Last week the high school celebrated Wai Kru day. This is an an event where the students pay their respects to the teachers by presenting floral arrangements and kneeling down while the teachers pat their heads and whisper sage things to them. All the students came together in their hall for several hours and displayed remarkable patience and joy, although the M1s and 2s gradually became restless as time wore on. I have included a picture of the boys fidgeting.
I enjoyed being given flowers and incense and found the ceremony very uplifting. It seemed to be a morale booster for the hardworking Thai teachers as well. However, it was back to normal in the afternoon when classes resumed.
Wai Kru is held on a Thursday, which is meant to be auspicious for teachers. I haven’t personally found Thursdays to be particularly auspicious as it is the day we have the heaviest workload so I am usually quite stressed. Last Thursday before I left for work my toilet blocked up, I locked my key inside, the driver was late and then we couldn’t get into the classroom. Surprisingly, the lessons went reasonably well.
At school, I am gradually getting more and more used to the students and they seem to be relaxing a little. This week will be the sixth and we have covered quite a bit of territory. I am trying to keep up with the syllabus (in a simplified way) for the large classes and have tried lots of activities with the smaller speaking and listening classes. We even did a dictogloss last Friday and it was interesting to see that some of the key words were not understood even after group collaboration. We are doing plenty of group work and it seems to be working well. We are also trying to engage the students who appear to have spent years of English classes learning very little. They often sit at the front now so we can try to keep their attention.
The next two weeks are only four days long due to a couple of Thai holidays and, after that, I am off to Penang and then Phuket where I will have a few days with my son and daughter. Fortunately, Ros, an Australian high school teacher with TESOL quals, is stepping in to help. I am hoping she will stay on and co-teach with me when Clyde leaves in a few weeks. We get on well and I think I could learn a lot from her.