For the last couple of weeks a new road out of the school has been in construction at the back of the field. Nobody seems to be able to give me a clear indication as to why it’s being built in the first place, but as it passes several of the yet-to-be finished school buildings at the back I can only assume it will be used for easier access or more parking spaces (the blue building in the photo below was initially supposed to be where I would have been living, however Martial Law coming into force apparently stopped it from being finished. Again, I have no idea why.)
It means we haven’t been able to play football for a while which is a bit of a shame (maybe a relief for the kids, since they get a few days off pretending that I’m actually any good), and with it still in the building stage it hardly makes the school look pretty. But Thursday meant that today was Watphachi’s Scout day, so as the usual ceremonies were taking place on the field the road workers at least made a good backdrop, albeit one that was more interested in their own work rather than the Scouty shenanigans.
Bubpha had a meeting in Ayutthaya this afternoon, which meant that I was left as the sole teacher in Prathom 2 and 5’s lessons. As I’ve said before I’m never really left alone to teach, although I often play my own games and songs in class, so this was the first time that I was completely on my own.
I had a teaching plan, admittedly, but it soon became apparent that it would be difficult to follow. After running through one of the songs Prathom 5 learnt last lesson I took them out to the field to play a game based on it that was described in their worksheets, which Bubpha had made up herself. The problem was that Bubpha hadn’t actually explained to me before how to play this game, and since the booklet’s instructions were in Thai I realised that this wasn’t going to work. The booklet had pictures too and the game being played looked a lot like Duck Duck Goose, so once we had a circle formed outside I decided that this would be my next best option and tried to explain to the kids how to play it. It didn’t go exactly to plan and the game ended up involving me throwing a ball around a circle shouting “GOOSE!” at whoever I wanted to get them to do a circle lap, but hey, that’s kind of close to what I intended.
I had misjudged how hot it was and went back inside with massive sweat patches covering my shirt, but one of the kids got me a glass of water after noticing them, which was a little silver lining in the embarrassment. I tired getting them to fill in some worksheets, despite initially giving out work that they didn’t understand and then finding out there weren’t enough sheets to go around the whole class, but in the end I managed to pair them off and have some relative success.
It helps that Prathom 5 are actually willing to learn though, which cannot be said as much about my other lesson. Most of Prathom 2 arrived on time and enthusiastic, but about 5 minutes after that a group of the classes’ boys entered late and sat at the back, making a lot of noise in an act that reminded me far too much of something that would happen in a British school. After trying to go through some of the vocabulary they had been learning with one of the disruptive boys constantly trying to interrupt, I eventually started to play a game with them all standing in a circle whilst I threw a ball around and asked the class some English-based questions.
Bubpha has constantly told me that Watphachi School has a lot of issues with behaviour, and that despite their efforts there are still a lot of students unwilling to learn. So whilst I tried to ignore it when the same kid from before kept trying to interrupt during the game, as I thought that none of the discipline I could implement would be effective, after he maintained his act of being a pain in the arse for long enough I gave up and snapped, shouting at him in English to sit down whilst implying that he couldn’t take part in the game anymore.
And you know what? he actually did. And for the rest of the lesson, he barely said a word.
I think I’m going to chalk that up as a success.
I’m still quite invested in the fate of the bird from yesterday that is building a nest in one of the ceiling fans, so at lunch today I checked on it to see if there were any new developments. It had barely moved from the position it was in the last time I saw it, but there was another bird joining it perched on the side of the fan that I can only assume was its husband or wife (birds have those, right?), so at least it wasn’t alone. The nest it had built hadn’t grown at all, but I’m definitely rooting for it to improve.
God, it’s like I’m living in my own personal episode of Springwatch.