It has been a fairly uneventful week-and-a-bit during which I have been going to work in a semi-holiday state of mind. April is definitely the slow period as far as education in Thailand is concerned as it is the summer vacation between school years. As the Thai New Year — Songkran — comes mid-month, most businesses close up shop as the entire country attempts to relax. I still have a few lessons each week with individual students as well as a business course on Saturdays but it is a very relaxing atmosphere at the moment. My agency will actually close down completely from this Saturday (April 13 is “official” Songkran Day) and will reopen next Wednesday. My student has already cancelled his Friday evening lesson (which happens to coincide with our payday), so I will start holiday festivities early. I do have some tentative plans for the long weekend but I will report on those in next week’s update, hopefully with some photos and video.
Greetings, readers! I’m (almost) back to “regular” blogging.
No, I didn’t fall off the edge of the Earth. I am just trying to recover from what was simple exhaustion. My 53-year-old body essentially rebelled against my unrelenting schedule.
For weeks, I had been looking forward to taking a bit of a vacation/holiday break at the end of the school year. That came at the end of the first week of March. However, on Wednesday of that week I was asked to plan for and run a two-week Summer Camp due to start the following week at a Buddhist temple school on the opposite side of the island. While we are normally given much more advanced notice for even the one- or three-day camps, I told my boss, “Sure, no problem!”
Wow! Last week was extremely busy and the week to come looks to be even busier. As I start to write this, it is early Sunday morning and I need to depart soon on a “reconnaissance mission” to the unknown reaches of western Phuket. I need to find the location of an obscure temple where I will be starting a 10-day English camp tomorrow; supposedly, it is on the route of a songteaw (local bus service) and I want to ascertain the travel time and observe local landmarks so I know when to tell the driver to stop.
I only took a few photos since my last update (and absolutely no video), including several of my two classes at Phuket Town’s oldest and largest school…
This is actually the second version of this particular installment of my “weekly” update column. I only needed to add a few images in order to finish one I wrote earlier in the week. However, I got busy and forgot about it. I decided to scrap it and start fresh.
Thus, this will be a very brief update.
Yes, this weekly update is a couple of days late. It is also the shortest one yet (although it is also the longest in one aspect).
While last week was mostly one of fun and games — the Old Phuket Town Festival taking up Sunday, Monday and Tuesday plus Valentine’s Day on Thursday — this week (and the next two or three) are going to find me struggling to get things done. Today was one of the biggest Buddhist holidays of the year and most schools were closed (mine was open but I don’t have any classes scheduled on Tuesdays); I spent most of it doing assessment-related tasks at my agency’s office — a taste of the huge amount of paperwork that comes with the end of a school year.
The Phuket Old Town Festival starts today so I am in a hurry to finish my blogging for the day and get out and enjoy the crowds and the food…
Sunday being my usual day off and the Friday afternoon announcement that local schools would be closed on Monday and Tuesday for Chinese New Year — not to mention extremely high temperatures and a huge dip in internet speed caused a great deal of relaxation (err, laziness) at the Jochim household over the past couple of days. The Thais really have the right idea on how to deal with the heat: they sleep through it. I haven’t yet mastered the art of not waking up in a pool of sweat, however.
Finally, we seem to be past the huge number of holidays and other activities that served as disruptions in the school schedule, starting in early December with Thai National Day and Constitution Day, continuing through Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, Mid-Term exams, and culminating with Thai Children’s Day and National Teacher’s Day nearly two weeks ago. I believe last week was the first in more than a month and a half where I worked a full week. My students were quite attentive and productive during most of the week so I rewarded both high school classes with a rare “Games Day” on Friday which was as much fun for their teacher as for them. It was a very long week, indeed.
This third week of the year was a little odd, albeit rather routine.
I didn’t teach very much this past week, which doesn’t really bother me. Living and working in Thailand, you come to expect more cancellations than not. I don’t ever have classes on Tuesdays at the large municipal school where I spend my mid-mornings to early afternoons but I still journeyed to my agency that day in order to teach a two-and-a-half hour lesson in the evening. I was informed five or ten minutes before class time that the student was ill. Wednesday was National Teacher’s Day in Thailand so all the government schools were closed and the students were extremely ill-behaved on Thursday. I was quite strict with them on Friday and they settled down somewhat. My evening student cancelled again on Thursday and a young girl I’ve been teaching for nearly a year now cancelled her Saturday morning lesson. On both of these particular days, the students had cancelled at least a day in advance but nobody thought to inform me to save me the bus trip to the agency. It’s really annoying, but I can always find something to do in the office.
Wow! Posts two weeks in a row….
The week of January 7-13, 2019, was fairly active in my little world extending between my home in the heart of Old Town Phuket, Thailand, and a bit west to my office in the bowels of the Central Festival mall smack dab in the center of the island with frequent stops approximately halfway between those two locations on those days that I teach high school in the huge Plukpanya Municipal School. I rarely venture outside of this rather narrow band.