This week in school was an interesting turning point. With the discovery that the children cannot read, Nikki, Gregg, and I revamped our teaching plan. We decided that we would start teaching them to read. We began incorporating vowels with new vocabulary and exercises this week. One of these new exercises was a alphabet decoding scavenger hunt at the end of the week with grade 3. Despite the fact that not all of them are grasping the concept, many are beginning to attempt sounding out words. I am happy that we have had a change of pace in the classrooms.
In grade 1, we began teaching the class with the help of the Tuk. Tuk is their usual teacher. She is quite a sweet lady. Tuk has been staying in the classroom to help us manage and translate. I absolutely appreciate everything that she is doing to help us. A few days ago, she had a chart on the board with body parts in Thai. Improvising our lesson plan for the day, Gregg and I switched to using the diagram to teach the children more specific parts of the body in English in addition to vowels.
This is a picture of Tuk and me from last night:
Although, we have made positive advances in the classroom teaching, it seems that my tutoring students are becoming less interested. Tuesday, both students fell asleep while I was trying to run phonetics flashcards that were more complex than what we are working on in class. Thursday, only one student stayed focused enough to try to complete reading the book. Today, all the pupils either forgot or were sick, thus no one came. I’m not discouraged though. I think that they might just need a moment to get into the swing of things. Then again, I literally have only 2 and a half more weeks in Koh Tao. In that short time, I hope to get a lot more accomplished.
Despite the fact that I was stood up, I still had the chance to hang out and teach a girl from my grade 2 class, Pen. It was her birthday yesterday. After going over a few things and coloring, we went to get her a chocolate for her birthday. She was so excited to have someone want to read to her, spend the time drawing, and go out to get a birthday gift. I really enjoyed getting to spend time with her.
Other than teaching, I am really getting to know the people here very well. Grand Master Somsak, the massage therapist on the beach, sat down with me today and we looked at the reflexology terms he needs me to translate. I had lunch today with P’Jin and her daughters, Tara and Charlie. P’Jin commented that I eat like a monk because I mix my rice with the other dishes. I thought that was just an Indian thing to do!
Also, the English teachers and Thai teachers are trying to get together more now. Nikki’s boyfriend, Peter, Nikki, Gregg, Simon, Tuk, and I all went out to dinner last night. After dinner, Simon, Gregg, Tuk, and I went to a Muay Thai match off Sairee Beach. It was a really intense experience. Their rituals along with the fighting interest me the most. A few “farangs” (foreigners) fought in the match. A few of the fighters were as young as 8 or 9 years old. I felt odd watching them fight, but then again, this is their culture and this is an honor for them.
Tuk, Simon, and Gregg at Sairee Stadium
A young man preparing for his match...
Two young men fighting...
From left to right: Gregg, Simon, Me, Peter, and Nikki
Adventures will never end for the adventuresome. 😀
Also, I am incredibly grateful to be granted the opportunity by Lumos to be the change I want to see in the world. (Gandhi)