To the credit of everybody at Thida, the MEP program has grown up rapidly since its inception 2 years ago. Our MEP wing, housing 9 classrooms, is already too small for us! It’s a tribute to the hard work of everybody who’s been a part of it that we are where we are. The challenge is always to keep raising the bar each year, of course!
With our growth has brought upon new changes. The P4-6 sections (2 P4, 1 P5, 1 P6) are now housed on the top floor of the New Thida building. I don’t think I ever went there until the end of last year when we got word of the ever expanding enrollment.
Last year, it was easy to tell when to head up for the morning’s 2 hour block. We’d see our students walk past the office to their classrooms. This year, the P4-6 teachers have to be even more mindful to get over to New Thida and up to the 5th floor for classes.
The new classrooms are definitely bigger! Sometimes, the way I enjoyed arranging the students’ desk created spacing issues with activities, games, etc. This year there is a lot more space and I’m able to tinker desk formations to my liking.
On the flip side, I do miss the whiteboards in the MEP wing (well, maybe not the black and blue marker stains on my old work pants). It was convenient in the MEP wing to pull down the projector and work together as a class solving math problems or filling in a homework workbook page to review. The board arrangement can get a bit tight, as the new projectors pull down over the regular chalkboards….how I wished I still had that extra space to work. When I use the projector, I’m constantly rotating to the left and back to the right to further clarify teaching points. The challenge is that the kids on the opposite side of my chalkboard writing have a tougher time seeing due to the angle. Also, my points system takes up a good bit of room, so vital to plan potential problems ahead of time!
One interesting thing has been that P4-6 students take the elevator up to the classrooms after morning assembly and lunch. Not hard to imagine it takes many trips up and back to get all the kids up to their rooms. Sometimes I want to tell them to run up the stairs to the 5th floor to take some of their energy–they have a lot!
Lunchtime is now served in their classrooms, much like P1-2. Hard to keep them focused during 3rd period when the lunch tray is rolled outside the classroom! On the flip side, I get a sneak preview of what’s being served!
My class schedule is also much different than last year. I was used to having English and math back to back each morning. I liked this, as usually a bit more time was needed for English, while the amount of supplementary math time the students get by Thai teachers helped alleviate the need. Now, I have science 1st period three days a week, 2nd period off, then back for some sort of math/English time and period combination. P4-6 have designated subject teachers who rotate classrooms, so we need to stick to our schedules. I enjoyed the flexibility of last year’s double block a bit more, as longer projects/crafts/experiments could be used during the two hours block.
All in all, the changes have been good–even better once we factor in the ultimate reason….MEP keeps growing!