May Thida Recap!

As quickly as May has come, we’re seeing it pass in the rearview window.  Our first week of school was an abbreviated one–we had last Friday off for Visakha Bucha day.  While I don’t know a lot about the specifics of the holiday, I believe it is one of the holier holidays in Thailand.  I know many restaurants and businesses were closed, including bars last Friday evening.

This week has been our first full week of school.  It was nice to have a short week last week to get back into the flow of our routines, make our class rules, and get back into ‘teacher mode.’  Personally, I felt pretty exhausted from a combination of all the teacher duties and the heat!  May never ceases to amaze when it comes to the weather in Thailand.

We welcome three new teachers to Thida this year (and a fourth to Noonoy school).  Johnny Goss is our MEP 4 teacher hailing from England.  Luckily, he previously had an earlier stint teaching in Thailand, so his learning curve should be easier.  Michelle Harris is also from England and heads our Anuban 3 MEP class.  She also has a background in teaching from her days in South Korea (I’m sure she doesn’t miss those winters!).  Tom Pernecker is the sole American representative of the Thida group.  He is in charge of our MEP 3 level (along with Allie Groll).  All three teachers seem to be acclimating quite well and had a great first week of school.  The first week can be very hectic even after being here for two years previously.  They handled everything professionalism and a great attitude.  I think they’re in store for a great year!

Of course, after the initial week of finding classrooms, getting supplies, and learning one’s way around Thida comes the meat of the schedule.  We just finished writing our May monthly reports and are making preparations to hand in our syllabi in a week’s time.  Luckily, the MEP coordinator has been a great help assisting our team with all our needs–upcoming dates/events, getting us books, keeping us in the know.  It’s amazing how packed the first few weeks of school can be, but it’s imperative to set the tone for the rest of the year!

I think I can collectively speak for the other teachers when I say I’m happy it’s Friday!  A couple of days for rest and relaxation needed!

Fun with Traits!

In order to make learning about heredity and traits traits1more fun for my P3 science class, we decided to do a mini project to help them understand the material better. Each student brought in a picture of themselves with one or both of their parents and had to look at it to identify some traits that they had inherited down the line. Garfield found out she inherited her brown eyes from her mother and father, Pong thinks he got a big nose from his father, and Mew thinks she inherited her hair color from her mother and father. Rather than only using the pictures in the book, my students loved that their families could be incorporated into class. It was great to watch them respond so positively to a project and I am glad they not only learned a lot, but also had fun while doing so! We will definitely be doing more projects throughout the year.

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Back to School

Staying another year at Thida working with Super English was the easiest decision I’ve ever made, followed by the decision to move to Thailand. After 2 months of backpacking throughout Cambodia and Vietnam, I was weirdly excited to be back in Surat teaching my crazy kiddos, even though it meant ditching the backpacker sleep-ins and waking up early once again. The 2+ month vacation that comes with staying another year kids2is the perfect amount of time to relax and come back to work feeling refreshed and ready to help shape young minds. Many teacher/friends from last year decided to stay as well, plus we were joined by some amazing newbies, so it felt great to come back home! I dropped down from teaching  P5 to P3 this year and am loving it so far. P5 was great, but nothing compares to the energy and excitement that comes from my younger students. I am really looking forward to another great year!

 

Vegetarian Meal of the Month

tamAnother school year means I’m back with the monthly vegetarian meals! This month’s find is the “Tamarind Tofu Salad” found at one of my favorite restaurants in Surat Thani, Good Health. Good Health is on the right hand side of Amphur road after you pass “Corner Guy” on your left. This is great as it is very close to the free Super accommodation when you first arrive, but I still make my way there all the way from the bungalows to enjoy this salad among others. As you can see from the picture, they don’t hold back on the fresh veggies. Add in the tofu and tamarind sauce (most delicious sauce I’ve ever tasted) and you have the perfect lunch or dinner for just 60 baht. Enjoy!

Garden Condo

Well, I finally took the plunge.  After what felt like forever, I finally upgraded to a less than year old unit.

The past two years I lived in a good apartment complex close-ish to Thida.  At the end of last school year, I decided I wanted to move into a house.  I found what I thought was going to be my home for the rest of my time in Surat, but it was too much house!  Furnishing a place can be rather pricy and took a good bit of time.  Luckily, I had only purchased a second hand refrigerator and bedset, which I was able to recoup after moving out.

My new place, an apartment at The Garden Condo, is a bit more expensive than I ‘d like per month, but well worth it.  Fully furnished, it’s brand spankin new–couch, flat screen TV, bed (and bedding included), and a dining room table.  It’s got pretty much all I can ask for (well, maybe a washer if I’m being greedy).  Even some of the smaller kitchen appliances came upon move in.

What’s really nice is the feeling of ‘home’ each time I come back.  The main entrance is always well lit and clean.  The complex is less than a year old, so there’s not as many people living there.  The swimming pool is top notch and the fitness center is pretty good for an apartment complex.

There are some other ammenities I haven’t seen put into use quite yet, like the yoga room and conference room, but Garden Condo seems to have it all.  There’s even a good-sized library on premises with tons of novels.  A good place to get some work done instead of staying inside the apartment at night.

Perhaps my only ‘complaint’ is needing the key card to get inside the elevator room as well as to go up or down levels.  That’s probably not a bad thing, however, as the extra security makes me feel good.  I just can never seem to remember I need it when coming home with groceries or home from school!

Overall, I’m pretty excited to be where I am and look forward to calling it home for a long time!

 

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New School Year is Here!

As quickly as last year ended, the first week of school has come and gone.  After a couple of months off in sweaty Surat Thani and a brief trip home to see family, I was ready to get back to school.

Of course, with a new school years comes change.  While I was very happy to see all the smiling young faces on the first day, I was also a bit sad to learn some of my favorite students won’t be in my P5 class this year.  A few moved to Bangkok, one to the Phillipines, a couple to Thida 1, and a couple to the new school on the outskirts of town.  It’s understandable, but I had a nice bond with the class and I’ll miss them.

Currently, my class has downsized to 18 students.  On the plus side, I’m able to give more one on one time to each student and help them as needed.  It’s a lot quieter these days in the room than in previous years, but that’s an easy adjustment!

Week 1 consisted mainly of reviewing and setting up the class for the year.  I think we took care of all the housekeeping items and can now focus on the material moving forward.  It’s amazing how the months fly by and so important to take advantage of the time during the first term!

I’m trying a new seating arrangement thus far and I think the kids like the change of pace.  In P4, I had small groups of 4 (usually 7 of them).  With the even 18 kids, I am keeping them in their two row sets, so essentially three teams of six.  We’ll see how that goes, but it’s made my points system much easier to manage.

 

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Ionic Footbaths

I know, I know…probably an unusual topic for a blog, especially on this page.  Since I’ve been back in Florida, I had the chance to have one of these done at a local health shop.

I didn’t really know what one of these was, but my mother has been going for several years for them because of her health.  Essentially, they help pull out toxins from the body.  The setup is pretty simple…the lady boiled some water (via standard coffee maker, ha) and combined it with some room temperature water.  The customer needs to be able to withstand the water temperature for about 30 minutes, so it should be comfortable.  There was a black piece that attached to a monitor–whatever the part does gives off a color based upon the toxins in a person’s body (probably easiest to see the time-lapse picture below).  Depending on what’s inside the user’s body will dictate what color the water color turns.

The foot bath is totally painless, just a bit weird to see the water change colors…goes to show how many bad things are around us and how they can affect our bodies and our health.  For example, it’s apparently bad for us to drink from many of the plastic water bottles we think are fine.  Heat can activate toxins inside the bottle and once we drink the water, they enter our system.

I figured I’d write about this as many of the spas in Surat or the islands probably have these treatments.  It was amazing to see and I plan on going again!

 

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