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.
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.
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.
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.
At long last, the silence has been broken! Honestly, I start too many entries in a similar fashion on this blog. The last period of activity stretched from the end of July 2018 until i posted my New Year’s Eve shaky-cam video earlier this week. I haven’t checked but I believe it to have been the longest gap in the history of Asian Meanderings and perhaps going back as far as ‘Burque Blog. Does anybody remember that incarnation?
As the end of 2018 approached, I thought that the best way to rejuvenate what was once my one and only blog was by taking a look at the year that was. I began sorting through photos taken and journal entries written each day in attempts to find something interesting to highlight. There were quite a few blog-worthy happenings throughout the year but I quickly bored of trying to find them and put them into a form that people would actually enjoy reading! I got as far as mid-March before I abandoned the project.
This past November, I took over the position of Deputy Head Teacher for a large language school and teachers’ agency in southern Thailand. In addition to overseeing some 40 teachers from around five different countries and a myriad of administrative duties (i.e., staffing our contracted government-run schools, organizing local English camps, writing course syllabi, etc.), I am still required to teach a minimum of 75 hours per month. Some of these classes are “in-house” (at the air-conditioned, in-a-shopping-mall language school itself) but most are substitute-teaching assignments for the regular teachers when they take ill or need to deal with periodic immigration requirements.
The end result of this workload is that I have had no time to write for fun (nor have I had much inspiration or desire to) since long before Christmas. The month of March – the hottest in Thailand, a country already boiling twelve months of the year – brings the end of the school year and a general slowdown in duties. Most of my in-house young students have gone on “summer holiday” and my business students mostly learn in the mornings or evenings. I don’t have to worry about filling-in at one of the myriad of schools scattered about the island (none of which are air-conditioned and all of which feature between 40 and 50 kids crammed into each classroom).