Daily Phuket #98: 16 December 2021 – Real Live Cover

While I am still waiting for my full-time school to reopen (the latest word is “maybe” on 22 December), I have been keeping my ear to the grindstone trying to pick up lessons when and where I can. Monday’s one-day “workshop” was the first and I began a week-long series of cover lessons this morning. I have always enjoyed substitute teaching more than being attached to a school for a full term or school year other than the randomness of such occasional fill-ins.

So, for half of this week and the whole of next week (unless my school does, indeed, start lessons on Wednesday) I am covering for a teacher at my second favorite government school in Phuket Town. Her mother is visiting from Brazil so she decided to take off for the entire period (a risky move for such a recently-hired teacher) and I am happy for the work. I spent all of Term 2 at this school last year and have come here on numerous previous occasions for both cover lessons and English camps/activity days. It really is a homecoming for me as I know so many of the teachers as well as the students.

My classes during this time are all in the Intensive English Programme (IEP) Primary levels (grades 1 through 6). The classes are small (no more than 20 or 25 students), the rooms are air-conditioned, and I see each class two or three times per week. All (except for P1) have been live and in-person lessons rather than online; P1’s Friday lesson is to be online but they will return to the school next week if their PCR tests for COVID-19 all come up negative. Oh, and all the classes have been Phonics which is much easier than Grammar, Conversation or Reading which other teachers at the school handle.

Several afternoons each week (including today) also see me heading what is called “English Club”; some levels will sing songs during this time, others watch movies or do story-telling. Although this first day was a very full schedule with six classes (including four back-to-back without a break), it was quite enjoyable. I viewed it as a sort of “dress rehearsal” for my regular school as I had gotten out of practice sitting around so long (the few small in-house groups don’t really count) and Term 1’s online lessons were a lot different than having a room to walk around in while I teach.

Rather than “sing” or show a movie in today’s English Club for P6, I did a brainstorming session to see how many words they could make out of the words “Christmas” and “Singapore” and was quite impressed when they nearly hit the record of 115 with the latter word (held by an M3 class I did at another school several years ago).

Today was fun; the other three days that I will be at this school should be more of the same, probably even more so as I think there are only three lessons per day compared to today’s six.

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