The blog changes locations, changes directions

Hi!

As you may have heard, I’ve moved from Winnipeg to Bangkok. Here’s the run-down:

I arrived in Bangkok at 1:00 AM on April 30th.

I’m staying in an apartment on Petchasem Road, a busy suburban street in the southwest corner of Bangkok.

I’m working at Lertlah International School, Kanchanapisek Campus, teaching K3 (anubahn-sahm) for the next 10 months.

I’ll be taking classes during the evenings, and finishing the last year of my Education degree.

Previously, Thailand didn’t have any particular allure to me. The opportunity of living in a different country while simultaneously completing my academic goals was really what pushed me to apply to this program. Another aspect of the program that was really appealing was the differential in teaching time. Here, I’ll be teaching full-time for 10 months, as opposed to the 10 weeks I’d teach if I finished my degree in Canada.

My primary goal is to leave Thailand as a better, smarter and more experienced teacher. If I can accomplish that, I’ll be pleased. It’s a vague goal, but that’s intentional. I see it as kind of my “mission statement” to remind me why I’m here, even when I’m getting frustrated. Even frustrating episodes will ultimately contribute to the overall purpose of why I came to Thailand. if I teach for 10 months and don’t improve at least marginally, I’m doing something wrong!

The title of this post reflects the changing nature of the blog. I’ll spend less time posting articles, and a little bit more time writing about my experiences here in Thailand. Where possible, I’ll try to connect the two. You’ve likely heard in the news about the ongoing protests and civil unrest in Thailand. A quick note of reassurance – none of it is taking place anywhere near where we live or teach. Continued unrest is definitely disturbing, as I don’t want it to break into violence that will affect ANYONE’S life, even if mine is comparatively safe. Combing through BBC, there is not a whole lot there that is different from what I’m hearing over here. Basically, the Prime Minister was ousted by the courts. The Prime Minister’s supporters (pro-government) feel the courts might be biased in favour of the anti-government protestors. The anti-government faction feels that the Prime Minister is using populist policies that are not good for the country. I talked to two of the teachers here who are married to Thai people and have lived here for years and years, and neither of them seemed to think anything like civil war was imminent. However, both the teachers and the University of Winnipeg have recommended that we do not go downtown for the next few days. I will definitely be keeping myself informed about how that situation is progressing.

A quick summary of my time here so far:

The apartments are decent. Mine is a 1-bedroom, which is absolutely way too much space for how much space I have. It’s hot, all the time. I’ve been stubbornly refusing to use my air conditioning out of misplaced frugality and my desire to adapt to the heat. I think it’s working! The first two nights, I woke up every couple of hours, covered in sweat. Now, I sleep through the whole night before waking up covered in sweat! Some kind of improvement.

The food is cheap and amazing. A couple of things have made me feel pretty sick so far, but I think I’ve figured it out. Like, eating entire bowls of chilies is probably a bad idea. I realize this now. There’s clean drinking water available at our apartments and at the school. Last night, I met a woman who had an M.A. in International Business, serving at a noodle restaurant. I was like “WHOA. That is so bizarre, and so sad. She has a master’s degree and she can’t work in her field in Thailand!” But of course, my presumptions were wildly off mark. She works as a marketing officer during the week, but helps her husband out at his restaurant on the weekends. Having the better English of the two, she was the one who went to serve me when I walked in. Of course. haha.

I’ve spent a fair bit of time hanging out with a group of practicum students from Buriram University. They are set up in the same apartments as us, and they’re ALSO completing practica at Lertlah. We went on a grand excursion with them last week. I would write about it, but my colleague Mara has already covered it in great detail and my colleague Christina has posted several lovely photos.

The school is good so far, but we won’t be getting into the actual teaching for another week – it’s still mostly orientation related stuff. We went through basic administrative stuff the first few days, then into curriculum and planning last week. It’s really well-organized, which is a huge relief for me. Teaching K3, I think I’d feel pretty lost, but there are lots of supports put in place. The two teachers that I’m working with on the K3 level are also really experienced and knowledgeable about Early Years teaching in general, which is great. We received our class lists at the end of the day on Friday, which was exciting. We have one more week of planning, and then school starts up on the 19th.

Everything has been really busy, and I think that will be the theme of the next 10 months. I’ve started bringing around my iPhone when I go out so I’ll post some pictures over the next couple of entries. I finally bought a USB keyboard, so no more b36g *6sts that 3662s 352e th5s!

Hope everyone is doing great!

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