Tuesday, November 12, 2013

School Days

No two days are ever the same!  This is even more true when you look at my schedule.  I don't want to give the impression that this is easy, it isn't, but the time we're given to plan, correct, and collaborate is every American teacher's dream.

First, my schedule:

I know, it appears I have disproportionately large blocks of time without classes.  I can't deny this.. it's true.  In my defense, ASEAN studies is something completely foreign to me; that takes up quite a bit of time researching.  There's not a real lot about ASEAN studies, and this is the text I work from….

I try to fill these classes with activities that show how important cooperation is.  Thank you, Project Adventure… those courses have been far more useful than any others I've taken.

Remember the "Poison Peanut Butter Pit" fellow educators?  It's as much of a hit here in Thailand as it is back home.

The students have to get their whole team across the poison peanut butter swamp using only "chocolate turtles" (paper plates, one less than the number of people on the team).  Meanwhile, alligators steal any turtle that is left unattended.

And then there's Health to M-3 (9th grade).  Really, isn't this what all of you hope to be able to teach one day?  In trying to keep to safe topics, I asked a colleague if anorexia was a problem with these students.  She had the strangest look on her face, mirroring my feelings, "who in their right mind would voluntarily deprive themselves of good food?"  No, eating disorders haven't made their way across the Pacific.  So, that leaves sex, drugs, alcohol, and gambling.  All to students whose native language is not English.  Actually, there's a series on YouTube called "Augusta, Gone"  which will be interesting to show and discuss.

Guidance is, thankfully, a non credit course all M-1 students must take.  Are you kidding… me??? teach guidance????  I am hardly an expert at guiding one's life in the right direction.   Do they know at all about my shady past?  Let's face it.. I was the one who needed guidance, and my niece, Tracy, was the one who provided it.  I hope you're looking down to guide me, Tracy <3

Despite my own transgressions, I am trying to teach morality….


The class is playing "Who Am I?"  They've written about themselves from the viewpoint of a family member, a friend, and a teacher.


And finally, I teach a two hour block of supplemental science to the two M-2 classes.  The first week, I kept asking what I was supposed to be teaching, but there is no guideline for this class.  Edgar showed me what the M-1 class had done in supplemental science last year, and I knew I was in trouble!

and today, I had no internet access for my class to do research…… 2 long hours…..

While my schedule leaves me plenty of time during the day, students have a jam-packed schedule.  Classes from 8:30- 3:30, mandatory scouts once a week from 3:30 - 4:00, and most of them go to tutoring school as well.  Their classes include Thai, Math, Social Studies, Science, supplementary science, history, health, computer, physical education, English, and "Art for Functional Living"  (traditional Thai dance, art, and music).  They are also responsible for the cleanliness of their homeroom.  The appearance is that they take education seriously.  After M-3, most students' goal is to get into EEP… Excellent Education Program.  It's very competitive as there are fewer slots than students applying.

My mentors here at Benchama Maharat are caring and dedicated.  Chris moved from the US quite some time ago and teaches math.  He's given me insight into some of the students ( I still can't remember their names), and where people go on weekends who are a "little older".

 John moved from the UK and teaches English and Health to M-2. He has also made sure I know where to spend my time outside of school!  He also has brought me to his "bar" to watch his team, Chelsea, play football.

Federico is Italian, but grew up in Luxemberg; he teaches geography, health, and guidance.  He also lives by the Huan Muang and we walk home together on occasion.

Manaraj is the liveliest of us, also the youngest (excepting David).  In addition to this school, he runs his own tutoring business after school.  He owns 2 tutoring schools and is in the process of buying a third.  Manaraj has introduced me to some great places for lunch.

David is the other CIEE teacher.  He teaches computer.

Karin, who is a native Thai, teaches independent studies.  She's helped me order lunch across the street so that now when I go in, they automatically know what kind of noodles I want.

and Paul, Pavlov, the Russian, teaches math as well.

 Edgar and Elias are both from the Philippines.  They teach basic science and their expectations are high.  Both have had concerns with the recent typhoon as family members live in the Philippines
.  They have both said destroyed homes are not important as long as your family is safe.

Finally, Lertluck is my director.

And what would a school be without children????

Must be Tuesday. M-2 is wearing their scout uniforms!


Traditional Thai music
Traditional Thai Arts





The Benchama Maharat School is competing for the King's Award.  We were #1 two years ago, but slipped to 2nd place last year.  Today was a preliminary round of judging.  All curriculum guides as well as the books that keep our formal daily lesson plans were on display with trophies, certificates and other awards.  The cheerleaders (yes, we are #1 in Thailand) performed as well as the traditional Thai dance troupe (that recently returned from performing in France).  Sadly, I had to teach my science block and missed the performances.  On Sports Days… November 27, 28 and 29, the cheerleaders will perform again.  Can't wait!