Summertime in Surat

School’s been out about a month now, but I’m ready to get back to teaching!  I’ve missed seeing those little cute faces each morning–picks up my spirit 1,000%!  I stayed back in Surat this month to teach some extra lessons until Songkran, at which point I’ll head home for a couple of weeks.

Being out in the community, I never quite noticed how many times I ran into students/parents/other teachers.  At the market, at the pool, at a stoplight, etc.  They’re everywhere, ha!  I’ve actually found these moments to be more valuable teaching times (albeit short ones) when I can interact outside the classroom.  Their natural personality flows and I get more a sense about them from their style of dress, hair, etc.  They’re more relaxed and usually at ease talking with me.  I’m not viewed as a teacher or authority figure, but just  another person on the street.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the unique chance to work with two brothers from Thida each day.  In the mornings, we’ve worked on grammar and tenses, which can be troublesome to kids.  I’ve tried to implement real time examples of why and how we use the various tenses.  They’re English ability is excellent and they’ve been able to grasp many of the things we’ve reviewed quite quickly.  The boys have a very busy schedule and our usual 9:00 start time has been bumped to 10:00 due to tennis lessons.

I usually have an hour break where I eat lunch with the kids and then have some free time.  It’s been amazingly hot and humid in Surat recently, so there’s no point driving across town back home for such a little time.  I typically go to Central and have coffee, where I usually run into a handful of other students!

In the afternoons, we have more relaxed sessions.  Five hours is a lot of time to spend on grammar each day…learning or teaching!  The boys have a basketball hoop in their backyard and a ping pong table inside, so depending on the weather, we’ll take some time and play one of those games.  They’ve asked me the process of becoming a teacher at Thida, why we can’t simply cross a country’s border with a passport, and cultural differences between American and Thai students.

I’ve really enjoyed the afternoon talks and think they’ve been valuable for speaking practice.  They ask some really good questions and I have to make sure to prep a good deal of things so we don’t have dead time each day!


New Sandwich Shop in Surat

With the unfortunate news the Nature Cafe will close their news at the end of March, a new sandwich shop came to the rescue.  ‘Big Al’s Sandwiches/Turn on Cafe,’ located on Chalokratt Road down the street from the Amphur Rd. intersection, offers great submarine style sandwiches.  Big Al’s offers the following choices of sub:  Italian, meatball, chicken, and ham.  Wraps are now available as well if that’s your preference.  Additional toppings include lettuce, tomato, cheese, mustard, and mayo.  Top if off with some Italian dressing, and you’re set!

It’s a good thing big Al’s gives you a knife and fork with your sandwich, as the bread is stuffed with the previously mentioned items.  You’ll need to cut it in half and then squash the bread down so all the deliciousness doesn’t fall out!

So far I’ve tried the Italian, ham, and chicken subs.  I’d recommend the chicken one most–tender slices of chicken freshly cooked before eaten.  I also enjoyed the ham and Italian, but haven’t tried the meatball…that one is next!

Big Al’s, immediately next door to the Cubic Place apartment complex, runs 120 Baht for a sandwich.  They also have extras like chips, coffee, desserts, or even a Leo to wash down the sub!  They will deliver for a small additional charge or can even provide subs for an event/party…just give them plenty of notice! I’ve only seen two workers behind the counter, so they’re definitely working hard!

In my opinion, Surat has needed something like this!  It’s nice to be able to get a good sized sandwich and take away some of the home-food craving feeling (and walk away full!).  Big Al’s isn’t the only new restaurant in town, though.  On the opposite side of Chalokratt/Amphur intersection are two new spots–Gisuli, an Italian restaurant, and Oniku, a shabu restaurant.  From the eye test driving past, they’re doing great business right now!  I haven’t tried them, but they’re on the ‘to eat’ list.


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Great Week at STIS!

Recently, I had the opportunity to work for a week at our International School.  With Thidamaepra having its long break, I thought it would give me a better insight working with Anuban level kids in a relaxed setting.

I definitely had a great time!  I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but it was great fun showing up each morning and seeing the little smiling faces.  A part of me felt a bit confused after working at Thida the past two years–the morning assembly blasted on the microphone, the endless stream of kids running around, the sounds of motorbikes everywhere.  It was a nice change to be able to great parents on their way in and see the kids sing the morning anthem and play on the playground.

What was really nice was being able to work with all the STIS teachers.  They were all very welcoming and allowed me to come into their classrooms.  Often times a new teacher can disrupt classroom flow, so I appreciated them allowing to help–big thank yous to Lauren, Candace, Cati, Aleya, Marcus, Terrance, Danielle, and of course Peter to put the whole the whole thing together for me!

Throughout the course of the week, I got to work on reading, phonics, and conversation among other things with the various students.  I was very impressed with their English ability!  They have impressive vocabularies and great singing voices!

Perhaps my favorite student was Guideline.  A pre-k student, he tackled like a linebacker at only two years old.  I loved watching him play in class and eat his lunch (food everywhere!).  Apparently he enjoys wearing a super hero one-piece each day (pictured).

It was a great time at STIS and it even made my knowledge of Surat Thani town a bit more intimate as well.  I previously never traveled much on the highway and embarrassingly didn’t know the highway connected from Big C to the turn off for STIS to eventually go to Central.  I guess one learns something new each day!

Here are some pictures from the week!


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