Saying Goodbye To Thailand

After almost two years, I have reached my final month in Thailand. Although it’s sad to leave, I’m happy for all the great times I’ve had here and excited for the adventures ahead in Vietnam. Last week, my students and co-teacher surprised me with a wristband they made for me, which made me melt a little inside. I’m going to miss them lots. I’m also proud of how far their English has come along after two years with me. As far as class goes, we’ve covered pretty much everything in the book and still have a week left which I will use for review and some fun activities so we can end on a good note where they hopefully have good memories of me rather than “Sit down please!” or “One more time and you’ll be writing sentences ’til you’re my age!” Currently, I am quite busy preparing for Vietnam. I just got my visa approval letter and now I’m researching as much as I can about Hanoi; finding a job, best places to live, dos and don’ts, etc. I am also preparing an application for grad. school in Bangkok (so maybe I’ll be back before I really leave). So, that’s fun. On the apartment front, I’m sorting, selling, condensing or throwing away my belongings. The lighter my travel load, the better. I’m struggling to sell my bike, which makes me sad because it’s an awesome, reliable bike. BUY IT ALREADY. Anyways, I think that’s about it. Good luck if you’re coming to Thailand, the people here are lovely! And the food. And scenes. Later!16664952_10212516067246163_2000596334884576149_o16487421_10212515975723875_4876467403767719565_o

The Sunday Night Market

Although nobody looks forward to the end of a weekend, the Sunday Night Market is always a plus! Located along the river in the opposite direction as the boat pier, it is always a great idea to pay it a visit before heading back to work on Monday. This night market has way more vendors than the every day ones, with a variety of food sure to make any person happy and full. I personally head there for the roasted corn, mango with sticky rice, and the delicious waffles. The waffles are my favorite. For just 10 -15 baht you have your choice between many different types such as almond, chocolate, and strawberry. They are all heavenly and of course served nice and warm. Other friends head to the Sunday Night Market for the sautéed chicken on a stick, fresh juices, and coconut treats. I personally don’t eat meat but like I said, there are options for everyone. I love walking by all the vendors to see what they sell. There are benches to sit along the water and devour all your goodies. Enjoy!




Vegetarian Meal of the Month

blog1Last but not least, February’s Vegetarian Meal of the Month is brought to you by “Rice Lady,” whose little restaurant is a quick walk away from Thida. If you pass Thida on your right, look for her on the left. There is a tree literally going through her shop. It isn’t much, but her food is delicious and every teacher, vegetarians not included, loves it! My go-to is very simple – veggie fried rice or “kao pad pak.” She doesn’t speak English but has my order memorized after going there enough times. I also say, “mai sai gai” which means without egg. Rice Lady and her little sidekick are very quick and can whip up your delicious meal in no time. This is my favorite fried rice in all of Thailand because she doesn’t hold back on the veggies. Believe me, I have tried many and hers is definitely the best. She gives you some lime to squeeze on and you can also help yourself to the variety of sauces she has on the tables such as soy or chili. Although I get a bit sick of rice and don’t eat it very often, I will definitely be missing this dish when I leave Thailand. Enjoy!

Goodbye Animal Club

dinoThe end of Animal Club is sadly here! I have had so much fun running this club for both semesters this year. Even though I had a whole new batch of students the second time around, I still came up with different activities and crafts for them to enjoy. Club is great because it gives you a chance to interact with students from different age groups and feel more connected to the school as a whole. This semester, all of my P3s left me to try something new and I ended up with a bunch of P1s and P2s. It was a lot of fun to work with a different age group, and I made our animal projects a bit easier for the younger guys. My students had so much fun making dinosaur masks, cut-out animal rings, and designing their own under the sea picture filled with animals. We explored many different habitats and the wide variety of animals within them. On top of the crafts I mentioned earlier, we also did a few activities such as animal crossword puzzles or word searches, as well as games like hangman and Pictionary. Although having Club added an extra hour to my Monday schedule, I really enjoyed getting creative with my kiddos and watching them leave happy to show off their new animal crafts every day.

Final Month of P5/12

With all the breaks in January, including two unexpected days off for flooding, it’s been a constant challenge to alter, change, and get the key points from the material and into the students’ brains with only a few weeks on the horizon.

Recently, in English class, we just finished Unit 7, which dealt with the five senses.  It was a simpler chapter to study because the kids were able to use their senses to understand the material.  I found the key sentences to be easier than other units, so we were able to make some solid progress.  We’ve started our last unit, which is ‘New Experiences.’  We started talking about different types of foods and their origins–ravioli, sushi, burritos/tacos, etc.  It’s been fun for me, as I get some insight of their background knowledge from different countries and their other classes.  I’ve shown a lot of YouTube videos and Google images–it helped a lot to explain how burritos are formed and how kimchi is made!

Also, I’ve been utilizing the ‘Let’s Read’ section better than in years past.  It’s a simple reading grade for the kids and we typically spend a couple of days discussing, reading together, using our workbook, and finally taking a listening grade.  I’ve been trying this year to make sure to incorporate as many quizzes for the four main skills and this helps a lot!

In math (not maths), we finished our chapter on “Lines, Angles, and Shapes.”  Thankfully, most of the children were already familiar with the bulk of the material, so it was more or less applying the English terminology to their base.  I’m glad to have math first period, as typically assemblies run a bit long and by the time we set up our points system for the day, we don’t have extra filler time.  The kids have been using such math materials as protractors, setsquares, compasses, and a lot of formulas!

Lastly, in science, we just finished our unit on sound.  This was a challenging one for the kids–typically in science I like to take them outside and make the learning interactive.  With the sound unit, I had to repeat and repeat things over and over again until it sunk in.  I wasn’t the most exciting unit for them, but I did find a diagram of the ear, which they enjoyed coloring and labeling.  Our last unit is Clouds, Water, and Wind, which we started this past week.  With only about 3ish weeks left in the term before review, I’ve had to scrap some of the extra activities I’d like to do and instead plow through the textbook, workbook, and notebooks so they’re prepared for their exam!

It’s been a great year in P5/12 and it’s hard to believe it’s coming to an end.  19 students in the classroom has been ideal for me, as I can walk the room and facilitate extra assistance with some of my students without complete chaos breaking out!  I didn’t have that luxury last year, so I’m very thankful!

Bring on P6!

Chinese New Year

With Chinese New Year rapidly approaching, I thought we should warm up the festivities with a creative activity. Each student was given a worksheet on which were displayed the component parts of a Chinese lion. The students diligently coloured in their lions, using a rainbow of colours. They then carefully cut them out. A strip of paper was also coloured in on both sides before being consitinered, and stuck onto each set of legs, like an accordion.  Next, a drinking straw was attached onto each end of the lion, enabling it to dance. Then the mouth was folded down and the head stuck on. Our final embellishment came in the form of two googly eyes, which wobbled around as the lions danced. As the lesson drew to a close, those that were finished were kind enough to go around and help those who were almost there. Everybody was able to finish and take their lucky lions home to show off. What a lot of fun! Happy Chinese new Year everyone!

Awesome ESL Lesson – Quick Skits

This month in P5, my class has been mastering everything in the textbook with ease, so I wanted to give them something a little more challenging. There are little skits written in the textbook such as “The Missing Vase” which includes about three characters and a short (maybe 1 minute) dialogue. Two weeks ago, I had my students memorize the lines to any of the five skits in the book and act it out in front of the class using different voices, improvised costumes, hand motions and anything else their imaginations were capable of coming up with. It went great and served as a good speaking test. But most importantly, the kids had a lot of fun with it. If I’ve learned anything since I’ve been a teacher it’s that you need to work off your students interests. So last week I had them write their own scripts and make their own quick skit story. Some wrote about aliens, horror cemetery stories, schoolyard bullies, going to KFC and so on. This lesson gets the students into groups, thinking creatively, writing, speaking and – excited about doing it (wow!). Some students think up really original stories and need little help, but others might need help brainstorming some ideas. I also require turning it one script, that I help edit throughout the week so it should be flawless by the time it’s turned into me. I think this lesson is an effective way of teaching something fun when you’re ahead of the textbook and I would recommend to anyone feeling bored in English class if the students are high enough level. If you’re teaching ESL, give this one a shot!

What’s Happening in P5

Hard to believe we’re only a month and a half until final exams finish.  We recently had a minor bump in the road due to  some severe weather which caused us to miss two days of school.  Heavy rainfall flooded Surat Thani and its outskirts, causing traffic jams and dangerous driving situations.  Thankfully we’re out of the woods for now.  It’s nice to see the sun shine again and have some clean weather!

As we head towards the end of the year, my P5 kids are learning about senses and adjectives associated with each sense.  We’ve learned how to describe a noun with each particular sense as well as an adjective to express our emotions.  We’ve also leaned some opposite nouns, which has led to some fun speaking games.  The kids really enjoy warming up to me saying an adjective like”wonderful.”  Their goal is to then be the first one to say its opposite (awful).  They’ve picked up pretty quick in this unit, so we’re aiming to start the last unit by the end of January, giving us ample review time for finals.

In science, we’re studying sound and its properties.  We talked at length about vibrations, sound waves, and how sound travels.  One of the funner lessons was labeling and coloring the parts of the ear.  I saw some interesting ear colors, but the point was to label and spend time associating the part and its name with the extra time coloring.  Next, we’ll move into how sound travels, how we measure it, and ways to protect our ears from damage.  This leaves us with one unit about the sky and movements in space.  I think sound has been more challenging for them to grasp than other units and I think we’ll move faster through the last unit.

Finally, in math, we’re studying angles, lines, and shapes.  So far, we’ve used our protractors to measure acute, right, and obtuse angles.  We just studied how to find an angle greater than 180 degrees (subtract from 360 degrees, of course!).  I expect to move quickly through parallel lines, which leaves us with a few shapes to study properties.  Our last two units are about volume (solids, cubes) and statistics/probability.  Both these units are short and the students generally grasp math faster than other subjects, so I’m expecting to finish the textbook right on schedule.

I’m happy where my class is now vs. the calendar/end of school.  We’ve had a lot of unexpected days off, assemblies, etc., but I’m proud of how hard they’ve worked to get through things.  A tip of the hat to class for a job well done!

Christmas Break Comes and Goes

It was great having a bit of a break for some R & R over the holidays!  I definitely needed to recharge my batteries and get away for a bit.  Of course, I happened to come down with a bit of a sinus bug at the start of the holiday, but I still managed to get out and have a good time.

Seeing how on most holidays I always head north (BKK) or west (Samui, Phangan), I decided to try out a new area–Koh Lanta.  It didn’t take too long to get there–perhaps 4 hours from Taled Kaset to my area on the island.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I found Koh Lanta to be very scenic, peaceful, and less of the hustle and bustle found on other islands.

I was able to meet with a friend from my teaching days in Korea who was on holiday from China, which made things more enjoyable.  She’d already been there a few days and was able to scout a few cool beaches and restaurants to hang out and enjoy.  I’m not one for too many tours and all, so it was exactly what I was looking for.  From what I was told, the northern part of the island is very touristy, while the middle and southern parts are more relaxed.  I got in some good beach time and eating and plan to make a return visit after the end of the school year.

My second leg of holiday was in Krabi (Ao Nang).  It was pretty simple to get over via a boat, but a bit expensive (around 600 baht).  The boat only took two hours and was very closely located to Ao Nang town.  I met up with some friends and we enjoyed some nightlife taking in the New Year, some good food, and plenty of time to recover.  🙂

One thing I recommend coming back from Krabi town is to get a private mini van/bus.  We did in a group of 5 and it was about 520 Baht a piece.  It might seem expensive on the surface, but in reality it’s 100 Baht to get to the bus terminal, then an additional 200ish Baht back to Surat town.  Every time I’ve gone home from Krabi it’s taken several hours longer than the 2.5 hours indicated, so it’s well worth its value!

All in all it was a nice holiday filled with laughs and entertainment!  I’m happy to be back at school to finish the last several weeks with my P5 kids!

New Year’s Eve in Bangkok

Happy 2017! This past weekend I spent in Bangkok over Christmas break celebrating the New Year with some friends from all over the world. We lost money, teeth, blood, sweat, tears, family heirlooms – and had a great time! (we didn’t really lose all of those things). But it sure was fun. Myself and one buddy from home spent the first night in a Japanese area of Bangkok near the Sala Daeng BTS stop for dinner. We found a fantastic sushi bar where I could get my raw salmon fix. Dinner (along with draft Japanese beer) came to about 700B each and it was totally worth it, no regrets. We then made our way to my favorite start bar, Cheap Charlies, near the Nana BTS stop. You can get a Heiniken for 80B… or a Jack and Coke for 80B. Pretty awesome prices. We then ended the night near Khao San Road. We took night 2 pretty easy so we wouldn’t be tired for a riveting NYE out on the town.

Night 3 we had a massive dinner (party for 15) at Never Ending Summer. A fancy joint right on the river. I again, got my salmon fix on, had a pasta dinner for about 400B. After dinner we made it to Above Eleven, my favorite rooftop bar in Bangkok. It’s about 3-4 blocks walking from the Nana BTS stop. It’s 35 or so floors up and offers an incredible view of the city where we enjoyed the countdown to the new year. We spent the evening hanging out up there and occasionally gettin’ our dance on. The following day I was pleasantly surprised to wake up feeling great, and made it to the air port just in time to make it back home to Surat for dinner. All in all it was a successful weekend and I think I’ve had enough Bangkok for awhile!15817974_738354299654411_1653734920_o