Welcome to Sunday Summary, the meme in which I attempt to summarize the week that came before.
The week started off with my hometown American football team, the Kansas City Chiefs, winning the Super Bowl championship game, ending the season that began last August. Their first Super Bowl win in 50 years occurred on the eve of the Pandemic in 2020; thankfully, we didn’t have to wait another 50 years for this win. And what a game it was! Old KC Mizzou is still celebrating (and I need to still find time to watch highlights of the Welcome Champions parade which wound through downtown on Wednesday — the YouTube video of the parade and rally is more than 7 hours long!).
A strange week at work as the School Year begins to wind down. You would think that Thai schools have a handle on the ends of terms as they occur twice per year and the routine is pretty much the same — finish teaching the kids, test them, record the scores, submit the scores. It’s not rocket science. But somehow every year brings more mystery as to exactly when school will end and what occurs in the lead-up to that date. Any given school may change its mind on these details several times as the penultimate date approaches; I am lucky in that my current school actually informs the foreign teachers of the changes in game-plan — albeit their way of communicating with me is to tell the Chinese teacher (who speaks better Thai than I do) and then have her relay the information to me; her English skills are somewhat less than her Thai.
On Friday last week, we were told that the end of the school term would be the 17th of March (rather than the contracted 31st). We were further informed that the school would be closed for an unspecified reason from 27 February until 7 March) and that final exams would occur starting on the 8th. I began thinking of which material I would include on the tests and how I would conduct them. On Monday or Tuesday of this week, the two teachers in charge (the director having been away since before the Western New Year) told us that all final tests would need to be done NEXT week (prior to the school closure) but that the end of the term remained 17 March.
I shifted to REVIEW mode so the kids would at least be aware of the types of material that would be on the tests. I stayed up all night Wednesday writing and printing the test sheets as well as scoring rubrics. While the tests will be oral, this being kindergarten, I had to prepare five different sets of pictures to point to for the children to identify. Yes, even the 2-year olds in the Nursery are to be tested (after initially telling us they wouldn’t be).
In the midst of this, the school needed to use up the government funds provided for field trips and at-school activities BEFORE the exams can be given. Thus, each morning from Wednesday through Friday, a different kindergarten class departed for a three- or four-hour outing (each class donning funny hats). This meant that at least one class from each level would need to be tested next week without the benefit of knowing anything about the exams at all.
After a rather stressful few days, late Friday afternoon we were told that ONLY K3 would be tested next week and that we needed to prepare regular classes for K1 and K2. Also, rather than being closed completely from 27 February until 7 March, the school would open to allow myself and the Chinese teacher to rehearse students for an Open House show to be held on 17 March. We need to have the songs and students decided by the end of the coming week (unless they move up that deadline). The next two weeks after that “holiday” week will see us testing the kids in the two Nursery classes as well as all of the K1 and K2 kids (and, I assume, more show rehearsals lest the kids forget their routines). While the students will stop coming to school after the 17th, we will still come to work every day until the 31st both to record and submit the scores (I tend to do mine while I am conducting the exams!) and also to rehearse for yet another performance to occur on 28 March at the local government building. Whew!
I spent most of this evening printing flashcards to use in my K1 and K2 lessons this week. I also printed several different coloring sheets that I will give the children to do during the exams while they are waiting their turn (each child will be sent to see me in the hallway for their oral exam).
Again, I only managed to create content for Philatelic Pursuits. I also spent quite a bit of time updating the various stamp release schedules. I want to start sharing some of my teaching materials here but I would like to write some introductory articles before I start adding flashcards, coloring sheets, and tests, etc. I also would like to add at least one article to A Stamp A Day and Postcards to Phuket before the month is out. I hope to start moving some of my posts from My Collections to this site in the near future; that should cover some MJJ.com content as many of my articles relate my experiences in obtaining the item being profiled.
Latest Posts to Philatelic Pursuits:
The week was bookended by Slowhand — the Five Live Yardbirds album at the start and a bunch of soundboards from Clapton’s 1974 tour at the end. In between was Robert Mirabal, Marianne Faithfull, Chris Stapleton, ZZ Top, and Neil Young.
I missed a few days reading but still working on the QEII bio.
The only thing I watched all week was the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl; the rest of the game was a listening experience — I used a VPN to tune into a hometown radio broadcast with the best commentator in the business (Mitch Holtuss) calling the play by play. I also watched a few compilations of the “funniest” television ads from the game but didn’t really see the humor in the majority of them. Perhaps I have been away too long.
The nearest 7-Eleven to my home in Kata Beach now carries packaged fruit. I’ve bought tangerines twice and sliced apples once this week which were a nice change to my usual Thai food. When the Chiefs won the Super Bowl Monday morning, I decided I would celebrate after school by making a rare trip to New York Burger Co. for an awesome jalapeno double cheeseburger. So good! Later in the week, I went to Madame Steak and found they had completely revamped their menu (and raised the prices!). Still, I found a fried chicken steak with fries which was very filling and only 99 baht.
On Saturday night, I decided to head to Patong (“Sin City”) for the first time since New Year’s Day in order to shop and eat. The zipper on my blue jean shorts had broken the day before so that was my primary reason for going — I figured I could buy new shorts at Big C rather than pay the hyper-inflated prices at the tourist markets here in Kata Beach. There weren’t any blue jean shorts there at all and the other kinds were very poor quality but cost quite a bit more than I was prepared to spend. I then visited a neighboring shop but they only had jean shorts for women and the sales clerk was rather rude in telling me they had sweatpants shorts for men. I saw some cargo shorts at several tourist markets; again, pretty poor quality — one zipper actually broke when I tested it! — and were priced for people just off the plane.
So as to not waste the trip, I made my way to Banzaan Market where I had a garlic and cheese baked potato for 100 baht and then walked to the Subway Sandwich Shop to buy a footlong Spicy Italian Sub to take back home (ate that today). The last time I had bought the exact same sub in December, it had cost 289 baht. Last night, I was charged 369 baht! When I complained, I was told “go back your country if you think too much!!” Wow! The rudeness has returned now that the tourists are back in droves.
A few minutes later, I was harassed by a police officer while waiting for the bus (at the clearly marked Bus Stop). He tried telling me I needed to surrender my passport and pay a fine, amongst other things. When he turned to try the same routine on another foreigner, I told him his bike was blocking the bus loading area. He ignored me but while he attempted to extract money from the other foreigner, the bus came speeding up and blasted his airhorn which caused the cop to jump on his bike and speed away. Corruption and price-gouging. Patong is back to pre-pandemic normalcy…
Valentine’s Day came and went with my LL in different provinces. I sent her money for new shoes and she sent me a nice gift of her own. Hopefully, we will be able to be together for her birthday in mid-April.
And that is my Sunday Summary for February 12-February 19, 2023. I hope the week to come is just how you want it to be. Cheers!