Whilst trying to mend the school guitar last night which had broken to a further extent than just the strings I managed to cover myself in superglue, so my overall tiredness today can be blamed on staying up until 2am frantically trying to scrub it off and panicking that I’d never be able to feel anything on my fingertips again other than solidified industrial glue.
Eventually I averted the crisis (it shall now be known as GlueGate), but the consequence of this was trying to concentrate in lessons today. It wasn’t helped by the day being pretty uneventful and slow; my lessons with Prathom 1 and 4 were standard ‘write and read out of your exercise books’ affairs and most of my morning consisted of free periods. I did manage to get on with some much-needed dissertation reading, but as always happens, once the kids spotted that I was working in the library they swarmed around me, trying to shake my hand whilst also staring at what was on my laptop screen. Guys, I can assure you that if you could understand it, you would have found it so boring that you’d wish you couldn’t.
Bubpha told me that we were due to have an English Club, the once-a-week successor to English Camp but with Watphachi students only, this afternoon, so I spent a bit of the afternoon trying to think of some good games that I could play during the session. There was, however, no signs of life in the school hall when I eventually went down at half 2, and what appeared to be the entirety of Watphachi’s students were spread across all the tables in the canteen area. It turned out that today was the National Language Day in Thailand, so the club had been replaced by the whole school taking part in some writing workbook activities. Afterwards we all went out into the field and took a whole school photo whilst the students all received certificates that they seemed pretty ecstatic about, so clearly this is a pretty significant day for schools.
I got involved too, of course, and was handed a workbook where I spent most of the next hour tracing out Thai letters repeatedly. They’re extremely confusing to look at, but weirdly soothing to draw, and I eventually found myself writing them out whilst my mind went off to other places. It’s probably a bit weird that I have such a connection with language writing.
I can’t remember a day where I did as much exercise as I did today after school. First up was football again, where I think I did a bit better and may have managed to score a legitimate goal, however it was kind of a Frank Lampard vs Germany at the 2010 World Cup situation except much less clear, so whether it went in is up for debate. We sat in the shade after that due to the heat and I ended up chucking a ball around and dancing with the kids, which was a lot of fun.
Then I headed over to the local high school to play badminton with Kuni, one of Watphachi’s Kindergarten teachers. Badminton is a sport that I’m actually slightly competent at so I enjoyed getting some rallies in. We eventually were joined by two of the school’s students and started doubles, so I was playing for a solid hour.
It’s funny, every time I think I’m going to have a really uneventful day here and won’t be able to write anything worth reading about I’m quickly proven wrong. During my fairly dull lessons today I thought I had finally got to the point where a daily routine had set in and nothing would really surprise me anymore, so it’s nice that I got so many opportunities to get to know both the students and the teachers better and have fun with both groups.
More alarmingly I’ve worked out that, assuming the only days off I will get from now on will be the two for the long weekend in August, today marks being exactly halfway through my teaching days at Watphachi School. It feels like it’s gone so quickly already, but looking back on it I feel a lot more comfortable here than I did during my first week, and although I’ve made disappointing progress in trying to learn Thai I think I’m starting to make more of an impact here overall. I guess the only thing I can really do is make the second half of these teaching days count just as much, but I don’t like thinking about how my time here is edging ever-so-slightly closer to a finish.