“Teacher Chabaaaa… Meeting!” I wake blurry eyed to these words at a time unknown to me. I fell asleep at about 4am. Frantically looking around I see that my phone is out of battery (so no alarm clock) and my watch is not in sight. I don’t even know what time it is. Until Teacher Tim from outside shouts ‘Meeting. 9.30!’ In my whole time I haven’t overslept, but this time I think it is excusable. After a long weekend in Bangkok and an (overnight) bus ride back to school my tiredness caught up on me. Standing pathetically at the ‘window’ (there is no glass) she sees me and her eyes soften. She lets me sleep… a little longer.
Gathering strength and forcing my eyes open with cold water (also tipping it over my head), I jostled through various school buildings to my classroom to find ALL of my students outside and a big fat lock on the door. (Beware: tense change). There is a girl in this particular class who, for the first two weeks, came and ‘dragged’ me up to the classroom when I thought I have a free period because of errors on my timetable. I asked her to fetch a key. She returned with no key. This meant that we had no access to the room, the desks, the books… anything. I thought that this meant no class, but the students stuck by me. After playing briefly with putty, which stupidly to surprise the students I put in my pocket only for it to get green goo stuck on the inside, I knew I had to step up and come up with something for everyone to do…
Somehow I managed to sort a group of 30 rowdy ten year olds into a single file line of boy, girl, boy, girl etc. Off we went. First playing follow the leader, then duck, duck goose (which I can justify because it fits into the category of revising animals…tentative, I know) and finally ‘zap’. This was very difficult to explain and took a lot of trial and (mostly) error! Unfortunately the impromptu class outside ended in tears. One of the boys took his rope and hit one of the girls unexpectedly, what a shame. It is quite ordinary for the students to carry ropes on Wednesdays, as it is the day of scout uniforms and ‘survival’ activities. Often I see them with big red bamboo sticks, hats, orange shoes and neckerchiefs in beige uniforms with badges sewn on. The girls wear very smart, long green skirts and shirts.
Sleep was on my mind and by midday I was shattered and felt like locking the door of my classroom and kipping on the floor. However, this is not what a responsible adult should do, especially a teacher. I left my door open only to be greeted by friendly hello’s and the familiar faces of the grade 4s. The class started well with the call and response and I found myself again at the front dancing around, singing, joking around. The class was really responsive, especially when we were doing vocabulary about ‘things to do’ and ‘walking my dog’ came up. One of the boys who sits at the far left of the back row fidgets endlessly, with anything (ANYTHING) he can find. Today he was concentrating on his rope, which I promptly confiscated. To try and use a little of his excess energy, keep in mind he has a sense of humour, I got him to kneel on the floor and loosely tied his rope round his wrist and took him for a little walk around the classroom. He woofed eagerly and wagged his imaginary tail. It is at times like this when I adore working with young’uns.
When I came to Thailand I never expected to have such divas in my classes. Three of my more rotund students volunteered themselves to stay behind after class to clear up the room in time for the English speaking competition tomorrow. I put on some ‘housework music’ and the responded hilariously. Firstly, they danced around gleefully and then, at a particularly ‘punky’ part of one of the songs they changed the position of their brooms so that rather than looking like cleaning implements they looked like electric guitars (allowing for a bit of imagination). Although this portion of the day was relatively short it was amazingly sweet and I felt at peace dancing around my classroom goofily with these little critters.
Finishing school at around 3.30 I wondered what to do with my evening. It was filled with replacing my Thai sim card (which for some reason gobbles all my money as soon as I top it up), cycling around the area, munching rotis (and getting to know a little bit about the seller), lounging outside a small shop at a table drinking Fanta and writing a letter, watching a cat fight (literally), making French toast, chatting to friends from home and Thailand, running through the kitchen to fend off a hungry rat from my unattended French toast, wiping away the sweat, rubbing mosquito repellent onto my already bitten skin… I think that would be a quick and easy summary of the evening.
Although there is relatively little ‘to do’ I feel like I’m always busy, but in quite a relaxed way. I’m so pleased to be back at school and am curious as to what tomorrow has in store!