Daily Phuket #76: 15 October 2021 – Last Day of School

This was quite the most difficult school term that I believe I ever experienced. Difficult school, difficult situations, difficult health. Since my recovery, I have had a difficult couple of weeks giving (and marking) exams. Those were mostly done online with occasional in-person encounters. I certainly was not prepared for the vast number of students (a different grade level each day) who returned to school this week, completely ignoring still in place COVID-19 protocols. I tended to hide in my classroom — doing the last few online lessons this Monday and Tuesday and awaiting submission of much-delayed assignments on Thursday and Friday following a one-day holiday. There was a trickle of students coming into the room most of the week but there were two very stressful hours on Monday when a Thai teacher brought her students into the classroom to conduct sample lessons despite the fact that I was online with my own students at the time and I couldn’t exactly breakdown my equipment to seek a new location. As a result, I had to deal with angry parents who heard the Thai teacher and could not hear me teaching their children. Yes, it was difficult.

But that is all over now. I have asked for a reassignment of schools for Term 2, which I believe will start at the beginning of November or shortly afterwards (nobody ever seems to know ANYTHING very far in advance out here!). This request seems to have been approved and all indications are for a school much, much closer to home. However, I won’t be certain until I am presented with a contract (I have been working without one for some time now as the original expired while I was ill). I am looking forward to not having to carry my large all-in-one computer on the back of a motorbike taxi for a lengthy commute twice each day, often in the pouring rain. Hopefully, I will once again be able to walk to and from work. I need to work off some pandemic pounds!

For now, I am simply exhausted. I did not sleep well all week, trying to finish my paperwork. Last night happened to be the grand finale of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival so there were constant loud fireworks from roughly 10 pm until after 2 in the morning (they echo off the concrete buildings which always sounds like mortar fire to me). This last day of school was somewhat anti-climatic — I sat in my empty classroom for eight hours, leaving only for about 15 minutes at lunchtime in order to buy something at the nearby 7-11. When I went to the office to sign-out at the end of the day, there wasn’t anybody around to say “goodbye” to. Upon arriving home (thankfully, the weather had cooperated), I was too tired to even turn on my computer. I laid down and was soon fast asleep. I woke up just a short while ago (after 10pm) feeling a bit ill and very hungry. I think there is still a curfew so it is too late to go and find some food.

As for the coming days? I plan to relax but I am itching to get outside and just walk around some without having to be somewhere at a specific time for a while. I also need to get caught up on household chores. And as soon as I receive my Term 2 assignment, I can request the curriculum and begin preparing materials to do it all over again. I am confident that those classes will be in-person rather than online but nothing is quite certain at this point. Just taking it one day at a time.

Thank you, until next time…

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