Rita is here, well I’m back to fill you in on my first full week here in Chiang Mai which has been jam packed and literally flew by in a heartbeat....
The last time we caught up I was on day one at Wat Muen Nyeun Gong School. I assisted the main Teacher with two English classes, the format being, I read the lesson in English while the students repeat after me, then Teacher May, who is the main teacher explains what this is all about in Thai...This is where I get a bit lost -but having said that what better motivation to ramp up in some basic Thai language phrases.... then the students are given an exercise to test their knowledge to see if they really understand......Ah brings me back to my own school days...... As the students are working, I go around checking their work and helping if they need it. Each class is an hour long. Lunch is from 11:30 -12:30 and is provided to all children and teachers in the school. I am struggling a bit with the food as it is a bit too spicy for me but don't want to offend anyone so I am trying to adjust as quickly as I can.... Teacher May is constantly producing food for me to eat so I am sure it won't take me too long at all and at this rate after 3-weeks I’ll have to move into the gym when I get back to Dublin! Food is a huge part of the Thai culture, so much so “how are you?” in Thai translates to “have you eaten yet?”. Everyone in Thailand talks about food, where as in Ireland everyone talks about the weather, but having said that the Irish also like their food
As I will only have a max of two English classes a day, I spoke with Wad about helping CCT out with some back office work, so Wad is lining up another project at CCT office starting next week - you have to tune in next week to find out what it is
Just in case I had to prepare lesson plans and run a class on my own, I brought over some basic teaching resources, some flash cards and books, including on one on Ireland. As I won't be needing these I went to give them to Teacher May for the school, but she wanted me to present them to them to the Headmistress in front of all the students after roll call the next day and that is exactly what happened. The school made me feel very important, a bit like an Irish government minster visiting another country, they even took photos of me presenting the books, I don’t have any to share but will see if the can send me a copy....
On Wednesday, the school had an in school Science Day. They kicked this off with some talks from the teachers with a few experiments and then the children took turn to visit each of the five different demonstration stands, so well organized. There was only one English class in the afternoon and this was on”The Weather”. As part of the lesson I explained what the weather was like in Ireland and showed them where I came from on the world map.
On Thursday, the school went to an annual Science Exhibition that is sponsored by the Thai Government. About 10 “Red Trucks” were waiting for us after roll call and once everyone had collected their packed lunch I have never seen so many children in one truck...... was a bit nervous for them but this is Thai culture and they are used to this so I went with the flow. I had a great day at the Exhibition and feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to experience the biggest annual Science event in Thailand.
On Friday the school had another day out - it is the exception not the norm to have two events in the same semester never mind week, so now I feel totally privileged to be there for both events. Friday was all about the Temple. First we went to the temple beside the school and the children prayed and listened to the “Holy Man”a Buddhist Monk. Following this the “Red Trucks” were waiting to take us to Wat Umong Thera Jan (Chiang Mai). This is a beautiful oasis just outside Chiang Mai, a mediation centre and beautiful Temple set in the middle of a forest with a beautiful lake. A really lovely day with the school who have really made feel part of their family even down to including me in their school photo. Next week it is back to normal routine.
Over the weekend I did a bit of pampering with pedicure, manicure and Thai massage all very good. I went to cabaret show with girls in volunteer house on Saturday night and that was great fun. On Sunday we all went out for lunch and afterwards Alexis, Hannah and I went to Wat Doi Suthep and got to experience the monks chanting and meditating. As it was Alexis’s last night we all went for something to eat at “The Gallery” and then it was time to start getting ready for school the next day........
That’s it for now - catch up again next week!