Back to school and the daily grind

12 Feb

It’s been a little while since I updated my blog, so thought it was about time I made a note of what I have been up to; which in all honesty, is not a great deal.

Going back to school at the beginning of term was tough! I had enjoyed a long Christmas break and explored Bangkok and Samui. The last thing I wanted to do was turn up at school ill¬prepared and lacking motivation. However, it was definitely one of those times when the thought of something was far worse than reality. My students; so small, smiley and cute, all seemed delighted to see me and their infectious positivity quickly rubbed off. I was greeted with more hugs and high fives than ever before!

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My primary 3 students; by far the best behaved and highest level of English. My friends adorable daughter

After a couple of weeks of being back at school it was time for ‘ACN night’, a celebration where students perform to teachers and parents. In the past this had been squeezed into one evening, but would often finish late at night, so it was decided this year would be split over Friday and Saturday night. The event took place on the football pitch and athletic track, which had been transformed into a huge outdoor arena. They had erected an elaborately decorated stage, with approximately 300 round tables for guests, each seating 10 people. The evening was not free; in fact each ticket was 400 baht which included food and drinks. It was once again, very impressive, and felt a million miles from anything I had experienced at school in the UK. I spent the evening watching some of the students’ performances, talking to teachers and taking photos with my students who were dressed in amazing Thai costumes. At the end of the evening a famous pop group called 4Mod performed. Of course I had never heard of them before, but they have had several number 1’s in Thailand and judging by the screaming girls, were still popular with children over here. Towards the end of the performance the duo called some students onto the stage to sing and dance with them. This included a couple of lady-boys (in their early teens) who seemed to know all the words and dance moves!

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Some of my students ready to perform and the arena before the guests arrived

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Secondary students dressed in their costumes and performing on stage

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The pop duo 4Mod perform at our school for the Thai version of ‘parents evening’

The next evening was much the same, although this time it was the turn of the older students. To close the night another pop star was performing, Bie ‘The Star’. He had apparently come to fame through a reality TV programme, similar to XFactor. He is a really big deal in Thailand, so the kids (and teachers) were really excited to see him! There were even security guards in army uniforms called in to control the crowds (parents and students). I watched about 15 minutes of his act, which was actually pretty entertaining before escaping back home. At one point while I was watching an old fat guy ran on stage and highfived Bie midsong before being dealt with by a security guard. By the end of the two nights I was relieved to go out for a nice cold Leo after what had been a long week, but I was once again amazed at the lengths the school had gone to in order to put on a spectacle.

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‘Bie The Star’ performs on the second night; a big celebrity in Thailand.

In order to keep myself busy and my fitness levels up I have been playing five–a–side football and squash with some fellow teachers from different schools. The football is a good standard, and played by a mixture of Thais and Expats. I play squash at one of the local universities and have already enjoyed some classic matches!

Aside from teaching and playing sport I have been generally exploring more of Korat. A major part of this is trying new bars and restaurants. It seems that new venues pop up all the time, and there is always somewhere new to have a meal or drink. One of the best places I went to recently was Third World Bar, which has created a new pulled pork burger. For just 100 Baht (2 pound) you get an amazing burger and fries! On the opposite end of the food spectrum is the school food, which I’ve already moaned about. It has recently improved since I have decided to eat the primary kid’s food instead of what is served in the teachers canteen. Although it is much better, it’s still pretty dire, and so I have put together a few photos to tickle your taste-buds.

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Food glorious food: I think the gruel in Oliver Twist is better than some of our school meals. Check out the green slimy rice for desert!

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Not muchroom: Never thought I would eat so many mushrooms! But actually they’re ‘meatier’ than most of the ‘meat’ we get served here, so I have to eat them

As this is more of a general update I will quickly mention the weather here. I honestly can’t remember the last time it rained, and every day I wake up to another beautiful sunny day, with temperatures easily surpassing 30 degrees! The worrying thing is this is their ‘winter’ and we have been warned to expect it to get SERIOUSLY hot soon!. We spend almost all of the day inside, so at the weekends I like to make the most of the weather. A short drive away is a really pretty lake called Bung Ta Lua, which is surrounded by coconut trees and a cycle track. Whilst we were there I had a overbearing urge to see if I could climb a tree and get a coconut; just to see if I could if I was ever stranded on a desert island.

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Attempting to get a coconut: I managed to get to the top and grip and twist a coconut, but gave up

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