Phuket Weekly 2022 #3 (15-21 January)

It was a relatively calm week. Sunday was National Teachers’ Day which meant nothing as it was a regular day off (my usual two-hour in-house class cancelled due to the continuing pandemic situation). I did receive a few well-wishes from my students so that was nice. Mostly, I spent the day preparing my new laptop for the upcoming week of online classes.

Monday was the first day I used the laptop teaching online and it went fairly smooth with the only annoyances being the usual slow Internet and the other teachers in the office. I try to teach in a quiet voice while others are teaching but the others really do not extend the same courtesies. One constantly yells at his students for any minor infraction (not looking at the camera, producing too much noise, eating, you name it); I really lucked out with all around well-behaved students this term as the only bad behavior has been a bit of screen-writing in a couple of the classes. The other two teachers will usually do their lessons in an empty classroom but hold loud conversations during their non-teaching hours.

That first afternoon of the work week, we were informed that we would have to teach from home until at least Friday. A colleague who teaches in the kindergarten building told me he would come to the school anyway as his connection is better there than at home. I thought I would try the first day at home and see about possibly returning to school on Wednesday as I figured it would be much quieter with everyone else at home.

It turned out teaching online at home was an excellent experience! I enjoyed it and had absolutely zero problems. I was even able to use a few props from time to time. For example, my Prathom 4 classes were studying about hobbies and I was able to show them my shelves of stamp albums, even flipping through a couple to show them bits of my collection. Several said they were interested in collecting stamps from Thailand.

In addition to the classes running very smoothly, I enjoyed being able to relax during my free periods. That meant laying on my bed with the fan blowing on me. It is January, after all, which is usually the hottest month in Phuket. I could also reach behind me and grab an ice cold drink out of the fridge whenever I wanted but I made sure I didn’t do that on-camera!

Most of my late afternoon in-house classes during the week cancelled but I received a message Thursday morning that my trio of kids for that afternoon were still coming. I had a two-hour break between two blocks of classes so I took the bus up to Central Festival and set up my laptop and other gear in one of the offices there. Just before the first lesson was to begin, the manager poked her head in the door and said that my in-house students had cancelled after all.

After I taught my back-to-back lessons, I packed up to leave but my boss said he would give me a ride home. Friday was my easiest day as I only have three lessons. I was very happy when the last class rolled around. I was really working for the weekend!

Other than teaching all week, I didn’t do much else. I went out for more food and cold drinks several times, even picking up a mid-week pizza from the truck at the local market. I was usually too tired to do much reading (and still have not finished a book this month/year) but did watch a few YouTube videos and listened to some music. Most nights saw me fall asleep some time before ten.

The only other things that happened all week were that I successfully did my 90-day notice to Thai Immigration using their online system (which is pretty darn hit-or-miss) and that I managed to put together one blog entry for my stamp site (an article about new Russian stamps). I am still waiting for my Lenovo laptop to be fixed; the repairman told me yesterday that it was working but he wanted to run a final diagnostics test for a couple of days. I have no idea how much this repair will cost me so I have been very careful with extra spending lately.

Here it is Saturday night and we still do not know our work situation for the coming week. Will we remain teaching online from home? Will we return to school and teach online there? Or, will the students return for on-site learning (some schools reopened last week)? It would be nice to know what to prepare for — should the kids come back this week, I won’t have any physical flashcards to show them and don’t really want to mess with printing and laminating tomorrow if I can help it. I will attempt to find the answer tomorrow morning.

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