Tuesday, October 8, 2013

10-7-13 Disaster Day

If you read the title, you already know that many disastrous events occurred today. Jk, kind of.
       The Child Watch Program school (Holland School) we visited today for our first day of teaching was not a bad school at all. The children were adorable and charming, the teacher was loud and commanded respect, but the problems were that we were trying to teach using our materials to itty bitty toddlers. Even toddlers back in the United States could not grasp those concepts or sit around and stare for long enough to learn a word in a different language!

Child Watch Phuket 
Child Care Center 
(You can clearly read it on the poster too!)

The students singing songs for us before we began teaching

The boy in gray was trying to hold hands with the little girl, but 
she kept flinging his hands away because she didn't
want to dance with him. LOL :D

     My lesson’s focus was weather: sun, rain, cloud, and wind. I’m sure the only thing they learned the entire time was how fun it was to fall down during Ring Around the Rosie. One of them picked up a word that sounded very similar to “down,” but only because I kept singing the song over and over again. 
     Did I ever tell you that one of my biggest fears is singing in front of other people? Well, I was pushed to my limit because our classroom was outside, so the students were constantly distracted by people and the traffic outside. There were also new visitors every few minutes or people dropping off packages, so of course the students lost interest in the people who were speaking some unknown language to them. Basically, the students were climbing the gate, running around kicking each other, and trying to see what the other children were doing in the inside classroom (there were 3 classes running simultaneously, and one of my friends happened to use a ukelele during his lesson. He was actually attacked by his class because they all wanted to play with it.) My 7 (yeah, there were only 7) students were anywhere BUT where I wanted them to be. 
     However, the plus side of it all was that we had an older Thai student who was able to use a little Thai to command the little ones to sit down or repeat after the teachers. Here’s a little background information: the students had to sit through about 2 hours of foreign teachers speaking jibber jabber to them. I think the most fun they actually had all day was singing songs to us as a greeting in the morning, playing Ring Around the Rosie, and then singing a thank you and goodbye song to us. 
Oh, one of the cutest things was when one of the students grabbed my hand and played Ring Around the Rosie with me, but as another student came and I tried to add him into the game, the first student got upset and tried to fling his hand at the other student to show him he wanted to hold the teacher’s hand. However, he ended up just letting the other student join--it was just so cute!

My comments from the observer were that I used:
  • Good, clear, loud, slow speaking
  • Good acting (my response: hahahahahaha)
  • Great decision to go back to Ring Around the Rosie. Do whatever works. Improvise.
  • Really calm and cool despite awful distractions
  • Lovely bearing.(?) Nice, clear voice and great smile. (Awww :))

My more negative comments were:
  • Don’t be afraid to be physically strong with them when doing background class control. They’re not fragile. (My comment: I was afraid of hurting them, so I tried not to pick them up too often.)
  • Materials! Make sure you’ve got something that works. Also, careful putting stuff like the cards to be taped on shared windows. Other teachers may object. (my comment: yeah :( I threw out a bunch of our ideas because I knew the students wouldn’t be able to handle them. Also, I tried to find a good sticking place for our materials, and it seemed like the windows would be the only place.)

     Anyway, my teaching experience there was disastrous, but everyone said that it was okay and not an accurate portrayal of a real classroom--especially since we were forced to teach outside and to students who only knew basic Thai. They were just too young to sit down to listen to us teach them a whole new language.
When they sang a goodbye song to us

     Tomorrow, I’m going to go to a juvenile detention center to teach 15-18 year olds. There will only be about 5 students in my class, so hopefully this will be easier. I am a bit nervous as to what I am to expect though... hopefully they will be a bit interested because my next lesson focus is electronics. (By the way, these topics are given to us by our instructor, Whittney, so we have no choice.)

After Class

      I talked with one of the previous ATI alumni, who reassured us to just go with the flow and that we would find out our placements soon. He told us we’d find out our schools by this Wednesday or Thursday. Then, he talked with us and told us lessons he learned throughout his teaching in Thailand, which were helpful, but I honestly think we were so anxious about finding out more about our placement that we couldn’t quite pay a lot of attention to what he was saying. 
     My friends and I decided to ride out to the Big Buddha because the sky was actually nice for once. (I even jumped for joy!) My friend, who had never been on a motorbike before hopped on my bike, and because I actually wasn’t expecting it at that exact moment and because I wasn’t used to the extra weight, we toppled over immediately.
     Later on, I had a real passenger for the first time, although that experience made me never want to carry a passenger again. In fact, after going around a roundabout, a giant traffic circle, I ended up hitting the bumper of a car slightly because I couldn’t use my brakes well--the extra weight really did make a difference. However, my passenger friend and the Thai ladies in the car were fine and were okay with the damage, so we just continued on our merry ways. One of the other motorbike drivers actually went ahead to my friends who were driving in front to tell them we had an accident, so my friends worriedly waited for us and asked us if we were alright. (We were perfectly fine. We just love-tapped the car, actually.)
      We ended up driving up to the Big Buddha and my ears actually popped a few times because we were climbing in altitude. Unfortunately, because I drove so slowly, we reached the Big Buddha a little past sunset and took a lot of pictures. I ended up donating some money to the temple, and my friends played with a gong. Apparently, you’re supposed to patiently rub either side of the gong and get it to resonate. I was able to make it resonate a little, but other people were able to make it resonate very loudly.

Big Buddha Phuket

View from up above 

Bells that chimed with the wind--they were along the steps
that climbed up to and came down from the Big Buddha

View from the top

Phuket Town and some of the surrounding areas

Night view--do you see the light rising in the air too?

One of the deity structures

Big Buddha: my friend's camera has better pictures because
my camera didn't want to work with certain lights and angles

Walking back down after sunset


Big Buddha at night

     Darkness reached us very quickly, so we decided to head back and buy some dinner. We drove down from the uphill this time, and I was finally able to practice using both my front and rear brakes. Since I started driving, I have only been using my rear brakes (just like on a normal bike with pedals), although when driving these motorbikes, the rear brake is on the left rather than on the right. Also, you pass people on the right, never on the left, which I actually made the mistake of doing the first day I was on my motorbike. I learned very quickly after that though.
     Anyway, on the way down from the Big Buddha, my motorbike stopped working, or at least it felt like that. It was stuck and would not accelerate! My friend later told me that I would just have had to accelerate A LOT because my bike had been driving so slowly for so long, it went into some type of sleep mode--don’t worry, the brakes worked perfectly fine the whole way down though.
      We tried a stand that was going vegetarian for the Festival; I had pad thai goong though but also bought some vegan banana nut bread. The people were so kind that their families actually moved so we could sit down. (Well, it seemed that way because when we went to the back, they had all moved and the people who sold us our food offered us the tables and chairs. They even kept saying thank you--this was possibly the best service I’ve had so far in Thailand! :)

My friends eating our non-vegetarian pad thai goong

My vegan banana nut bread (yummy!)

My pad thai goong (I even ate all the onions!)

We shared a banana pancake. YUMMY STUFF!

      When I drove back to the hotel, I went a lot faster, and I made a new friend that actually wants to hang out with me! Woo!!!

      Juvenile detention center tomorrow!!!

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