Blows to the self esteem

Trip Start May 06, 2010
Trip End Apr 14, 2011

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Unexpected planning period because I forgot the third graders are on a field trip today. That means no conversation class for them this week.  Which is ok with me, I am still struggling to figure out exactly what to do with those kids.  When I do things that are engaging, they are off the wall insane, but when I tone it down, they are dead.  It's really difficult finding a happy medium.

Tomorrow is our field trip.  We’re going to the botanical gardens in Pattaya and I’m really excited.  The kids don’t seem to believe that I’m actually going with them.  They keep asking me and other teachers if I’m going. 

Yesterday my coordinator pulled me aside and told me that sometimes good teachers get caught up in what they’re teaching and make worksheets and activities, and then forget about the book.  She said I may be doing this and I should use the book more often in class.  She was perfectly nice about it, and I get it, the parents complain when you don’t use the book because they paid for it.  The thing is, I was given a course outline that is government mandated and it in no way aligns with the book.  I am trying to merge the two as best I can, but it’s difficult.  I have to skip around in the book to do it, which apparently is also frowned upon. 

I came into school pretty frustrated about the whole thing, but willing to make changes to keep the parents happy.  And then Teacher Rujiwan stepped in.  She lectured the students this morning during homeroom and then translated for me later.  She basically asked the kids, "Why are your parents calling the director about your books?  They should call the teachers.  The director and your parents don’t know what your teacher does in class.  They don’t know how hard she works.  Do you want her to stand here and read the book to you?  It will be very boring.  Is that what you want?"  They of course said no, and she said, “Ok then, let the teacher teach, and tell your parents to talk to us if they are concerned.”  Then she told me, “Don’t change, don’t worry.”  Boy do I love that woman.  She just can’t retire in October.  I don’t know how I’ll survive without her.  I will still try to incorporate the book more so that I am not annoying anyone too much, but it’s nice to know that there’s someone on my side who sees that I am trying and doing some real teaching even if the books aren’t used that often.

She also asked me today if I miss my family and I almost cried.  I don’t know why, I haven’t been too terribly homesick, I’m too busy to be.  But I guess getting asked point-blank made it harder.  I am really excited for my sisters to come visit soon though!  I keep thinking about it.  June is speeding by, so hopefully their visits will be here before I know it.  I have a feeling the next few months are going to fly between my travels and people visiting.  I’ll be home before I realize it.

I had to go buy another uniform today.  It’s very attractive.  We have to wear the same uniform as the kids on sports day.  It’s nice to have fewer color related clothing dilemmas by having two days preplanned, but these outfits they give us are ridiculous.  The good news is the Thai teachers seem to think the uniforms are free this time, which would be amazing.  The bad news is that everyone in Thailand thinks I need to wear an extra large.  In pants, sure, I’m tall, but I can probably get by with a medium or large adult shirt.  I’m not that big.  But instead of arguing with the Thai woman with limited English, I sat there and took the shirt after she said, “big, very big.”  I wanted to say, “Yes, that shirt is very big.  Too big for me, I can wear smaller.”  It’s not like a size smaller would be inappropriately short or tight.  I’m tired of tall equaling fat here.  I know their body frames are insanely small, but I just feel like shouting, “I’m not fat, Thailand!”

Speaking of clothing, I seriously doubt I’m bringing much home with me.  I was concerned in the beginning that I brought over so much stuff and would be returning with even more after purchases.  Now I really doubt it.  No way are any of the shoes I brought going back, they all are dirty and beat up already, I’ll be lucky if they last me through the school year.  I’m sure there will be some clothes I’ll bring home for a good cleaning, but most of them will be so gross.  Everything gets so nasty here because I sweat so much.  And the washing machines are not nice to your clothes, so they get beat up, and then you line dry them so they’re all misshapen.  I may be better off on the return trip than I was on the way here.
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