As I caught myself humming the National Anthem of Thailand whilst getting ready for school this morning, it dawned on me that I really have been in this country for quite a long time.
To be fair, it’s a great national anthem. I haven’t seen the lyrics translated, but it just sounds so majestic, and despite having heard it every schoolday morning I’m yet to get tired of it. By contrast, I can get through about 5 seconds of England’s God Save The Queen before getting bored, and thinking about it I don’t know half the words to that either.
Although the anthem is normally played from speakers during school assemblies today this was changed to the kids singing the words with no backing track as the flag was raised, which was a bit disappointing as my morning humming had really got me pumped to hear it. This morning’s focus was more on the many certificates that Bubpha had in her hands, which were to reward certain students for their involvement in class activities, and presumably for good results in the recent exams. I was pretty much delegated the role of the photographer for this, as seems to be happening a lot in the school lately, so my camera is now full of various teachers handing various students certificates. I was roped into handing them out too, although Pilot spent some time making sure I had the ‘giving a certificate pose’ just right.
Bubpha has been reading my blog a lot more recently and, probably based on my teaching stories from yesterday, she wanted to make sure that I knew how to play her invented game with Prathom 5. This morning we were back out on the field, except that this time Bubpha had brought along a rolled up jumper to give to the group of students who had formed a circle, which turned out to the crucial thing that I was forgetting. One student had to walk around the circle with the jumper and drop it next to another student, who would then have to pick it up, chase the original student and try and hit them with it. During all of this, the other students in the circle have to clap and sing a song relevant to the game, both of which are described on the same page in their workbooks.
So at least that’s a bit clearer now, although to be fair when I was trying to work out what the game would involve yesterday, “chasing and hitting each other with a rolled up piece of clothing” was quite low down on my guesses.
After the ill-fated attempt last week we actually made it to Withayalai School in Ayutthaya this evening, where Bubpha’s friend Itiya works. The initial intention of going was so that I could speak to the headmaster and english staff as it had been suggested that I could have a job at the school after graduating from university, but Bubpha mentioned in passing the other day that I would be required to have a teaching diploma to be employed. So that idea is down the drain, at least for the near future.
Still, I thought it would be interesting to see what an inner-city school in Thailand looked like, especially in comparison to the more rural area that I’m based in. The differences became clear immediately as we arrived; the grounds resembled a university campus more than they did a school, and place was swarmed with students either just hanging around after lessons, taking really unsubtle photos of me from a distance or apparently enrolling in an outside orchestra practice session. The place even had its own massive pool, and that alone could make it worth spending a couple of years on a teaching diploma.
When I had met Itiya before she had been excited to mention that the school had its own ‘magic board’, which turned out to be a white board that you could write on. I know that doesn’t sound that impressive but once you’re shoved in front of it and told to ‘write something’ as I was it’s easy to get hooked, and I may have delayed Itiya going home a bit by spending too much time drawing smiley faces and being amazed at how quickly I could erase it by the click of a pen. I’ve clearly had a deprived education by not having access to this.
Anyway, by popular demand (by which I mean one person asked me) I’ll leave with another update on the Bird In The Fan situation.
It’s still there, except it’s now sitting underneath one of the fan’s blades rather than beside them, and continues to give me a cold stare whenever it catches my eye.
The bird friend it made yesterday didn’t return and I’m beginning to get concerned that it might have had something to do with that.
It hasn’t even made any effort to improve the nest. All it does it sit there, watching.