Porn is Blessed (and other Thai names)

Thai people have a first name and a last name (which is new as of the early 20th century), but they usually go by an unrelated nickname.  The nickname is given to them at birth by their parents and is most often a monosyllabic Thai noun or English noun, but it can be pretty much anything that the parents choose. Common girls’ names that are … Continue reading Porn is Blessed (and other Thai names)

Wai Kru (Teacher Appreciation) Day

Wai Kru is a day to honour teachers.  Wai, meaning to bow in respect, and Kru, meaning teacher.  Essentially it’s Teacher Appreciation Day, but with much more reverence. The students rehearsed all week, missing my classes, for Thursday’s ceremony.  The irony is not lost on me.  The teachers were asked to wear their Lanna, and we looked very respectable in our traditional Thai dress. The … Continue reading Wai Kru (Teacher Appreciation) Day

All About School

The school is enormous.  6,000 students.  400 teachers.  30 native English-speaking teachers.  It takes 10 minutes to walk from my on-campus apartment to the gate, and another 3 to get to the 7-11. It’s a private school and all students study English.  They get at least on lesson a week with a NES (native English speaker).  Some students pay additional tuition to get five NES classes … Continue reading All About School

New City, New Job, New Rules

This last week in Chiang Mai has been hot.  Really hot.  I’m sweating at 7:30am.  On my scooter the hot air burns my eyes.  The air con oasis quickly evaporates into a slightly less-tropical meeting room. 14 new teachers have spent the last five days in orientation.  Unlike my last post, ALL the teachers have prior teaching experience.  Mostly in Thailand.  I’m excited about working … Continue reading New City, New Job, New Rules

Tales from My Classroom

My 5/10s are a challenge.  5 means Mattayom 5, which means grade 11.  10 means their ranked 10th.  Out of 10.  There’s only a dozen of them but they take the most energy.  The boys like to skip, which makes teaching easier, but then they fail everything.  My co-teacher had to wrangle them to class.  And every class I have a story. The boys finally … Continue reading Tales from My Classroom

English Class – Where Everything is Made Up and the Grades Don’t Matter

My class is as structured as an improv game.  I’m not saying it as a good thing or a bad thing, but just as a fact.  My goal is to teach conversational English (the Thai English teachers focus on grammar and writing).  My textbook provides the topics, but not much in the way of conversation.  There are listening activities on a CD that I can … Continue reading English Class – Where Everything is Made Up and the Grades Don’t Matter

Sports Day II

Last month’s sports day was multi-school, multi-location.  This sports day was entirely for our school. Sports Day included some skits.  They preform to audio clips from movies or music.  I think women from countries around Asia were fighting over one man.  But I don’t know enough Thai to really know. Egypt was the theme for this team.  They chanted to the rhythm of the conga, … Continue reading Sports Day II

It Rained on Our Parade

I have an idiom to teach the students next class. For weeks they have been preparing for Sports Day.  The entire school is divided into four teams – yellow, orange, blue and purple.  Not only are they going to play sports against each other, but they also pick a theme, parade throughout the city, and present full team cheers. Thursday morning we met in the city … Continue reading It Rained on Our Parade

Foreign Language Camp

My first field trip.  Two days and one night to Foreign Language Camp.  We took a special group of kids in the equivalent of grade 10 -12.  These students are in a program where they learn English and Chinese or Japanese.  That’s right, they are tri-lingual. We met at the school at 4:00 am to leave at 4:30, so of course we left after 5:00.  All … Continue reading Foreign Language Camp