Saturday, May 26, 2012

Be present

This blog entry does not come from a place of epiphanies or revelations or any type of clarity. This blog entry comes from a place of questions, curiosity, and (fear of) the unknown.

The reality has hit me that I am four months away from completing my year as a Fulbright ETA grantee. On Friday, I emailed my successor in response to questions she had about my teaching position at Ban Phai Pittayakom School. I enthusiastically answered all her questions and directed her to this blog (and reflection tool).

In the next four months there is so much that I want to accomplish. Here is a snapshot of my goals for the incoming months:

    1. Establish an impressive English Language Club. The following are things that I envision for the English Language Club to be:
  • A space where students can practice their English speaking skills.
  • A space where students can prepare for English competition in November. Last November, our students did poorly. I know that their performance was greatly impacted by that fact that they did not begin practicing spelling (for the spelling bee) and speeches (for storytelling) until a month before the competition.
  • An activity that is a good use of everyone’s time. (All students in my school are required to be a part of an club activity on Thursdays during the last period of the day. There were many times,last semester, when I  saw students hanging around campus without nothing to do.)
    2. Conquer the GREs.
    3. Work on a research project that I can successfully publish.
    4. Be proud of my performance as a teacher.
    5. Continue enjoying the friendships I have developed in Thailand.
    6. Take care of myself (spiritually and physically)
    7. Remain optimistic about the future.
    8. Look towards the future (even if I am not sure what is in-stored) without missing out on the present.

First Days of Teaching (First Semester of the year/Second semester as a Fulbright ETA)
The following are a couple of obstacles and highlights that I noted down on my first days back in school

  • Two days before school starts I did not have a class schedule or classroom.
  • Sabai sabai attitude--
  •  After questioning my host teacher about my schedule, she responds, “Sabai, Sabai. This is Thailand.”
  • Materials used to teach English are in Thai. Update: I have slowly been receiving the English books for each grade level. 
  • Teacher drama. I was caught in the middle of teacher drama/bureaucracy. In the beginning of     the year, there were multiple teachers volunteering to drive me to and from school. Mid-point in the semester there was a communication breakdown and people could not decide who would pick me up--at one point there were two teachers outside my room ready to take me to school. This semester is the polar opposite no one wanted to drive. Finally, the school administration     decided to hire the AMAZING cleaning lady to drive me in the mornings and  afternoons.
  • My enthusiasm to be back in the classroom. 
  • I know teachers names. 
  • Students are adorable! 
  • My nerves. This is a highlight because of the following comment made by Andrea Gibson,     “I heard once that the degree to which you are nervous for an event is the degree to which you respect it.”
I hope everyone is remembering (or making it a goal) to be present in the now.