Sports Days Preview — by Brittany

Just thought I’d kick off the new blogging month with some pictures of Sports Days – these actually aren’t from Thida last year; they’re from TWO years ago when I was volunteering at Satri Thungsong School.

This is sort of what you can expect on Wednesday with the outdoor parade at the stadium: bright costumes, traditional dresses, marching bands, coordinated cheering sections and LOTS OF MAKEUP, not to mention fake hair!  I hardly even recognized my little 8th and 9th graders.

One of the more traditional costumes

Orange Team at Satri Thungsong. Thida's sports colors are blue, green, yellow, and pink

Some bizarre drum major costumes

Marching Bands that play "The Saints Go Marching In" over and over again

Since I was at a small school that only had 3 other foreign teachers, Satri went all out and put me into a Thai wedding dress to walk in the parade, too.  I had to wake up at 4 in the morning to get my (fake) hair and makeup done, and my adviser took me to a photo studio. I’m pretty much a local celeb now; the lady who did my makeup stuck a giant poster of my face onto her shop window in the middle of town.

 So there you have it, an idea of what to look forward to tomorrow.  Hopefully we win our basketball game today!

Railay Beach, Krabi Province, a sneak preview. — by Joe

Hi, my name is Joe and I love long walks on the beach at sunset. If you’re like me in that way, go to Railay Beach, near Krabi. Even if you’re not as into those, I can guarantee that if you’ve come to live Southern Thailand and you’re a human being who has eyes then Railay Beach has something for you.  Do you like rock climbing? Railay is a world-renowned hot spot famous for deep-water solo climbs where you can climb up with no ropes then drop into the ocean. There is also plenty of stuff for beginners and people of all skill levels in an absolutely stunning location. Thailand has some amazing beaches but Railay has my favorite, Ao Phra Nang. Massive karst formations are all around you, monkeys escort you there and there is a cave full of penises. What more could you want? It’s also a great place to bathe after you get muddy on the jungle trek to the lagoon. This is a sneak preview for my more extensive article on the official Super English website, so get excited for that, check out these photos and get your butts to Railay. Also, bad-ass fire shows accompanied by buckets and hookahs. Get some!

Materials in the Classroom — by Blake

This semester I’ve made an effort to use more materials in the classroom. Materials applicable to the lesson are great classroom aids. I like to get creative with the materials I make. As Brittany mentioned in a previous blog post, I made a 6-sided die with my face on it, a giant map for a fake city named Blakeland, and all kinds of other stuff. It makes it more fun for me, feeds my ego, and the students think it’s funny. Other materials that I’ve found super useful in lessons this semester are picture-cards and the good old go-to worksheets. For vocabulary I used picture-cards a lot. Just get a piece of poster-board with the vocabulary word on it and a picture or series of pictures (I usually use clipart) demonstrating the vocabulary word. Then on the back, you can have the meaning in English and if you want, in Thai– this allows you to use them as flashcards too. For worksheets I type up my own A/B dialogues so that I can make the relevant to the students interest and the lesson topic. There are also a bazillion (maybe even a bajillion) websites out there with great, already-made worksheets that you can download and print out for free. Don’t forget Super English has tons of resources too. Materials add depth to a lesson, they show that you’re prepared, and they’re a great way to change up the classroom dynamics here and there. I highly recommend spending a little extra prep-time and using materials– don’t forget to put your face somewhere on there!

Blake's World (Brittany's Perspective) — by Brittany

So you may or may not know this, but Blake is really creative and artistic. If you ask him to draw, he usually refuses (he says he’s just a tracer); however, there’s been more than one occasion when he’s shown up with something over-the-top and just plain good.

Take, for example, our P1/P2 English camp last year.  He didn’t come to the poster making party but when he showed up in the morning, his “Rabbits” poster was 3-D and FANCY:

Blake has also been making a slew of materials for his classes at Suratpittaya, but most of you haven’t seen them because the majority of us work at Thida.

I came home one night and he was in the middle of making a giant map for his upcoming directions lesson.  There were over 23 numbered locations on that map, but of course the most important one was in the top-left corner: “That’s my mansion,” he said.  He was cutting out a jacuzzi to put in the back.

This is only a small slice of other Blake-themed materials he’s created.  The inspiration for this post is the following set of pictures:

These are what went on the giant Blake’s World die that he created for the English Camp we did this past weekend.

I may or may not be using his computer while he’s teaching a class at a rubber factory, so he might be mad when he finds out I wrote this post and put in all those silly pictures…

But, let me just state for the record that this is a celebration of his creativity and a call to everyone to step up your game! May we all find a way to incorporate ourselves into our classes with a lasting legacy 🙂

Have you seen any other noteworthy Blake creations? Share in the comments!

How to move, Thailand style — by Joe

How to move in Thailand

See Laura’s post on our personal blog about our move. She shared the reasons why we chose to move and asked me to share the story of the logistics. We saw Thai families of five on scooters so we figured we could get us and our stuff on our little bike.

Undoubtedly, we brought too much stuff to Thailand and then added dramatically to our household items over our first month plus here.  But once you move in somewhere, you don’t have an accurate idea of the sheer mass of our Asian earthly belongings until you have to pack it all up and move.

Luckily I have an enormous backpack and a wife who was willing to hold on to large items while riding on the back of Marcel II, our hot little Honda Wave One Hundo. After some minor scheming, we figured we could have Laura wear the big ol’ backpack while I wore the small backpack backwards. We then stuffed our front basket which has a elastic net with hooks that really lets you load it up.

That family of 5 on a scooter looks normal if they’re Thai, but when you have 2 tall Northern European farang with enormous backpacks carrying chairs or an elephant table, now that’s a reason to stare. The biggest challenge was carrying our Home Plus chairs which acted as sails but with hard work, inspiration from our Thai neighbors and the promise of internet at the Big House. We got it done and damn, it felt good. So, if you’re wondering if it can be done, the answer is a resounding yes.

Here is a picture to give you some ideas. (take out the photo-shopped baby and add a large folding chair)