Sunday Summary #2

Welcome to Sunday Summary. This is a meme in which I attempt to summarize the week that came before. It replaces previous series such as Sunday Salon, Daily Phuket and Phuket Weekly.

This past week (22-28 August 2022) was busy and wet. Aside from one four-hour Sunday morning webinar, a Thai cultural celebration on Friday afternoon and a couple of fill-ins, it was a fairly routine week.

The curriculum listed the topic of the week as “I Am Thai” which our agency’s head teacher and myself both interpreted as using Verb “to be” in both positive and negative formats with countries and nationalities.

My first two lessons on Monday saw me using the flashcards I’d created last weekend with a much better response than the previous week’s “Thai Culture & Traditions”. The Thai teachers in both of those classrooms enjoyed what I was doing with the children and even assisted whenever they could. I was quite happy. But it was the third lesson in which it all fell apart. Perhaps 40 minutes into the 60-minute class, the Thai teacher (who had been sitting at her desk on her phone to that point) suddenly said “ASEAN is next week.” I thought she was reminding me of the upcoming curriculum, so I told her, “Yes, I am already preparing materials.”

She said, “Why you do ASEAN now?” I certainly was not. At that point, I had given out paired flashcards to the kids and they had to find the matching card (for example, there were boy and girl cards for countries such as Brazil, the U.S.A., France, etc. — the only ASEAN nation in the batch was Thailand. She then barked something in Thai at the kids at which point they all sat down and then she told me “You must teach them things like ‘How to wai‘, ‘What the colors on the flag mean,’ everything great about Thailand.” I said, “That was last week” (it was an upward struggle but I didn’t convey that). I wasn’t going to argue but it thoroughly derailed the remaining 15 minutes of the lesson as I was shaking a bit from the dressing-down in front of the students. I could not think and pretty much sat there for a few minutes before I recovered enough to just do the colors of the Thai flag and demonstrated that they correspond with the three different levels of the wai.

After the lesson, I discussed it a bit with the other foreign teacher (he teaches the second level of Kindergarten) and we decided to do a mix for the remainder of the week on various Thai topics that were more visual. The majority of these children do not yet possess the English vocabulary necessary to grasp meanings behind symbols and objects. They hardly know the colors in English yet! So, I began preparing digital flashcard sets in several topics, all related to Thailand — Thai fruits, sports in Thailand (not all of them being Thai sports), and animals that are endemic to Thailand.

For the remainder of the week, I presented these using my laptop connected to the smart TV’s that each classroom are equipped with. My main reason for this was that I simply did not have time to print and laminate actual cards. I was pleased with this format in the end as the images were large enough for the children to see. I would alternate between the fronts and rears of the various classrooms, drawing some of the items on the whiteboard and labeling them. I would usually choose five or six per lesson to focus on. I added “Places in Thailand” at the end of the week and this proved the most popular and interactive of them all. The Thai teacher who had belittled me on Monday never said a word to me when I returned to her class later in the week.

Every morning save one saw me walking to school and performing my gate duty assignments in torrential downpours. The last street before the school was flooded on Monday and I had to walk the remaining 200 meter or so in ankle-deep dirty water. On Friday, the two canals which bookend the lane where I live were on the brink of overflowing their banks as I began my journey to school.

Friday morning, all of the Thai teachers and students arrived dressed in traditional Thai clothing. I got some dirty looks from one or two teachers as I was wearing my standard blue (Friday is the blue color day in Theravada Buddhism). If they had asked, I have a couple of options I could have worn to fit in a bit more.

That afternoon, the Kindergarteners all had a Thai cultural activity which involved some traditional games (my favorite was one I dubbed “Giddy-up, horsy” although I could not determine the goal of the game) and mass dancing of the Ram at the end. There was not a holiday attached to the activities and seemed very random to my colleagues and I. At least it culminates the two weeks of “Thai greatness” propaganda instilled on the young tykes over the past couple of weeks (three, if you count the “Places in Phuket” — “Andaman Pearl” — topic during my first week.

I also had two substitution lessons, one in P1 and the other in P3, during the week. What a joy those were! I felt like a rock star! In both cases, I the kids already knew me. For the younger class, they probably participated in an English camp with me at some point while I know I taught the older kids in P2 last year. As I entered each of the classrooms, the kids all jumped up and ran to hug me while yelling my name. I got to teach them age-appropriate topics (letter “K” phonics for P1 and “What do you eat during different meals?” in P3). I was able to play games in both lessons, incorporating the material I had taught. Real teaching, rather than whatever it is we are doing in K2. These cover lessons really made my week and made me feel like a good teacher once again!

My weekend was also jam-packed. I had my usual Friday evening in-house lesson as well as my Saturday and Sunday mid-day lessons. My usual Saturday late afternoon (2-hour) class switched to a 9am start-time this week so I couldn’t sleep as late as I would have liked. I had stayed up late Friday preparing for the biggest addition to my schedule — a four-hour online seminar given to 4th year Law students at one of the local universities. That was held starting at 8:30 this morning and covered life skills and qualities applicable to careers as well as how to write a CV and prepare for job interviews. It was grueling (only two 10-minute breaks during the entire four hours) and the majority of the students kept their cameras off and never said a word. As a result, the planned interview role-plays were a non-starter.



I read quite a bit over the last week, finishing The Book of Cold Cases and making good progress with Stamping American Memory by Sheila A. Brennan. Next up will probably be Food Americana by David Page.


Exactly the same as last week: Rainy and hot. We’ve had torrential downpours every day. The skylight over my apartment building’s stairwell began leaking last night so it’s a wet and slippery four-story descent and ascent every time I leave and return home. There was some flooding around Phuket Town and a minor mud slide on my home lane but nothing like a few years ago when people were using boats in my neighborhood to reach the main roads.

I hope you enjoyed this second installment of “Sunday Summary”. It’s much shorter than the debut as I did not do anything philatelic nor did I receive any mail or do any extra photography other than the school and weather shots posted above.

I hope the week to come is just how you want it to be. Cheers!

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