“We’re pretty laid back here at GVI Th

Trip Start Sep 11, 2010
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Trip End Aug 19, 2011


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Flag of Thailand  , Krabi,
Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday morning we had out first input session with Steve. He is American, and very American, so his teaching is lively and enthusiastic; which makes it easy to listen to him.  An input session is some hippy GVI word for the TEFL classes, I guess they want us to see it as something which we should add or input to.  It was really just an introduction to TEFL and teaching strategies.  It was great to have the context provided by the experience from the previous teaching I had done although I was already beginning to recognize mistakes I had made in my methods. Still this is a good way to learn.  It was a beautiful day on Sunday so a gang of us headed to the National Park nearby.  The park is absolutely gorgeous.  It is a jungle area which is surrounded by carsts (those huge beautiful but rather odd looking rocks formation typical of Thailand).  There is a stream running through it where we went for a swim.  Swinging from the trees and sitting in the crashing water of a small water fall…it was proper paradise.   Sunday evening we just hung around the base chilling under the palapa drinking beer and getting to know each other.

Monday also started with another input session, followed by another day relaxing around the base.  The holiday was over in some senses as we were briefed on how the base would be operating for the coming weeks.  The group was divided into three chore groups and we would be rotating through a chore rota every day. One group cooks breakfast and lunch, another looks after toilets and bins while the third cleans the resource room and the palapa area.  This is a bit of a pain, especially when you are cooking for 20 people.  I would be taking level one with a teaching partner, Sonia.  Initially it seems that this level is the easiest to teach since the vocab is so basic.  However the inverse is the case.  It's so difficult as you really are starting from rock bottom, the class can't even get the most basic instruction.  Our first classes we on Monday evening but we would not be teaching but rather observing a class given by Steve  It was good to see and class and watch him implementing some of the things he was teaching at the input sessions.  We were all giving our first classes on Tuesday, just a half session each (45 mins).  There was a bit of a nervous buzz around base as we were all frantically lesson planning.  They are big into their lesson planning and we plan in great detail.  It’s good I guess when you are a novice to have already thought of everything.  For the first class Sonia was taking the first 45 minutes and I the second.  We only had 4 students, so it was a different teaching environment that I am used too but still enough of a number to get a class going.  Sonia had never gotten up before a class before so she was very nervous and struggled to fill 30 minutes with her plan.  She beat herself up pretty bad about it even though it wasn’t so bad.  My half of the class went really well, the experience I had paid off.  Of course I was a little nervous too but I got over it pretty quickly and got a good rapport with the students.  After the class I was really elated, we all were, so we toasted our first hurdle with a few beers under the palapa.

I’m not going to bore you with too many daily details; Wednesday was another pretty routine day.  This time in class I would be doing the first 45 minutes.  Only two people showed up at first, one who was the weakest and another new young guy who was absolutely petrified.  This time my lesson fell flat on its face.  I also wasn’t prepared for the completely different dynamic when teaching just two students.  I found it really difficult to be animated and enthusiastic.  Knowing my class wasn’t going so well I started thinking only about that and then making stupid mistakes.  Luckily two more showed up late and the class got better and better.  Sonia was much less nervous and she gave a great session, so I was very happy for here.  In contrast to the previous night I was totally deflated and beating myself up quite a bit. 

Thursday I wouldn’t be teaching, instead Sonia would be taking her first full 90 minute session and I would be observing.  Observing is a bit boring but it is also quite helpful to see another trainee.  It makes you notice mistakes being made and reflect upon yourself.  There was rain heavier than I had ever seen before all evening so we were not expecting a very good turnout.  Only two people showed up, the same two that I started the class with on the previous day.  Sonia had a great lesson, handling the small class much better than I did.  Thursday evening we had our first base theme party.  The theme was half and half where we would dress a mix our country and another.  I went for and Irish rugby kit with a rugby ball tucked under my arm and a typical south Indian hat that I picked up for the backwater trip in Kochi.  The party was savage fun; we were singing and dancing our hearts out until 3 in the morning.

We were all a bit fragile Friday morning, especially since we had to have breakfast at 7.30, a big base clean at 8 and an emergency response course (first aid) at 9.  The base clean was especially painful in our hungover and sleep deprived states.  The first aid course was pretty boring too, I have done a couple of these so seen it all before but it was still good to get a refresher and be a certified first aider for another two years.  In the afternoon we headed to a resort in the town where we can pay 30 baht to use the pool area.  The resort was gorgeous and the pool had two huge carsts with a cave carved out in one of them.  We spent a couple of hours there; chilling chatting sunbathing and swimming, lovely way to cure a hangover.  Friday evening three of us had a Thai cooking workshop.  We learned to make green curry, papaya salad and tom yam.  There was a plan to head out for drinks but I don’t think anyone had anything left in the tank to get through another night out.  It was James’ birthday on Saturday so Apple made him a cake, we sang him happy birthday and promptly went to bed.

Saturday there was a children’s sports day on one of the nearby islands.  Participation was optional but we all wanted to come along.  It was great to get off base and see some of the surrounding area.  When you are on base, and busy with lessons and planning, it’s easy to forget you are in Thailand.  Driving around the country you are pleasant reminded by the wonderfully unique landscape and the nice people smiling and waving.  We headed to Krabi in the Song Tao where we jumped on long tail boats to take us to the island.  We were expecting a really rural and underdeveloped island but it was quite the contrary.  There were tsunami evacuation signs indicating the direction to run which was a bit scary.  Children’s day was a lot of fun.  We played tug of war, musical chairs, some game where you all tie balloons to your foot and run around bursting other people’s balloons and finally some crazy game involving getting coins out of a water filled bowl with your mouth, blowing flour off a plate, eating a dry cake and downing a glass of water and finishing by blowing up a balloon until it pops.  It was very random but a lot of fun.  After getting back a few of us headed back to the national park for another dip.  Paradise…. I’m starting to love Thailand!  In the night all the gang headed out for dinner for James birthday in one of the nearby bamboo restaurants before heading onto Pooh bar for the rest of the night.  It was more of the same really from the last time we went to that bar.  The band was playing the usual crap Thai rock music for most of the night.  They did play Zombie at one stage which got the Irish people straight up to rock the house and it was pretty good from that point on.  There was a bit of a stage invasion towards the end when Dan grabbed a guitar and some of the others provided backing vocals.  Maybe it wasn’t exactly an X-factor performance but anything was better than crap Thai rock.

A kayaking side trip was planned for Sunday morning.  We had to set our early in order to catch water in some of the caves before the tide went out.  We were again all a bit fragile after the night before but the kayaking was a great remedy for a hungover head.  I was up for some hardcore exercise but the group was a slow moving one.  We were kayaking in pairs, so I wouldn’t be able to mess around doing rolls and hard turns and stuff.  The scenery was beautiful and I grew to appreciate the relaxed pace pretty quickly.  We paddled through a narrow channel leading through one cave into a pool surrounded by carsts.  The second detour from the main channel was into another huge cave which had loads of cool stalactites and mites.  At a third cave we moored the boats and jumped off to explore.  There were ancient paintings on the roof and walls of the cave.  The primitive drawings are somewhere between 3 and 5 thousand years old.  The cave itself was impressive and there was also a lookout over the surrounding jungle and carsts.  Afterwards we jumped back in out kayaks and slowly paddled back to the starting point.  We had a most gorgeous lunch on a little floating restaurant before heading back to base.  The rest of Sunday was quite a lazy day, as Sunday should be.  We relaxed around base falling in and out of sleep.  In the evening we watched a movie (The Other Ones) using the base projector and a white sheet draped up on the wall before hitting the sack for an early night.
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Comments

Dasa on

I hear and read that Krabi is like the holiday destination in Thailand, so where are the pictures of Koh Phi Phi and Villa maya bay??? It surely is a destination on my list of interest : ))) Say hallo to the clear blue waters and the palm trees for me!

Mam on

Thanks for glimpse of a most beautiful country.

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