Saturday, June 12, 2010

appreciating games

Having been at the university for little over three days I found myself already being appreciated – along with all other teachers that is. Thursday was Wai Khru day, a holiday set aside to celebrate and appreciate teachers. At CMU this involved a hour long presentation run by the students in a big auditorium where they sang, spoke (all in Thai, so I have no clue what was said) and presented the teachers with these stunning flower sculptures they had spent the afternoon previous creating and which were then judged.The arrangements were truly gorgeous – sculpted peacocks, lanterns, elephants, Japanese Daruma’s all out of flowers. Unknowingly I walked into the ceremony thinking I would grab a seat along the side – nope. I am an Ajaan (teacher) now and was ushered quickly up to the stage, to sit with two rows of other Ajaan in front of about 500 students in the faculty of humanities! Eek!

It being Wai Khru there was a reasonable amount of uncertainty as to whether we would have freshman classes (ENG 101). Some sources said all classes were cancelled and some said that only the morning didn’t have class. Being anxious to get back into the classroom (to try to start to correct all those teacher mistakes I noticed in myself from the first two days) I decided to go to my classes and see who would show up. Four kids showed up for my first class (the four that sit in the front of the class without being asked to). Being so pumped for class I decided to keep them (some fellow teachers let such few numbers leave earlier in the day, which makes tons of sense, but still I wanted to teach and was not going to be denied.) So instead of going forward with the lesson, which of course would be absurd, we played vocab games and I had the students teach me both their Thai nick names and so new Thai words. (Baan – home, dinsor – pencil, pakka - pen). They seem to have a good time and I know I certainly did. Class number two had 15 students, but again not enough to merit teaching the lesson plan – thus more games commenced!

Friday I arrived at school bright and early for my 8 am class, though it took five attempts to flag down a red truck. Having seen the success of games first hand the day before, I decided to juggle around the lesson plan a little and turn one of the pairs activities into a game. Splitting the class into two we made two teams, each with half of the board to write on. The lesson was on “Facts and Opinions” and one team had to write about facts and the other opinions. Before I would say go I wrote a word (CMU, Water, Chiang Mai) in the middle of the board and then the teams had to race to see which could write 5 sentences about the word first that was either a fact or opinion depending on their side. We did this enough times that each student wrote one sentence. I think…the game was a success! Either way it was hilarious, and we were all laughing a lot. Two of my favorite sentences: on the opinions side for CMU one boy wrote “I like CMU girls” which drew a lot of laughter. And then later again on the opinion side for Chiang Mai one student wrote “Chiang Mai girls are beautiful” – after the sentences were done we would go through each and decided whether they were fact or opinion and when we go to this one the girls initially said yes it was an opinion, but quickly changed their mind and said no it was certainly fact! – I think that’s a pretty sure way to tell they understood the difference!

The excitement of the second class of the day was that on a whim I had created an extra assignment from the earlier lesson on “Moods and tones.” Write me a paragraph that makes me happy. And when I got into class they almost all had their paragraphs! Yes yes they should of course as it was homework, but being new to this whole teaching thing it was still extremely exciting! Later that afternoon I brought the paragraphs to a smoothie shop in the old city to grade and literally started laughing out loud the stories were so funny – one boy wrote about Harry Potter playing the violin to Lady Gaga – where did he come up with it! Now the challenge of course is figuring out how to grade them all…

1 comment:

  1. :) Things that make us smile are good.... ;)
    Hey, you didn't happen to take any photos of those arrangements did you? Those would be fun to see~

    unrelated... how do I get subscribe to get an update via email, vs finding you in my google reader?