“My name is Patrick Scott. I come from a town in England called Ipswich. I’m currently an English Teaching Assistant with the British Council, and I am teaching at Watphachi School. I am very happy to be making this video with you. I hope to teach you English in a way that is interesting and fun. I hope that this video is helpful for your English teaching. Happy studying!”
So then, my last week of teaching.
As I had expected we began the day finishing off some of the filming for Bubpha’s videos that we hadn’t done on Saturday. She wanted Pilot the headmaster to film an introduction to the games that we had already recorded, and I watched as he wrote out a massive speech on a nearby whiteboard so that he could remember what he was supposed to be saying whilst being filmed. I have no idea exactly what it is he said since it was all in Thai, but it took him a while to get through it all.
Whilst Bubpha filmed her own introduction (seriously, half of these videos are introductions) I tried to commit to memory my own speech before facing the camera, which ended up with me pacing around the school grounds saying it to myself repeatedly, probably looking quite weird in the process. When it came time to film it I managed to pull it off without any problems, although watching the video back I look quite awkward in front of the camera. Actors make it look so easy.
All this video-making inevitably ate into the time I was supposed to be spending in the classroom so my Prathom 6 lesson was much shorter today, and consisted solely of trying to teach the students about different occupations. They’re asking me a lot more questions now compared to when I first started here, and it’s nice to see them gaining confidence around me.
Continuing the theme of out-of-the-classroom jobs, after my lessons today I was told to go to the library where I had to test all of the Watphachi School teachers on their English language skills. Apparently there’s a big test in Ayutthaya this week for all of the province’s teachers where they have to memorize as many English words as possible from an 8,000 word booklet, so the tests involved 3 minute sessions with each teacher where they rattled off as many words they could remember, whilst I recorded how many they got right. The record was set by Pujon with 48, which for 3 minutes in a school not fluent in English at all seems pretty good. Still, since I would assume that the majority of teachers in Thai schools wouldn’t be teaching english, this seems like a weird thing to be testing them all on.
Possibly because I’d been constantly been around people all weekend, I wanted to be left alone after school. However, that’s pretty difficult when it’s far too hot to stay indoors and there are plenty of people around outside. Although I didn’t go to the market with Bubpha I was eventually roped into playing football with some of the students (still no improvement in my skills) and she eventually came back with some food for both of us. Whilst I’m always grateful that she supplies so much for me, I’ve found it very difficult at times to get across the fact that she doesn’t always need to.
Factoring into all of this is that I’m not in the best of moods at the moment. If I’m going to be completely honest I’m definitely ready to be finishing teaching this week, since I seem to be having less involvement in lessons than ever now as Bubpha is mostly teaching everything. To be fair, I can see why this might be the case; since there’s only going to be a few more days that I’m actually around in the school, it would make sense if she wanted to get each class less used to me not being in lessons. But this is leaving me with a general sense of not feeling like a have a place here, and the more I think about it, the more I’ve realised that I expected to have a better grasp of teaching in general by this point in the programme than I actually do.
I at least feel that I’ve had a bit of an influence though. One of the girls in my Prathom 4 class has tried speaking to me in English every day for the last couple of weeks, and whilst she only ever asks me how I am, which is the same question that every class asks me at the beginning of each lesson, the fact that she’s trying to speak it out of choice rather than being forced to is a promising sign. Like with Prathom 6 today, that would’ve never happened in my first few weeks here, so I don’t think I can lose all hope just yet.