow pace of development here.

WEDNESDAY 31st OCTOBER

All the teachers went off to Buakhao School today, almost three hours away by car, to take part in the welcoming ceremony for their new Deputy Director – Sai Moon’s former Deputy. We arrived about midday and the ceremony opened with lunch for us and all 200 or so Buakhao teachers – it is a large school with 3,000 students. One of the Buakhao teachers acted as MC and their school Director gave a speech welcoming everybody as well as their new Deputy who followed with a speech of her own thanking Sai Moon and large floral bouquets were presented to her. The whole thing including lunch lasted about one hour and then we (all the Sai Moon teachers) set off again for Somdet School – which is about one hour back towards Sai Moon – where there was a similar ceremony to say goodbye to their Deputy Director who is moving to Sai Moon.

I went out this evening to get something to eat with Jasper and we had a couple of beers as well. When we got back to the teacher’s house it was about 9.30 and the house was in darkness due to a powercut so I ended up going to bed early.
I don’t know the cause but it persisted all night.

THURSDAY 1st NOVEMBER

The school opened today but only about half the students turned up for assembly whether the others couldn’t be bothered, or forgot, or have decided to stop learning remains to be seen.

There were no classes today anyway. The students spent their time cleaning classrooms and doing other chores.

It is a new term and there’s a new timetable. Ajarn Tippakorn is going to teach Chinese and each class will have one lesson a week. She is also going to have the lion’s share of English classes which will leave me and Jasper with nine lessons per week each which is back to the number I had this time last year which left me with too much free time.

FRIDAY 2nd NOVEMBER

Once again, few students were at assembly and afterwards they were given cleaning tasks to do. Sai Moon’s own welcoming ceremony took place at midday with all the Sai Moon teachers present along with some from Somdet school. The ceremony followed the style of the others last week with lunch, speeches and floral presentations. This time, though, karaoke followed at which point I made my excuses and left. After I packed my bag Jasper took me in his car to Nam Phong where I caught a bus to Udon Thani from where I will go to Vientiane tomorrow to get a new visa stamp in my passport.

SATURDAY 3rd NOVEMBER

As usual, I stayed at the Silver Reef hotel in Udon and had breakfast this morning at the Corner Cafe around the corner from the hotel which is always very nice. I got a motorbike taxi to the rather out-of-the-way bus station for buses to Nong Khai and then a tuk tuk to the immigration office on the Thai side of the Friendship Bridge.

I had a Thai friend with me who had never been to Lao before so we did a short tour around the city by minibus and I took some photos which are in my gallery for you.

It was a very hot day with a clear blue sky which would have been nice except for the sudden agonising pain I got in my stomach mid-morning the like of which I have never had before. When the pain came it lasted for a minute or two and then disappeared but returned at intervals thereafter.

I had a light lunch which was ok and we continued the tour as before. I decided the best thing to do would be to go to a pharmacy back in Udon and chat to the pharmacist since in Thailand they are qualified to dispense advice as well as medicines. Gaviscon was the answer. One liquid sachet (lemon flavour!) did the trick and I purchased a couple of spare sachets just in case of future pains.

SUNDAY 4th NOVEMBER

I did some shopping this morning and managed to find a cushion for my chair in the office back at school which is rock hard and painful to sit on for more than about 15 minutes at a time.

After lunch I got a bus to Nam Phong but, once again, the bus sailed past the stop I wanted to get off at, where Jasper was waiting in his car for me, and I had to call him to come to the next stop to pick me up.

The rice fields around Sai Moon are beginning to turn a nice golden colour and the sugar cane in the many fields is over six feet tall. Rice cutting has already started on some paddies and such workers get a mere 150 baht per day, about £3.

MONDAY 5th NOVEMBER

All the teachers got their new timetables at assembly this morning and as expected I have nine classes a week now but Wednesday and Thursday mornings are now completely free. I am disappointed but I also know that some other teacher/s have lost classes to make space for Ajarn Tippakorn’s Chinese classes.

The new Deputy Director introduced himself to all the students this morning and although I have only spoken to him once briefly he seems a nice person.

I had one class this morning with M2 and I had M6 after lunch. Most of the M6 students were either absent or late which, on the first day of term, was disheartening. I discovered that four of the female students had gone to Khon University this afternoon to take the entrance test though I suspect that they will find the English segment of the test difficult.

You might remember when Mr Kumin joined Sao Moon that I mentioned his heavy whisky drinking background. It turned out that he is a lot better than I had been led to believe. However, he seems to have relapsed into his old drinking ways during the holiday and he has been distinctly odd since I returned to school this time. He is now going into a rehab clinic tomorrow and his classes will be divided between the other teachers which may mean Jasper and I having 2-3 more classes added to our timetable.

TUESDAY 5th NOVEMBER

I imagine that the UK news outlets are having a feeding frenzy with the various abuse allegations as well as the U.S. Election tomorrow. Here, I am mercifully out of the loop though, of course, I can opt in if I want by looking online. I occasionally get the chance to look at one of the two English language newspapers here, the Bangkok Post and The Nation, but their international news coverage is minimal and their focus is mostly on the interminable squabbling between the Pheu Thai party of the government and the Democrats who lost power at the last election. Politicians here spend their time impeaching or filing suits against each other or against any policy they don’t like. Parliament is just a rubber stamp and it probably wouldn’t make much difference if it did not exist.

The US Election does get mentioned of course, as it must do on TV from time to time but as I don’t have a TV I am spared the onslaught. Most Thais and most people in SE Asia, according to a poll, favour Obama. So we’ll see what happens tomorrow.

WEDNESDAY 6th NOVEMBER

There was another power cut this morning though it didn’t last very long. It transpires that our electricity supply comes from Non Kung Sri, about 10km away, which I hadn’t realised before.

I spotted something by the checkout in Tesco Lotus today. It is a small square plastic dispenser containing small globular capsules mounted on a display card. The product name is Nude and is described as a ‘Breath and Belly Mint’ and costs just 5 baht (about 10 pence). I just wondered if you have to be naked to use them ? There’s a photo in my gallery. What do you think ?

Well, the Thais and those polled in SE Asia have got what they wished for with Obama securing another four years. I would have voted for him too had I had one to cast.

Many students were not in school today, especially those coming from Phimun and Ban Det villages, as they are making merit, Bun (pronounced like a short ‘boon’). It seems odd to me that this should take all day and they should miss a day at school, the third day of the new term. I would have thought Buddha would have preferred to give merit to students attending school not having a day off!

THURSDAY 7th NOVEMBER

Ajarn Tuk decided this morning that students should have an oral test every week because, she said, otherwise they will forget. So I suppose that next Friday we’ll have to conduct oral tests for the whole school immediately after assembly.

After school finished there was the first teacher’s meeting of this term which lasted an hour and a half and was better managed than any other recent teacher’s meeting. It has been realised that Mr Kumin needs much more than a quick fix rehab lasting a weekend or so. So the Director has decided to give him one more chance to change his ways and behave in school. If he fails, the Director will report him to the head of education at the Admin Office in Kalasin and he will be sacked.

The Director also stated at the meeting that he now expects all teachers to submit lesson plans and to submit an outline of the curriculum they are teaching. More paperwork! But I can’t see this system lasting more than a week or two.

It was also announced that teachers are to be assessed daily according to a set of about 17 criteria by the Director and Deputy. The criteria include things like being on time, dressing smartly, doing one’s duties (Thai teachers do more than just teach) etc etc.

The Director also told everyone that they must not play cards/gamble in school any more. As they only play when the Director has left school or is away, and as the new Deputy had already joined the other teachers playing cards for small money I can’t see this edict being adhered to at all.

The one thing that wasn’t discussed, of course, is what to do about the students who drift into class late, or don’t attend certain classes at all, or who go to the canteen after class and then drift into the next class very late.

FRIDAY 8th NOVEMBER

I discovered this morning that the apple thief had struck again. I had some apples in the fridge at the teacher’s house which I bought in Udon last weekend and when I opened the fridge this morning I saw the bag had been moved and that there was only one apple left whereas yesterday evening the bag was still almost hidden under another bag, which is where I had left it, with four apples inside. This is not the first time this has happened....so annoying!!

SATURDAY/SUNDAY 9/10th NOVEMBER

A quiet weekend at the teacher’s house with visits to Kranuan and Kham Yai plus the usual chores but with time to relax as well.

I saw on the internet on Sunday that PM Yingluck is to visit the UK this coming week and will meet the PM and have an audience with the Queen. So I have decided to change the theme for the vocabulary board for next week at assembly and create sentences to reflect this upcoming visit.

Posted by talismanic 02:19 Archived in Thailand Comments (2)

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