K3 MEP End of Semester Party!!!

K3 have worked really hard this year and after their excellent performance in their final exams I decided to reward them with a party.  I told them ahead of time so they could bring in party food to share and we had a great time stuffing our faces with all kinds of weird and wonderful offerings. My personal favourites were the cakes cleverly disguised as sushi! Sadly they weren’t as delicious as they look though.

As well as consuming far too much food we also had a brilliant time playing pass the parcel, musical statues and sleeping lions whilst also dancing and decorating our own balloons.  A large portion of the class also had great fun attacking me with said balloons!


It has been a great first semester for K3 and I am looking forward to returning after October break to a refreshed class, with a refreshed teacher, ready for lots more fun and learning.  Happy Holidays everyone.

End of Semester / October Break

Classes are over, final exams are marked, and grade sheets are submitted.  That can only mean one thing–October holiday is here!  I know the Team at Thida and Noonoy are all very excited to have a bit of time away–it’s been an enjoyable semester, but time to go do some exploring!

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve participated in some special in-school activities.  Last Monday, we introduced our Clubs and had a mini presentation about them.  While there was no need for my kids to show off playing chairball (Sports Club), Teacher Brady’s kids sang a couple of songs for the MEP students.  Also, this week we held some end of semester parties and games.  I let my kids vote on a Monday movie, to which they selected something I was totally unfamiliar with (thanks YouTube!).  We also had a good session of musical chairs, which was fun for all to enjoy!  See the pictures below for visual evidence.  🙂

This Sunday, I’ll be leaving bright and early for Hanoi, Vietnam.  I have a redeye flight to Bangkok, then an airport switch and onwards to Hanoi.  I’m hoping for no surprises during my journey (knock on wood), as I’m very low on my passport pages.  In fact, I’ll stop off in Bangkok at the US Embassy on may way back to get a new passport.  I guess we do what we have to do, though!

While in Vietnam, I’ll have a chance to visit with my parents and older brother.  My folks are flying to Hong Kong to visit my brother Tim, who is a pilot based out of Hong Kong.  They’ll be arriving the same afternoon in Hanoi, so it will be nice to have some time with them to travel and see one another.  Eventually, they’ll go on to Cambodia while I explore more of Vietnam.  Yep, I’m that low on passport pages!

Here are a few snaps of our different events over the past few weeks!


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Great End of Semester Dinner at Sizzler!

With the first semester almost in the books, the Thida (and Noonoy) teachers were treated to a great dinner at Sizzler by Peter!  For some, it was our first time there; for others, it was a nice break from market meals and the usual go to spots.

Obviously, Sizzler is known for their salad bar!  Frankly, it was refreshing to have a proper salad–both Caesar and greens.  All the toppings are there–croutons, bacon bits, cucumbers/vegetables, corn, dressing, etc.  It felt quite nice to give my body some greens!  Also, there are some excellent soups (I didn’t partake in them, but gives me something to look forward to!).

I recommend the southwest chicken/pork chop combo!  It’s filling, delicious, and well worth the money.  After that entree and a few trips to the salad bar, well there was no way to treat myself to dessert!  I can safely speak for everybody when I say we all rolled out of the restaurant!

Of course, the bigger pictures was to get everybody together and appreciate everybody’s efforts for a job well done this term!  It’s been a long term and we’re down to the final hour and each and every teacher has done an excellent job keeping the train going.  Often times, it’s easy to pack it away early, but I’m proud everybody is finishing strong!

Many times we don’t get as much of a chance to socalize and talk about outside interests.  It was great to hear everybody’s plans for the long holiday–lots of travels, visits home, chilling out.  Each one sounds great!  We had a great turn out and it was a great dinner!

Thida (and Noonoy) break for the semester next Friday, September 30th.  We’re in the process currently of giving and marking final exams.  Still a good bit to do, however.  Trips to immigration, sorting out grade sheets, having one last party with our kids.

I know I’m thankful for this break to recharge my batteries!  I love working at Thida but sometimes time away to refresh kickstarts the short second semester!

Note:  I typically forget to take pictures at these dinners and Sizzler was no different.  I was too busy stuffing my face!!

Time to learn

Prathom 2 have been learning to tell the time in Maths. It’s really lovely teaching them a life skill that they can now put into practice.

We began the topic by making moveable clocks using paper plates and split-pins. The students coloured their hour hands in red and their minute hands in blue, to help distinguish them. They then carefully wrote the numbers 1-12 around the clock face. Each student then decorated their clocks, whilst carefully avoiding the numbers and the center where the pin would go. Frozen and dinosaurs now seem to be out of vogue in Prathom 2, Pokemon and all things related are now most definitely in!

We can now read the time and draw the hands on a clock for o’clock, half past an hour, and counting in 5 minute increments past an hour. Everyone is getting really good at counting by groups of numbers. They seem to be excited to move on to our next chapter on times tables. I think they’re ready for it.

We’ve played race games, whereby a time is called out and students have to race to the whiteboard to draw the hands on the clock faces. To review, we also went outside and worked with a partner to show the time on a giant human clock. Twelve students stood around in a circle, each holding a number from 1-12. Two students stood, back-to-back in the center of the circle. The tallest partner represented the minute hand, whilst the shorter individual represented the hour hand. When a time was called out, they had to shoot to the correct position on the clock. It was a lot of fun!

Battle of the best beef burger!

Beef is something of a rarity in Surat Thani and there has recently been much excitement about not one but two new burger joints opening up nearby!

Firstly we have Steaks on Job, a burger truck with seating area that has recently relocated from Koh Samui.  It received rave reviews on the Surat Thani teachers page so, full of excitement, we decided to check it out.  They have several steak and burger options including choice of black or brioche bun and it is real beef, which is a definite plus.  However afterwards the overwhelming consensus was that it was fine but nothing to write home about.  We were also all still hungry,so all in all a bit of a let down, but very reasonably priced.

Next up we have The Louvre.  They have recently changed ownership and have now started doing food.  There are lots of options for add ons such as cheese, bacon and onion rings. It is a western sized portion, all made on the premises and brilliant quality beef.  A bit on the pricey side by Thai standards so not an everyday meal but an excellent option for special occasions and pay day blow outs!  We all really enjoyed our meals and will be going back.

So all in all, The Louvre is the overwhelming winner of the burger off !

A Few Days in P6

Last week, the P3-5 MEP students went on an away camp, leaving Wednesday the 6th and coming back on Saturday the 10th.  There were a lot of moving parts and the current P6 teacher, Bri, was asked to attend along with the other IEP teachers from Thida I.  This left us with her classes to cover as well as a P4 camp on Saturday the 3rd.

I volunteered to cover the P6 classes, as I was unable to go to the P4 camp in Surat.  Teacher Allie went on the away camp, so I guess ‘volunteered’ means by default!  It was a fun time–I’ve seen the kids grow from P4 to present.  They’re so big now!

It’s impressive the material they’re grasping.  In English, they are discussing different places and what they can do at each.  I tried to expand on their material and discuss more obscure terms like ‘pier.’  Luckily, I had Internet access so I was able to show a picture of the Surat Thani pier.

I worked with them on surface area…it was a little rocky at first, as it’s been awhile working with that concept.  Many of the students are very advanced and were not hesistant to call me out if I was wrong!

Thankfully, their science work paralleled what I’m doing in science as well–adaptations.  I was able to use a lot of my current materials and expand upon them to tailer to their level.

We had good fun over the three days and I’ll miss that group wherever they go, but I was happy to see my little ones come this past Monday!


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St Mary’s Nativity

The birth of St Mary was celebrated at school on the 8th September. An assembly was held p_20160908_042850in the main circle, with all the students and staff present. It is always quite spectacular seeing the whole school gathered there in neat class formations awaiting the celebrations. Proceedings began with a group of teachers and students approaching the alter carrying the statue of St Mary as well as lots of golden bowls filled with tiny scrolls. Everyone had been asked the day before to write their name and one positive hope for the future on a small piece of paper. These goals were rolled up into tiny little scrolls which were amassed in their hundreds in the golden prayer bowls. As the procession moved slowly through the centre of the crowd, yellow flower petals were sprinkled on their heads.

All the teachers and some of the students had been given small garlands of flowersp_20160908_043031, delicately strung on brightly coloured ribbons. After the prayers and singing we were called up to join the procession. Shoes had to be removed first, as is customary for most school celebrations. We joined the throng of teachers in the centre of the room, trying to quieten our excited students as we passed by. Whilst the students sang, we slowly made our way towards the alter. Once there, we waied the statue of St Mary and lay down our garlands at her feet.

The singing continued loudly whilst the scrolls were taken to the front of the school where they were burnt, thus transporting our wishes up to higher powep_20160909_092933p_20160909_092924rs.

A weekend in Khanom

blog3.1On weekends when I actually feel like getting out of Surat but don’t want to go too far, Khanom is perfect. To save money, I usually stay at home Friday night and drive down bright and early Saturday morning. Instead of taking one of the minivans that leave every hour, I highly recommend driving down yourself – it should take about an hour and a half and is an easy, cheap, beautiful ride. Sometimes we stay at Jam Bay, a popular bar where most foreign teachers end up, but this past weekend my friends and I decided to try something new. We stayed at a lovely place called Bansonmanee Homestay. It’s on the left-hand side about 2 minutes before Jam Bay. We had the whole beach to ourselves but also had the option to walk over and be social – the perfect combo. We spent all of Saturday relaxing on the beach, floating in the sea, and collecting some gorgeous shells. We topped off the perfect day by watching a storm pass through while devouring pizza from Ciao Bella, which I highly recommend! Since Khanom is so close to Surat, I stuck around beaching until about 2 on Sunday after grabbing some fried rice from Jam Bay on my way out. I got back in time to do typical weekend errands like laundry and food shopping, and started my week feeling refreshed and ready to go.


Staying Cool in Surat


This beautiful pool, fondly known as “Mushroom Pool,” is a lifesaver for those of us living in Surat Thani. On weekends when the temperature is in the high 90s, there’s no better place to cool down and have some fun without dying of heat. When you cross the bridge into the jungle, take your first left at the intersection before the 7/11, and after less than a minute it will be on your left. It costs 100 baht to get in, but you can stay as long as you want. Fortunately, the pool tends to be completely empty until around 4pm since the Thai locals aren’t too fond of the sun. This means less screaming children, more relaxation. Don’t worry if you’re not too fond of the sun either, there’s always shade under the mushroom or at the nice poolside tables. The lovely woman at the front desk sells cool drinks, and there is also a restaurant right next door. I normally bring my own water and treat myself to an ice cream cone. My favorite part about this pool is that it is right alongside the river and surrounded by beautiful jungle. It definitely beats my neighborhood pool back in the states. Stay cool!

Vegetarian Meal of the Month

blog1September’s Vegetarian Meal of the Month is this waffle from Little Room Café that really is as delicious as it looks. Little Room Café is only a 1-minute drive from my bungalow, so it is the perfect place to go for breakfast on a weekend when the jungle noises wake me up. Once you cross the bridge into the jungle, it will be on your left after you pass the 7/11 – look for the cute sign with a blue bird on it. Anyways, back to this waffle… it was recommended to me by a fellow foody, but I really wasn’t expecting how great it would be. There are many waffle options, but I went for the one with fresh fruit and chocolate – heavenly!!! Kiwi, strawberries, banana, and oranges are super healthy so the chocolate doesn’t even count right?? At around 100 baht, it’s a bit of a splurge but beyond worth it. Pair it with a nice iced coffee and you’re good to go – enjoy!!